Luck is the result of preparation making or meeting, recognizing, and acting on opportunity.

Timbuktu Academy
Southern University and A&M College
(Summer, 1995)

Entire books are devoted to the subject of studying. One of them is "How to Study in College," by Walter Pauk. The few lines below provide the essentials that, if practiced, could allow a purposeful student to not only succeed in college but also to excel. Without much elaborations, we note that these essentials are grounded into current knowledge in cognition science, on memory, and on behavior. Two simple points to always remember are the following:

With the above points in mind, essentials of a successful way of studying follow.

  1. Take as complete and clear notes in class as possible.
  2. Read the entire chapter in the textbook on the classroom lesson.
  3. Take extra time to understand anything that is unclear, in the notes or in the book.
  4. Use the chapter in the book to complete the classroom notes , if needed.
  5. Be aware of difficulties due to your background in the specific topic; consult teachers, professors, or tutors when multiple reading fails to clarify a point.
  6. After step 5 above, read/study the completed notes to find key or fundamental Definitions, Concepts, Principles, Laws, Theorems, and Skills (DCPLTS); note that the selected DCPLTS must be such that one can derive from them the entire lesson or lecture covered in class or in the textbook (see cognitive condensation).
  7. LEARN/KNOW these fundamental DCPLTS to the point of recitation. (Understanding is not knowing; you can only use that which you know.)
  8. PRACTICE. USE the learned/known DCPLTS . See questions, homework, and problems assigned by the teacher/professor or in the book (Power Law of Practice).
  9. Schedule a review of the lesson from time to time (see Power Law of Performance).
  10. Research results in Education, Vol. 115, No. 1, pp.31-39, Fall, 1994 scientifically proved that YOU have the intellect to excel in any field; the question is one of background, efforts, and of practice in applying and enhancing your intellect.

In science, the secret is to adhere to the facts (actual phenomena or events, definitions, concepts, principles, laws, theorems, and specific skills) and to formal logic. Take what is!

The Timbuktu Academy is funded by the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Reaearch (ONR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, NIST, LaSER, and SUBR.

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