Studying hard makes you dumber, seriously. Study smart.


Come judgment day, a lot of students glide through the hallways of their school wearing the halos of the A* shining brilliantly whilst their equally competent counterparts hope to shrink to the size of a fly and dart right out of the school gates. What is the difference between these two sets of equally competent students? What sets the achievers apart?

Whilst there is a difference, it is not necessarily in their Intellectual Quotient but in their Emotional Intelligence. EQ is the demonstration of sensibility. It is a set of skills that include the ability to recognize one’s own impulses and moods, read situations and others accurately, and respond most appropriately, depending on the situation or person involved. The ones with the right grades are good test takers – they know how to get the best out of themselves, understand the mechanics of testing, and know HOW to study for those tests.

There are others who are intellectually equally capable but still haven’t learnt to work the system. Although they are working hard enough, they are not working smart and as we wait for realization to dawn, that grades are not a measure of intellect or success, grades are the entry point into selective schools worldwide and the poor test takers miss out on their chance.

Lot of parents, have a “one size fits all” approach. The poor test taking child, is banished from all things that season and spice our lives and required to live like an academic hermit. To the parents’ disbelief, there isn’t much movement in the next set of transcripts and sometimes the movement is downwards as boredom and loss of purpose infiltrate the brain and stress continues to linger in the family living room.

The parents need to focus on helping their kids study smart as opposed to how many hours they study and the following points will help in bridging the gap between current result and desired result.


Research has shown that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material.

Preparation of examination should start from the first day of the academic year and is not required to exceed 15 minutes per subject. This will help the student cement the new learning at home and revise less before examination.

The forgetting curve hypothesizes the decline of memory retention in time. This curve shows how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it.


Set workplace boundaries: Make sure to separate your work time and work place from your free time and leisure place. This provides physical, mental, and emotional separation of work from leisure. Students should not study on their beds.

Have the tools of the trade: Be prepared with the equipment that is needed to perform efficiently. (Calculators, Stationery, Highlighters)
Take notes by hand: Scientists recommend this, and not just because you’re more likely to give in to online distractions when using your laptop. Even when laptops are used only for note taking, learning is less effective. Also use of mnemonic devices like acronyms, are proven to increase learning efficiency.

Read key information out loud: Studies have been conducted, which demonstrate that reading information out loud helps students to learn faster than by reading silently. When you read information out loud, you both see and hear it. On the other hand, when you read information silently, you only see it.

Take regular study breaks: Taking regular study breaks enhances overall productivity and improves focus but use a timer or stopwatch to remind you when to take a break and when to get back to studying.During your break, refrain from using your phone or computer, because these devices prevent your mind from relaxing completely.

Support team: Who is on your support team? Don’t neglect them. Include parents and friends who are willing to help you. Tell them of your plan and ask them to nudge you if they feel you are drifting away.

Take care of your physical self: In order for you to work well, you need sleep, a healthy diet and some form of exercise. Take care of your body and your brain will reward you with higher motivation and hopefully greater productivity.

Practice on past Test papers: to test yourself frequently. Seeing the questions disguised in different words and format will help you identify the hidden question on exam day.

Acknowledge the small successes: It takes time to bring about a visceral change. Rome was not build in a day. Tomorrow is a new day.