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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but slightly skewed towards some subjects more than others, 10 April 2010
This review is from: How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less (Paperback)
Cal Newport is something of an internet phenomenon, his website being a treasure trove of hints and tips for the undergrad and postgrad student. "How to Become A Straight-A Student" is basically his notes from the trenches, a no-bull account of how to succeed academically, gleamed from his own stellar academic performance, and informed by interviews with a large number of straight A students from America's top universities. In short, it is a great book, and well worth investing in.

That being said, this book doesn't cover absolutely everything; Newport divides Uni courses into Technical (Math, Computing, Engineering) and non-Technical (Philosophy, Literature etc). For the former, he has good nuts-and-bolts advice for covering complicated proofs and formulas, and for the latter he examines the art of paper (essay) writing.

If you are a Life Scientist or a Medic however, you might find less that is applicable for you (this is borne out on his website where he often has pre-meds or med students leaving comments asking how his techniques would apply to them). This is not to say you shouldn't buy his book- the trick to medical school is really efficiency and exquisite time management, both of which Newport has lots of good things to say about. And of course, there will be equation and essay-writing components to a Med School or life sciences degree. If you were a life scientist interesting in buying this book, I wouldn't suggest you didn't, but you would also do well to check out Newport's website, where he grapples with (if memory serves) how he would study for a biology class.

Finally, this is an American book, written for American students. While it crosses the Atlantic divide better than How to Win at College: Simple Rules for Success from Star Students , American degree structures are quite different from UK degrees- Scottish degrees, because of the extra year, often allow a little more flexibility in subject choice especially in first year; English three year degrees tend to have you diving straight in to your chosen "major". Many American degrees require you to sample a whole range of subjects across the educational spectrum (I know someone who had to take a Chemistry and Maths class even though their major was literature). Again, not a reason not to buy the book, but be aware that this book is tooled up for surviving a different academic machine.
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Initial post: 10 Aug 2014 09:19:29 BDT
There are a lot of four year degrees in the UK as well -but more often in the top ten Universities than across the board. Having read the book I just wish I had come across something like this when I have been studying different things throughout my life. I used to have a couple fo books to help my music students work smarter / work more effectively. But this one is shorter, more concise and focused, and comes from the coalface of study, so it has plenty of credibility.
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