How To Become A Straight-A Student Book Summary By Cal Newport

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

How to Become a Straight-A Student provides you with the strategies and skills used by real straight-A students in order to get those top grades.

Whether you're starting out, or if you just need some help getting your GPA back on track, this book has got you covered.

It teaches time management so that studying no longer feels like a chore while also giving concrete advice on how to develop an argumentative thesis that will impress professors and TAs alike.

With all of these tools at your disposal, you'll be able to get that perfect 4.0 without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.

How To Become A Straight-A Student Book

Book Name: How to Become a Straight-A Student (The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less)

Author(s): Cal Newport

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Cal Newport is a highly educated, widely respected author who has devoted his time to developing strategies on how to excel academically.

He graduated with distinction from Dartmouth College and then obtained his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He is currently teaching computer science at Georgetown University and in addition to his long-list of credentials he has written multiple books, including How to be a High School Superstar, How to Win at College and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

And now Cal brings us his latest work - How To Become A Straight-A Student.

How To Study Efficiently And Ace College With Straight-A Techniques

Study Efficiently

If you’re looking to make the most out of your college education, look no further than How to Become a Straight-A Student.

Thisbook provides ten sections that are full of tips and tricks on how to help you get the grades you want in less time and with less stress.

The tips in this book come straight from straight-A students across different academic disciplines, so you know they work!

You’ll find advice on studying more efficiently, developing time management skills, fighting procrastination and taking better notes – things that will help you study smarter instead of harder.

You’ll also learn why sometimes less is more when it comes to studying; why investment in some academic insurance is important; and even how a peaceful cafe can improve your grades.

So if getting good grades is stressing you out, let How to Become a Straight-A Student be your study guide.

Pick up a copy today and find out how you can make the most out of your college experience!

Managing Your Time: Stay Focused In Short Burst For Maximum Results

If you want to become a straight-A student, you have to learn to manage your time and work in more efficient intervals rather than simply plugging away at tasks for hours on end.

Many people make the mistake of pseudo-working which occurs when you try to do too many things all at once and lose concentration.

Instead, opt for high intensity studying intervals.

Studies have shown that the optimal learning period is roughly 50 minutes so working for no longer than an hour is essential before taking a break.

The concept here is that the amount of work you get done is equal to the intensity of your focus multiplied by the length of time spent concentrating.

This means if you apply intense focus for three different periods of one hour each, it will be much more effective than working constantly through 10 hours with a low intensity level.

Not only will you get the same amount done but it also leaves you with seven extra hours which can be used as down time – meeting friends, relaxing or partying.

The trick then becomes organizing your schedule properly – create and maintain detailed complete lists with all your upcoming activities and deadlines and make sure to check them before bedtime or in the morning for any last minute changes!

With this method, becoming a straight-A student is attainable!

Fight Your Procrastination Troll With A Work Progress Journal

Let’s face it; the urge to procrastinate is unavoidable – but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to fight it.

Even straight-A students struggle with this issue and utilize strategies to give themselves an edge.

One such strategy is keeping a work progress journal, which helps you actively avoid giving yourself the same excuses over and over.

It works like this: You start each morning by writing down the day’s most important tasks and duties, including classes, exams, or even mundane chores like grocery shopping or calling the electrician.

Then at the end of the day, record all of the tasks you have completed and provide an explanation for any tasks left unfinished.

This will help you be more accountable for your own actions and make excuses much more difficult to believe if you are continually making them up every day!

By being aware of our tendency to procrastinate, we can find ways to fight against it and become more successful in working towards our goals.

Stop Procrastinating: How To Score Higher While Studying Less


Successful studying always begins with finding the right time, place, and energy to get work done.

If you wait until the last minute or study in a space where you can be easily distracted, your grades will suffer and your stress levels will soar.

Instead, start studying early.

As evening approaches, your body is naturally slowing down for sleep so it’s not going to help you focus as much as doing it in the afternoon or morning.

Plus, when you’re studying earlier in the day, classmates are less likely to try to draw you away from working with social events and parties.

Find a place that will limit distractions too.

That might mean leaving campus for a small coffee shop or library that doesn’t have friends stopping by or comfy couches beckoning for an afternoon nap.

It could be different each day, too!

Adjusting between locations can keep things fresh and prevent monotony setting in so quickly.

You must also take care of your mental and physical energy resources in order to become a successful student as well.

This means taking short breaks every hour to recharge mentally, keeping hydrated with plenty of water and not missing meals while simultaneously avoiding overindulging on caffeine – it won’t give you any more power; it’ll only eventually exhaust your body after depleting its natural resources (and patience!).

Heed these tips about timing, environment, and nourishment for optimal academic success!

It Is Essential To Attend Class And Take Comprehensive Notes To Succeed In Your Coursework

If you want to become a straight-A student, the best way to do it is by attending all your classes and keeping your knowledge up-to-date.

