Study Notes


I was a smart kid, but I attribute my great grades not to flashes of genius but to boringly steady work habits. I trudged home from school, literally a mile+ in the snow, and did my homework. Every day. I spent a lot of time studying and overstudying for tests. Though I had some fun times, I didn’t really goof off that much, not in high school and certainly not in college.

In college, I had a Psych class and got 100% on a test. The professor congratulated me when he handed back the results, which was a little embarrassing. After class, a few students came up to me to ask how I did it. I said I read the assigned chapters, twice, and studied the lecture notes several times. That’s not what they wanted to hear, I could tell. They thought I had a special trick. I did not. I just spent a lot of time doing the boring, boring studying.

It is true when I was very young I had a bit of eidetic memory, but that faded fast and didn’t help me much by the time high school rolled around. I was better than most at remembering phone numbers, which has become an unnecessary skill these days. Who even needs to know their friends’ numbers any longer?

More recently I took the Notary Public exam and did well. I was a bit worried about it, even though I’ve taken it several times before (in California you have to retake it every four years). It’s easy to forget many of the details between tests if you only notarize once in a while as I do. But I overstudied like a maniac. Turns out I do have some good habits!

In my opinion, doing well in school is mostly about good habits, not brilliance. Could this be true about most things in life?


The Daily Prompt: Study

13 responses to “Study Notes

  1. I couldn’t have been more opposite! I did well in high school without trying, and my memory sucked! Naturally, I used the no worry approach in my first semester in college. It took the rest of my four years to overcome my first semester grades… by hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Antoinette Truglio Martin

    My “genius” was memorizing everything. they called it a photographic memory, but really it was a coping mechanism to not understanding the content. it would take YEARS of practice to truly understand what I was memorizing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got through high school by being good at taking tests–not to be confused with . . . anything else. My method was, and still is, (in the unlikely event that taking a test is required) to read the material as I would a novel, once, maybe twice if time allowed, with no particular emphasis on trying to remember, which I’m bad at anyway. Doing this allowed me to make better guesses while taking the test.
    But, if I REALLY want to learn something, I’m stuck with the worst and slowest possible method but the only one that works for me, which is to understand the thing, as opposed to remembering things about it. This is a handicap for things like Algebra, and many other things, but a real advantage for anything that is subtly complex, or which requires judgement calls. I wish I was the other way, as it is what is needed more often than not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just to clarify–no, I didn’t get real good grades.


      • I was so good at math, really understood almost all of it, except logs. But I’ve forgotten so much and it makes me sad. I want to relearn it! It seems like a language to me ~ I also wish I knew more languages. Would love to relearn (or actually LEARN) Spanish… and then maybe French, German, etc. But probably when I have time for all that my brain will be too mushy, if it isn’t already.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve had so many Spanish classes in my life, going to California schools, I feel like I have the syntax and the rhythm and pronunciations down, but now I can’t remember that much of the vocabulary, and my hearing has gotten to the point where I find it impossible to even hear new words properly, let alone remember them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Starting to feel the same way about English sometimes. Why are people so MUMBLY?


      • Mumbly and won’t look you in the eye–that perpetual millennial mope, augmented by earbuds connected to wires that disappear somewhere inside their clothing as they attend to another world.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Never a good student, I now see how my poor habits translated in the workplace, and especially how they translate today. Anything at all that seems like homework — e.g. creating a good update to my resume — becomes enormously difficult. I was “successful” at work and never got fired but I would now like to have created a better reputation and not just been the equivalent of a B or C student.


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  6. And luck! You can only control one, of course.


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