Archive for the 'Exams' Category

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Students Social NOTworking

Today’s post is quick and to the point because The Economist Magazine recently reported that 75% of student time is used for socialising, recreation and sleeping and only 7% for studying.

It’s no mystery why so many students are struggling to get good grades.

Stop reading this and get back to your books!!!!

Learning Paradigms Video

This incredible video was sent to me by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours in Melbourne, Australia. What amazes me about it is how so much information can be captured in such a short period of time in such a compelling and dynamic way – its’ absolutely mesmerising don’t you think? It’s why my MindMapping course is so popular with students who want to cram for exams at the last minute.

Sleep Reading Take 2

I recently posted a funny blog post on sleep reading. This is a follow up to that… I couldn’t resist.

I don’t want this blog to just be serious, I want you to have fun improving your grades, otherwise what’s the point?!?!

Go from getting Ds to As THIS semester

Get Better Grades THIS Semester

Get Better Grades THIS Semester

When you buy my study book… In chapter 1, I am going to show you HOW you learn so that you can INSTANTLY improve your grades as of your next test, quiz or exam.

With a 100% Money-Back-Guarantee, you have nothing to lose except the A or B on your next test or exam.

I’d like to make it harder and more complicated, but the reality is that it’s quite simple and straightforward – When you know WHAT to do and HOW to do it. It’s all revealed in my study book.

2 Test Taking Tips

Today’s Post is from D.R. DeSilva. He wants a few clarifications on test taking tips.

Dear Sir,
I read the Get the best grades with the least amount of effort book and it was really cool.

So first up I Have Two questions to ask;

  1. When you are studying, you mentioned taking notes for every chapter. Therefore is it wise to create short notes when studying & if it’s so can you tell me what is the correct way of doing it or is there an alternative way of doing it?
  2. In terms of anchors, is it correct if I can use a neck chain while I am studying & as well as for my exams? So is that way of creating an anchor which is correct for an individual?

So Marc, if you mind me calling by your first name, if you don’t mind, I would appreciate if you can answer my following questions ASAP & I find you as a cool guy in particular.

Thanking You !
Yours Sincerely,

D.R Desilva.

First of all, these are great questions. So here are equally great answers!


Taking notes is covered in my study book, but one of the strategies I have expanded on is MindMapping. Mind Mapping is not only a quick and easy note taking method, but because of the VISUAL aspect, it’s a MUCH better way of taking notes than just summarising facts and figures in list form. I created an entire program with a MindMapping artist, Paul Telling, to teach you How To MindMap To Get Better Grades.


Anchors come in all shapes and sizes – you can use anything that helps you remember more when it counts – during exams and tests. Using a neck chain is a great idea EXCEPT that it’s not something that is ACTIVATED when you study if you have it on all the time. You would need to wear it ONLY when studying and when you write exams and tests to be an anchor.

An anchor MUST be ASSOCIATED visually, physically, auditorially, olfactorially (smell) or gustatorially (taste) for it to work. What I am NOT suggesting is that you become superstitious – that’s when it gets out of hand. You just want to TEST what anchors work and don’t work for you. You don’t want to create a psychological crutch that without it you’re ‘lost’.

There is a balance between using anchors and creating superstitions.

So there you have it, two great Test Taking Tips!

How To Study For Your SAT, LSAT or GMAT

If you are studying for your SAT, LSAT or GMAT, here is the best advice I can give you.

Step #1: Buy all the preparation material from the original standardized testing service / organisation. They want you to succeed and are going to be straight with you. Read it all and FOLLOW the recommendations. They created and administer the test. They don’t have any tricks up their sleeves. They have to follow strict protocols and procedures.

Step #2: Only buy a prep program that you know from someone who has used it successfully. Too many of these companies prey on your lack of confidence and exploit you accordingly. First with a pre-set programs and THEN individual tutoring often at exorbitant cost. Let’s face it – if you need tutoring for the test, you have bigger problems…

Step #3: This is the important one. SIMULATE the test as often as time permits. All of these tests have TIME RESTRICTIONS and the key to succeeding is going through it over and over and over again, so that by the time you write the test that counts, you’ve got the PROCESS down pat. I did this to rank in the top percentiles of the GMAT and LSAT tests with LESS stress and better results than my classmates. Success is all about preparation and practice. As a minimum, you want to simulate the test 3 times.

