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When did you last enjoy a book about revision?

If you can make a book on revision an enjoyable read, you deserve a medal; although I wouldn’t suggest wearing it to the pub. Being force fed it (and the ribbon) by a pair of skinheads with prison tattoos would surely take the shine off.

The moment I opened How to become a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport I knew that I was going to enjoy it. In the opening paragraphs the author talks about how the majority of books on study techniques seem to be written by people who haven’t studied for an exam in years. When I started trying to find books to help me with revision as an adult, that’s exactly what I found.

Far from being hypothetical, the book is based on the habits of real straight-A students. In a clever move, the book focuses on those that can achieve amazing grades without working themselves sick. This gives the reader great confidence in his advice and delivers a real sense of optimism.

It’s rare to read a book on studying and have the impression that the author actually really cares about the subject. More than that, enthusiasm is crucially important. A textbook can contain dynamite techniques but, if it’s written like a reference guide, you’re unlikely to even try them out.

It’s written primarily for American college students, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. The general revision advice is solid and, whilst not particularly ground breaking, the section on time management is a neat inclusion. I certainly wish I’d read the section on essay writing when I was at University.

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