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Monday, June 16, 2014

Don't Use Your Computer To Study For Class!


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I know... I sound like a technology hating idiot. Computers are an amazing way to increase your ability to learn anything. The point of this article is certainly not as simple as the title might make it sound. I have absolutely nothing against using a computer to study but there are a few individual factors that need to be watched out for.

In my experience, when student's use their computer to study for a class they hit a very similar wall because of 3 different factors. These factors make studying significantly more challenging than it has to be. Students are forced to study hours longer because they're missing some of the most powerful aspects of studying.

Your Computer Is A Time Death Trap


Take note of the word “Your.”

Using your own personal computer to study is usually a bad idea. The average student's computer today is buried with significantly more interesting things to do than studying. You could play computer games. You could talk on your instant messenger. You can check your Facebook. All of these activities are significantly more fun than studying.

Your personal computer can easily eat away your study time with hundreds of non-studying distractions. Even if you don't indulge in those distractions, your brain can still lose some of its focus worrying about it. You're always fighting an uphill battle.

There are many solutions to this. Many students try to solve this by having two computers. One is exclusively used for schoolwork while the other is the one they kill most of their time on. That can work but it still takes some discipline to not turn it into two personal entertainment computers. You might hear your brain start trying to rationalize stupid things like, “Well... I need a messenger installed on this in case I need to talk to friends to help studying...” Oh no... Don't play that dangerous game because you'll never win. Proceed with caution if you plan on getting a second computer.

Another solution to using your own computer is using a different computer. Ideally, you could use a computer at school or in a library. This makes it much easier to focus on the actual studying that you need to do. The main challenge is that you can't install specific programs on these computers.

Using your own computer to study is possible but it makes studying an unpleasant act of discipline. Make it easy by removing the possible distractions.

The Class Is Not The Internet


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One of the most common mistakes people make with studying on their computer is losing focus on their classes specific material. There is an unlimited amount of valuable information about just about any subject on the internet. That makes it an amazing place to learn tons of information. But... learning tons of information is not the point of your class.

Classes are designed to teach you very specific sets of information. That information is what your teachers focus on teaching you. It's also what you're going to be tested on. If you spend two hours reading scholarly articles on the internet about the subject you're supposed to study, you will learn a ton of information. That's great but that has absolutely nothing to do with class. You can read those articles, learn the information, and still miserably fail the test because the information in those articles isn't the information that they wanted you to learn.

Yes... This is a fairly shallow mechanism for schools to try to teach you but it's the mechanism you have to keep in mind. They do not care how much you learn. They care if you learn what they want you to learn. While studying a subject online, don't try to fool yourself into thinking you're studying for your big test. You're just doing it for fun (or masochism.)

The saddest part about this whole situation is that you will learn better for class off the internet despite learning more on the internet.

Why You Should Use The Internet To Learn


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The amazing thing about the internet is how easily you can cater the information to a style that you're interested in. If you have to learn about the assassination of President Lincoln then you have tons of options. You can search it on the web. You can find documentaries about it to watch. You can read articles about it. You can find conspiracy theories if that's your thing. You can find humorous comic strips. All of these sources can teach you some information (some less than others,) and you can focus on the ones that work best for your personal preference.

You might absolutely hate reading about mathematics in a textbook but kind of enjoy watching someone showing you how to do it. With the internet you can find that.

The internet is amazing for learning because it gives you almost exactly what you are interested in finding. If you're actually interested in something then your able to learn it significantly more naturally than any forced class learning.

Learning is not studying though. Don't think that studying your Lincoln's assassination for class will be as effective online as using your specific class materials. While you can use it to peak your interest in a subject, never fool yourself into thinking your studying. While I'm not a fan of textbooks, use them if you have to. The ideal source for studying is usually specific notes (or video or audio) of the lectures.

Teacher's intentionally layout their courses to focus on the tests. The lectures are your chance to hear what's important coming straight from the horse's mouth (Did I just call your teacher a horse?). The vast majority of teachers repeat virtually everything that's important on their tests. Listening to what they emphasize means more than any textbook or internet search for your grade.


The future of education has absolutely nothing to do with the strategy I'm teaching you. Everyone knows that the current school system is completely outdated and ineffective. Someday, hopefully, students will be able to focus more on learning the subjects that they naturally love. That will allow them to learn more than ever.

That day is not today! Remember that. Their goal is not to teach you. Their goal is to teach you specific sets of information.

Technology is an amazing tool but it's an amazing tool that can be used for studying or entertainment. That means you have to watch out for the way you are using it. In most cases, I recommend not using your personal computer for studying. (There are scenarios where it's practical but everyone assumes they're the exception.) Use an alternative computer that requires less actual discipline to stay focused.

Getting amazing grades doesn't require that you drown yourself in pages of textbooks. It also doesn't require hours of your time everyday. That's what this blog is all about. If you want to learn more of the secrets to studying faster than ever then be sure to follow this blog and keep up.



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