Ideally, you go to the exam room (or one like it) to really put you in the mood. Yes, as you would expect, that’s what I did. I did it in the evening when the classrooms were available, uninterrupted. I think I simulated the tests 4 or 5 times (at 3 hours/test, that’s a BIG commitment, but keep reading why the payoff might be BIGGER than you thought!)

When I suggest simulation, I mean doing it LIKE THE REAL THING. Start and stop ON TIME. Grade yourself and gauge where you lost time and what you can improve. You know from my study book how to do this… This is just a SPECIFIC TASK that you want to PERFECT.

The reason is that standardized testing is important – it can mean the difference between getting in to the school you want or not. (When I placed in the top percentiles, I received invitations from top schools to apply… Imagine that – having THEM chase you! If you didn’t know, the top schools get access to the top students and try to woo them…

That’s why this is so important!

How to focus during exams

Today’a post is from Setimela in South Africa.

Dr Marc Dusssault,

I really appreciate the study and speed learning tips you are giving me but I have a problem losing concentration when writing a test and when doing my assignments. This results in me failing the test. This discourages me hence losing confidence. I am currently doing a part-time diploma in occupational health nursing with WITS University in South Africa. I have already written a test and I didn’t do well. Kindly assist me to pull through.

There is the famous saying we’ve all heard “practice makes perfect”, but it’s actually wrong. It should be “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

I have another blog called the Mindset Of A Champion where you’re find several posts that will help you focus for your exams. It covers topics such as Mental Toughness and deliberate practice concepts.

As a student, if you want to ace your next exam, you need to PRACTICE writing exams – literally. That means creating the same time pressure, even going to your exam room when it’s available to actually PRACTICE writing a fake exam. I know it sounds crazy, but if you actually do it, you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make.

When I did my undergraduate degree, about a handful of times, I went into the SAME (or similar) exam room to write exams on my own, when I knew there would be no one there (at night or on weekends). Sometimes I would sit the fake exam for the full 3 hours and often I would just do part of an exam for 1 hour – SAME STRESS.

It takes effort because you have to:

  • Come up with fake questions. (Ideally, you ask a friend to write them up for you)
  • Find when a room is available.
  • Go to (or stay at) school.
  • Role play seriously – even if that means panicking because you can’t answer the questions.
  • You need to grade yourself honestly after-the-fact.

If this is all too much effort – just keep freaking out during exams.

If you want to get better at anything – perfect practice makes perfect…

Of course there is the alternative which is MASTERING your subject matter – but that is a topic for another day.

3 Note Taking Styles: 5 Major Flaws

There you are, preparing for your exam… looking back over your notes trying to understand what you’ve written. Trying to remember the words the lecturer said AND put into context the scribbles in your notebook. ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

It doesn’t have to be this way. There IS a better way to take notes that will help you understand, remember and retain more knowledge, especially at a critical time such as your next exam!

Did you know there are 3 traditional ways we take notes?

1. The sentence narrative note taking style – This is where you simply write out word-for-word what you hear. Writing line-by-line as fast as you can. You’re basically a stenographer – focused on capturing the words on paper.

2. The list note taking style – this involves taking down the various ideas as they occur usually in a bulleted list, like the one I just created for the traditional note taking styles.

3. Outline note taking style-

Taking notes in a hierarchical sequence using major and

sub categories.

In a waterfall- like structure as shown here

Did you know that these 3 traditional note taking styles have 5 major flaws?

1. Lack of visual cues. As you can tell from the traditional styles above, they all use linear patterns, symbols and text, but use no visual cues, patterns, images or visualization tools. This is a critical flaw because the mind thinks in visual images and pictures and needs these elements to enable selective recall when it counts – on your next exam.

2. Boring. Traditional note taking styles are monotone, meaning your brain gets bored and switches off! Traditional notes all tend to look the same, hiding important key words and subject headings making it incredibly hard for your brain to remember what matters and what doesn’t. This is where confusion and “muddled” memory comes from. The brain knows it’s “in there” somewhere, but like a pile of papers scattered on the floor, it doesn’t know where it is or where it actually belongs.

