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Lesson 8: Review of the #1 Learning Technique

Gary North, Ph.D.
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Lesson 8


Are you really doing this every day? Or are you procrastinating? This is the #1 study technique. It's the one that will give you a unique advantage. You should be using it. Are you?

In Lesson #1, I told you about Noah Robinson. When Noah took the Graduate Records Exam for chemistry, which is the SAT/ACT for graduate students, his scores were 800 (perfect), 800, and 770. As far as I know, in the year that he took the GRE, he scored highest in the nation in chemistry. CalTech granted him a full scholarship. He earned a Ph.D.

He had always been a very good student. He had not always been a great exam-taker. He got 1480 on the SATs -- very good, but not spectacular.

Noah quizzed out of his first two years of college, saving his father $20,000, minimum. Two years later, he blew away the GRE exam.

He is now Dr. Robinson.

The problem with this technique is that very few students ever apply it, even when they know about it.

Have you begun to use it? You have known about it for two weeks.

Again, it's like a diet book. Knowing how to lose weight is not the same as actually losing it.


The book Dr. Robinson refers to, The Overnight Student, is a truly inspiring little book. Sadly, it is out of print.

The author was a slightly above-average student in high school: mostly C's and B's. At college, his first semester grade point average was 1.9 -- low C's. Then he hit a brick wall: straight F's. He was put on probation. He did it again: straight F's. They expelled him for two years.

Two years later, he got permission to re-enter, but only if he got a B-average in correspondence courses, which he did, barely. But he feared that he would hit the brick wall again when he re-entered as a full-time student.

In college one more time, he struggled. Then he met a girl who told him she rarely cracked a book, but she got good grades. She said she took good notes.

He became a great note-taker. I will cover note- taking in a tomorrow's lesson. But, in reviewing his notes, he stumbled onto the technique that turned him into a straight-A student.

He found that he could not remember all of his detailed class notes. His grades improved, but he was still not an A student. Then he adopted a new technique. He would read his notes silently to himself. Then he would turn his notes face-down, stand up, and begin lecturing. There was no one in the room except him. But he would give a lecture, putting the notes in his own words. He found that he did better while walking or pacing.

He did not parrot the notes. He pretended that he was explaining his notes to a class. When he forgot his point, he knew where the gap in his knowledge was. He could review his notes, find the missing piece, and start over.

Wouldn't you like to be able identify whatever you don't know and then learn it before you take an exam? You can. Lecture to the wall.

From that day on, he never received any grade lower than an A. He graduated from college, went to graduate school, and earned a Ph.D. He never stopped using this technique. Simply by putting his class notes into his own words, and speaking these words out loud as if there were an audience, the author transformed his academic career. His book has transformed other people's academic careers.

Maybe it will transform yours. Have you been doing this?


There are lots of reasons. The technique sounds goofy. Nobody else does this. Nobody teaches it in school. You don't have a deserted place to lecture to the wall. You don't want to be regarded as crazy.

But, if it would mean a college education for you, would you try it for a month?

If you have struggled with studying, why not see if this can help you? If you're embarrassed by your high school grades, why not try it? If you worked really hard, yet you choked when you took exams, why not try it?

Is doing something new and strange so frightening to you that you would rather spend the rest of your academic career afraid of exams? If it would mean that you would no longer get scared before taking exams, would it be worth trying for a month?

I don't know if this technique will work for you. I do know that if you have tried everything else, and nothing has made you a good student, then it would be wise to try something that has worked for other people.


When you're lecturing to the wall, you should be all alone. But what about the rest of this course? Do you feel as though you're the only person doing any of this?

You're not. All over the country, students are going through this course. Some of them will actually finish it. Of those who finish a few will implement some of what they learn here.

Of course, only a small percentage of students will implement the entire program. That's true of every self-improvement program: weight loss, strength training, speed reading, etc. A few start. Fewer finish.

It's good to do things as part of a team. That's why Alcoholics Anonymous exists. That's why Weight Watchers exists.

If you feel the need to get outside confirmation from others who are going through this course, you should join this site. Talk over matters with others who are struggling to make the necessary changes in their study habits. You can join here: https://www.garynorth.com/public/5.cfm


Take better notes. Then lecture to the wall.


Re-read this lesson. Then turn the print-out face-down. Then whisper or talk to the wall. Explain to that stupid wall what the lesson means to you. I assure you, the wall can hear your whisper just as clearly as it can hear you shouting.

If the lesson doesn't mean anything, sit down, re-read it, and then lecture to the wall. The wall won't get any smarter, but your understanding of the lesson will get clearer.

Don't forget to lecture to the wall: one page, one book.

If you want to make more money, keep more of your money, and enjoy your money more, subscribe to my free Tip of the Week. The subscription box is here: www.garynorth.com.
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