Jon and David's book is targeted for college students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD. However, the study tips and pointers would be useful for ANY high school student, college student and for most graduate students.
The book begins with the personal stories of the two authors - both kids with a lot of problems who went on to transfer to Brown University and succeed despite all odds. Jon had severe dyslexia and didn't even learn to read until he was 12 years old. He tells the story of poignant struggles in grade school and high school that left his self-confidence in shambles. David tells a harrowing story of school and self-control difficulties that led to heavy drug use and dropping out of high school when he was 15. The story of their frustrations, fears and struggles will resonate with any kid whose learning style has made it difficult to succeed in our school system, and with any parent who has tried to help a child with ADHD or LD problems.
After reading the personal stories of the two authors, anyone reading the book will think: "If these two guys can graduate from high school, and then get into and graduate from an Ivy league school, anyone can. How did they do it?" The next several chapters describe specific, useful study skills and savvy tips for succeeding in the classroom and doing well on tests and papers. Their suggestions are brilliant.
They begin by describing useful techniques and tips for taking class notes -- especially geared for students who have failed at traditional note taking systems and who regularly lose any notes they do take. Jon and David suggest many useful strategies to provide the structure and organization that those of us with LD and/or ADHD typically lack.
After helping students set up excellent note-taking systems, Jon and David move on to classroom participation. Their ideas and suggestions are perfect for any student who is typically shy or intimidated about speaking up in class. This is one of the chapters I wish that every one of my graduate students would read. Again, Jon and David break down a process that may be intuitive to a few students but which baffle many. By taking their suggestions, students can confidently raise their hands, speak wisely, develop better relationships with their professors and improve their grades.
Another chapter that I will assign to the grad students I teach and coach, is a section about reading course material. The tips are geared for students who had difficulties reading and need to learn how to skim material, look for the important sections and retain the material they do read. Wisely, Jon and David point out that most professors assign more than it is possible for students to read. Therefore, they give techniques and tips for making the best use for covering overwhelming amounts of material.
Then writing - the most difficult task for most students - and again, the specific suggestions are so good that they will help all students - not just those with disabilities. Test-taking skills are handled in the final academic chapter. I felt that I learned good tips.
I am a clinical psychologist and professional coach to graduate students and university faculty. I'm going to recommend this book to many of the graduate students I work with. Plus, when my children are in high school, I'm going to suggest that they read and apply these tips - even though they don't show any signs of the kind of academic struggles that Jon and David so compellingly describe.
Bravo to these courageous young men who have done a great service to any struggling students by writing this book. I'm sure that we're going to hear more from them over time.