3. Time consuming. Creating traditional notes is a monumental waste of time – when compared to their more efficient and effective alternative. Because they are boring and lack visual cues, when taking notes “the old fashioned way”, you tend to just keep writing unnecessarily. By writing more, it means your brain has to sift through even more irrelevant stuff to get to the important things that will be on your exam. To increase recall you need to keep reading and re reading your notes over and over and over and over again hoping something will sink in. The problem is that it makes it harder and harder and harder for the important stuff to stand out!

4. Lack of creative stimulation. Traditional note taking fails to stimulate the brain creatively, relying primarily on the logical left brain hemisphere for recall. That’s why it’s so hard. Failing to allow associations and connections to be made between key words and points, the creative right brain remains switched off.

5. False sense of completion. The traditional note taking formats gives you a false sense of completion because of their linear nature. They appear complete even though the complete lack the all-important conceptual connections and inter-relationships between the points.

How do you take notes and do you struggle with any of these issues?

Well by traditional NOTE taking you might as well be NOT taking.

There is an alternative to overcome these problems and limitations – it’s called mind mapping.

Because mind mapping mimics the brain’s thinking format, it uses radial thinking and visual patterning using colours, lines, pictures and (inter) relationships. By giving your brain many visual symbols to connect with, remembering them when it counts – on your next test or exam will be easy.

Mind maps are colourful and creative by nature with key points, ideas and concepts literally jumping off the page enabling your brain to quickly and effectively search and FIND the information you need, within the proper context.

Creating relationships and linkages are natural to the brain’s memory storing function. One of the best things about mind maps is that they’re less time consuming to create than traditional notes and take a lot less room. Usually, you can fit several pages or even whole chapters on one page mind map. That gives you QUICK ACCESS and also gives you the overall “picture” that traditional note taking lacks.

Mind mapping is really the polar opposite of traditional note taking. Instead of working against the brain mindmapping works with the brain, matching it to increase your memory, retention and comprehension to give you confidence when writing tests and exams.

Keep this in mind: Many highly successful business people admit to using mind mapping as a competitive tool in their businesses. If it works for them, there must be something to it!

CLICK HERE -> To get your hands on the “How To MindMap To Get Better Grades Video Program”.

Psst! Take a look at this blog post and COMPARE it to the mind mapping program description page – which one do you prefer? That’s the whole point!!!

Use Colours To Improve Memory Retention, Comprehension And Understanding

When we first learn something, information is processed by the brain to form a neural trace which first enters your sensory memory and then, if you’re paying attention, enters your Short Term Memory (STM). If you keep working to process the information and adapt it correctly, it then moves to your Long Term Memory (LTM).

The information which is processed into your LTM is more or less permanent and with occasional reviewing, you will not forget it.

The trick is to adapt the information that you really need into LTM as quickly as possible.

The ability to retain needed information in working memory is important to learning and exam taking performance. Drawings help to improve memory retention, comprehension and understanding. Continue reading ‘Use Colours To Improve Memory Retention, Comprehension And Understanding’

Get Better Grades Success Story

Today’s post is a testimonial from one of my clients who bought my study book, his name is Abel.

Hi, Dr Dussault.

All I can say is wow. I’m studying ACCA (online) but my main problem was lack of motivation to study. Like you explain in your study book, what was holding me back was my comfort zone of past success with my studies. What bother me most was the fact that my constant thought was to study but in reality I wasn’t studying! The more I thought about it, the more I ended up sleeping without even reading for a minute! In a nutshell, your study program made me realize that I will never change my life until I change something I’m doing (or not doing) daily.

Now slowly but surely I’m following through. With my study to do list, I know if I follow it I’ll get better grades otherwise… I don’t even want to think about it anymore!

I hear myself now saying… “Abel bear in mind that you never plan to fail your exam but merely fail to plan to pass!”

That’s my best shot.


Top 10 Ways To Ace Your Next Exam Or Test

Here is another installment of top 10 lists to help you study smarter, study for exams or just develop better study skills. These lists are designed to give you direct access to valuable quick learning tip  that you can pick and choose to use at your leisure.

