• Have a definite goal, prepare and follow a challenging but practicable timetable, and stay focused. Tell your friends about your study time and insist on not being disturbed, even by an unnecessary phone call.
  • Regular systematic study and revision are the road to excellence. Set apart the morning hours, preferably 4.30 to 7.00, for self study. Do not allow any private tuition to upset your timetable.
  • Association with ideal students is better than wasting time with idlers.
  • The right amount of discussion, followed by personal reflection, is better than studying all by yourself all the time. If you plan any discussion or group study, guard yourself against waste of time in idle talk.
  • An intelligent learner absorbs what is taught, reflects on it, raises doubts and gets them clarified. Cultivate the habit of noting down important points while reading or attending a class. Critical analysis or intelligent study is less time-consuming and more useful than learning by rote. Useful tips for memorizing important points are given in Harry Lorayne’s book Secrets of Mind Power/How to Develop a Super-Power Memory.
  • The best way to study is to teach. Make use of all opportunities to teach-whether it is helping your younger brother with his lessons, clarifying a friend’s doubt, making a short presentation to the class or addressing the school assembly. It is only when there is a challenge that you bother to collect and assemble the scattered bits of information or organise your amorphous ideas into a coherent argument.
  • Never try to deceive yourself or others with lame excuse that you did not get enough time to finish the work expected of you. You can finish a lot of work if you fix a target and resolve to reach it. If you have no definite plan for the day and are left with just one sample piece of work, Parkinson’s law will operate “work will expand and fill the time available for its completion! So, try to do as much as possible every day”.
  • Moderation in food and other pleasures promotes discipline and helps you in your march to excellence. One glass of water every hour during study time is recommended.
  • For improving your command of English, try this method, among other; read every day at least one article published in English daily, learn the unfamiliar words with the help of good dictionary, identify mistakes like typos, avoidable repetitions, structural imperfection and like, and then, try to improve upon the article. Equally useful is trying to translate an article in a Malayalam daily into English. At first you may struggle for the appropriate words. A copy of Roget’s Thesaurus will help you a lot if you have at least some vague idea of the required word.