Top 10 Ways To Ace Your Next Exam Or Test

  1. Upcoming tests can definitely be nerve-wracking. Learning how to study for a test properly can direct your attention positively towards improved study habits with decreased anxiety levels.
  2. Exams generally count for the highest percentage of your overall grade making knowing how to study for exams extremely crucial in your academic endeavors.
  3. Studying in a makeshift manner may only get you so far! Knowing exactly how to study for a final by following a set of guidelines may just be what will make the difference in your most important exams.
  4. Because your study skills memory is the most significant aspect required for testing, coming up with techniques and styles that work best for you can help to remember the right answers to those tricky questions.
  5. Starting college means learning to adapt to a whole new environment where teachers demand you to work independently with a much higher work load and yes, much more complex exams! Understanding how to study in college for exams can help lessen those all-nighters to achieve successful results.
  6. Time and energy spent on trying to study for an exam does not have to be wasted. Putting better study skills to use can show you how to manage your time and prepare well, all while still keeping a social life.
  7. Poor planning produces poor results! Go through these study skills test taking procedures and start producing great results, every time!
  8. Quick learning tips will save you from cramming the night before your test by learning how to use different techniques to remember your class work more efficiently.
  9. You can study in vain for countless hours without getting anywhere! Knowing how to study effectively for exams will make all the difference in the world when it comes to passing or failing!
  10. Taking tests and exams are based on the lessons taught and the information your memory has stored away. Remembering that information is not always easy. A remedy for that problem is finding study skills games that can help students focus better and remember odds and ends while making studying fun.

Top 10 Best Study Skills

Whether you are a student struggling to learn or a teacher trying to help prepare your students, knowing HOW to develop good study skills by using the right study skills material will help you achieve your targets with outstanding outcomes. The following top 10 best study skills are hyperlinked to valuable resources that will help you get better grades faster.

  1. Having the best study skills improves memory habits making it easier to get the most out of your studying efforts by remembering important information.
  2. Students who know how to study efficiently will manage their time better using less energy and more brain power resulting in academic success!
  3. Finding an effective study skill that works for you will develop the correct way to absorb information and is a great skill to maintain for making life choices.
  4. Studying is tedious and sometimes overwhelming. Using a study skills guide shows useful tricks such as helpful ways to research, how to prepare for a test and writing tips so that you can stay organized and focused.
  5. Instead of getting frustrated and spending countless hours making mistakes and then correcting them, use one of the many study skills resources available to know the tricks of the trade and get better results.
  6. Studying, like any other task in life, requires a few key elements to make the information retainable. Learn how to study better so that you get the results you want.
  7. Studying itself can be a daunting task, leaving no time for you to strategize your life as a student. Learning different methods by implementing proper study skills and strategies can go a long way in helping students to make order from the chaos!
  8. Knowing how to study smarter and not harder lets students learn more effectively with healthier regimens and higher achievements.
  9. Online study skills can be a student’s best friend with limitless amounts of information. Be sure to always use legitimate sources and don’t forget to reference those sites!
  10. Whether you are a student struggling to learn or a teacher trying to help prepare your students, knowing HOW to develop good study skills by using the right study skills material will help you achieve your targets with outstanding outcomes.

How To Ace Your Next Exam

I recently filmed a bonus video for people who buy my study book. It’s called “5 Minutes To Go From Panic To Passing Tomorrow’s Exam”. In fact, the introduction video is included at the end of this blog post. In the video, I explain strategies that make the most of the little bit of time you have when cramming for an exam at the last minute.

That’s when the two little guys below came to mind…

Ace Your Next Exam With Troll Power!

Ace Your Next Exam With Troll Power!

Here’s the thing that’s really important, as I explain in my video…

Continue reading ‘How To Ace Your Next Exam’

Get Better Grades

Today’s post is a YouTube video that answers the most popular questions people ask me about my study book.

Get Better Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort

Reducing Exam Anxiety

Today’s blog post is based on a comment from Ad Poi, he’s a little stressed because he has an exam in about 3 weeks. I recently filmed a video called “5 Minutes To Go From Panic To Passing Tomorrow’s Exam” which is now included as a bonus to my study book Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort. In the video, I explain 5 strategies you can use to cram for an exam if you’ve run out of time and are stuck at the last minute with too much to study and not enough time to get it done.

The other suggestion I have for Ad is to get my Speed Reading Video Program. Rapid Reader is FANTASTIC for WORD, PDF and Website reading, but when it comes to reading your textbooks, you need to know how to speed read.

Hi Dr Dussault,

I came to know about your book and your strategies recently.Your strategies, you say, help get the best grades with the least amount of effort, but I wonder if they are going to help me since , I have 3 and a half weeks until my exam and I feel not quite prepared.

What I need are strategies to get the most done with the least amount of time, not the least effort. I am willing to give in a great deal of effort , but I am anxious and afraid that I won’t be able to complete all the courses to my satisfaction (especially chemistry, which I hate and have neglected greatly until now).

So, I ask whether your book will help me get the best grades with the least amount of TIME?

I have managed to get a copy of the rapid reader software yesterday, and am trying to increase my onscreen as well as off-screen reading speed.

My greatest drawback though is that I get quite nervous during exams and my efficiency is more than halved. As a result, my grades are compromised even though I worked hard. So I ask whether your book can help me getting rid of this anxiety and increase my concentration.

Thank You.

Get Better Grades And Make $82,000 More

The Economist Magazine recently reported that a male university graduate will make $82,000 more in his working lifetime than his non-university graduate peer. This includes the cost of tuition, lost wages while studying as well as extra taxes paid. What this simply means is that it pays to get better grades.

But getting better grades is not just about winging it – you need to be systematic and discipline about it. My study book and this blog are great way to learn to get better grades with less effort. My study book comes with many bonus materials that will help you – go to the product page now and check it out.

Student Gets Better Grades

Today’s post is from John Ruiz who wants to share his recent results after buying my study book and applying just 2 strategies. This is the dialogue I had with John…

Hello Dr. Dussault!

I recently bought your study book and after reading it and incorporating only 2 of your strategies I have improved my grades in Math. I scored a 115 A++ on my Honors Algebra 2 test and a 113 A++ on my Honors Pre-calculus test as well. Thank you for your excellent study guide – it will help me not only now, but in the future as well.

Now that’s a great testimonial, but it doesn’t help you does it?

So I asked John what study strategies he used:

Exam Study Tip #1:

First, I used the strategies for identifying exactly what was going to be on my next math test. I paid attention to the subtle hints that the teacher gave about what would be on the test.

Exam Study Tip #2:

I also referred to past exams and found that some of the extra credit problems were taken from the book we use in class. Realizing this, I was able to practice the exact problems that would be on the test and as a result got the highest grade in class on that test — 113. Without those two strateges I would not have scored that well. I used the same two strategies to get a 115 on my other math test ( I take Honors Trig and Alg. 2). I’m exited to try out more strategies and improve exponentially overtime. Thank you.

So there you have it, two simple study tips that will help you get the best grades with the least amount of effort!

5 Study Tips For A 35 Year Old Math Student

Today’s post is from a 35 year old student struggling with math. His question is not all that uncommon.

Hello there,

My question is Math the reason that I’m struggling.  I’m 35 years old and this is my second semester in college and I’m retaking Math again because the first semester I failed and I’m about the same way this semester… Now my Teacher said that we can make corrections on the tests and get a better score now. I got a month to go in school. So my question is what is the easyest way to study for a math Test or or just to understand what the teacher is saying?

This is a great question that has several answers:

Study Tip #1: Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past

Continue reading ‘5 Study Tips For A 35 Year Old Math Student’

The 80/20 Rule For Students

The Pareto Principle also called the 80/20 rule is one of the most powerful study techniques I teach in my study book. Simply put, success in school is about knowing WHAT to study and WHEN. In my study book, I combine that with a concept from the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People that takes away all the guesswork for you. It’s priceless to any student stressed about about exams, lab reports, quizzes and term papers.

Continue reading ‘The 80/20 Rule For Students’

How To Study For Exams

Today’s post is a funny diagram that begs the question “How should you study for exams?” In my study book, I explain this in Chapter 8 How to determine what will be on your next exam and Chapter 9 How to ace exams each and every time. Click on the hyperlinks to get your copy of my study book now, otherwise this chart will unfortunately continue to represent the stress of taking exams.

How Not To Study For Exams

How Not To Study For Exams

This was sent to me by Andrew Powell in Montreal, Canada. If you come across diagrams, charts or illustrations like these – please send them to me and I’ll make sure everyone knows you sent it to me. Don’t forget that my study book has been sold to thousands of students from all over the world representing 29 different countries!