Missing one lesson can set you back hours of studying, so make sure to always attend class!

Once you are in the class, it’s important to record what you’ve learned in an effective way by taking accurate notes.

Depending on the type of course you’re taking, there will be different approaches for note-taking that will help make the most out of your classes.

For nontechnical courses such as philosophy or history, focus on recording big ideas and arguments.

The question/evidence/conclusion structure can be used for this type of class – which involves writing each note down as an answer to a larger question and then following this with evidence from the lecture before finally wrapping up with a conclusion that quickly outlines the evidence.

On the other hand, technical courses like engineering or maths require a different approach.

To take good notes here, record sample problems along with their solutions and steps leading to that solution while your professor goes through them at speed during class time.

If you lose track at any point don’t hesitate in asking questions or making a note of it for later research – half finished notes won’t be useful when exam time comes around!

How To Study Effectively: Techniques For Acing Your Exams And Papers

When it comes to studying and becoming a straight-A student, one of the most important things to remember is that you don’t need to learn everything.

Instead, you need to be smart about what you study and focus on learning only the topics relevant for acing your exams and papers.

Start by defining exactly what you need to know – think about which details are essential for succeeding in your studies.

Ask yourself questions such as: What topics will my exam focus on? Do I have to know exact dates and names? How much do I have to understand complex theories?

Once you’ve figured out the answers, then concentrate intensely on them.

Try putting the subject matter into your own words or write yourself a little test based on your notes and see if you can answer them correctly.

If not, go back and review until you get a good hang of it.

This way, when test day comes around there won’t be any surprises since you already have all the necessary information under control.

Investing in “academic disaster insurance” is ultimately what’ll set you up for success as a well-prepared student!

Use These Tips To Ace Your Next Test Or Research Paper

Research Paper

If you want to score high in your exams, there’s a technique that you must use: The Three Ps.

This method consists of planning, proceeding and proofreading – three essential steps to achieve top grades.

When your exam is placed in front of you, don’t start straight away.

Instead, take a few minutes to plan how you’ll tackle the questions.

Use time management techniques to estimate the time required for each activity and assign this time accordingly.

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to start answering the questions on the paper.

Begin with the easy questions first and work up towards the harder ones as they become more difficult.

Don’t try to force yourself by beginning with tough questions – doing this will only put unnecessary pressure on yourself leading which won’t result in any positive outcome.

Finally, once all answers are complete its important to use the final ten minute safety buffer to proofread your work thoroughly.

This gives you an opportunity to spot any errors or mistakes that might cost valuable marks on your exam paper.

By using The Three Ps method – Planning before starting, Proceeding by doing easy questions first and Proofreading at the very end – you’ll be sure to nearly guarantee success with your exam results!

Start Writing An Excellent Paper By Finding A Topic That Truly Interests You

If you want to write an excellent paper, finding a topic that interests and excites you is an essential step.

You don’t want to waste your time trying to find something on the subject that holds your attention.

You should look out for your topic or concept while in class, while reading textbooks, and even when researching – don’t wait until you actually have the assignment!

Professors can also be really helpful when it comes to narrowing down and finding great subjects.

Just ask for their advice!

Once you have decided on a topic, it’s time to do some deeper digging and research so that you can develop a specific thesis statement.

Use sources with broad overviews of the subject at hand, then take a look at their bibliographies for further leads.

Once you start reading more specialized books about the topic, chances are you’ll discover an interesting argument or question that you’d like to examine more closely – this will become your thesis.

And having figured out an amazing thesis topic that excites your resources and motivation dramatically improves when it comes to researching and writing your paper – both will become easier and much more enjoyable.

Stop Getting Lost In Research: Learn To Research Effectively

Finding sufficient material for your paper is essential, but can be a tricky task.

You want to make sure you’ve done enough research to write a convincing paper, but not so much that you end up overwhelmed and in a research recursion loop.

That’s why exhaustive but strictly limited research is key when it comes to completing your paper for the best results.

To approach this effectively, start by breaking down your topic into specific categories (e.g.

Tea Party ideology, US politics in the Middle East) and then researching each category separately and in depth.

Collect only necessary materials and nothing extra; no need overloading yourself with information!

As you collect sources, make sure to print or photocopy all relevant pages–this will provide access to resources at all times which helps maintain focus on the writing process rather than redundant research efforts.

The most important step is to know when it’s time to stop researching–the point of diminishing returns– otherwise known as knowing where your cut-off is.

Having at least two good sources per topic that defines your thesis argument followed by one good source for topics that are just supportive of the thesis is typically enough material for an adequate paper.

If you have those two things covered, it’s time to put away the textbooks and start putting words on page!

Finding Creativity And Inspiration To Support Your Argument: A Step-By-Step Guide

Finding Creativity

If you want your paper to be worth the paper it’s printed on, telling an intriguing story is essential.

And in order to develop creative and convincing arguments, you have to actively seek out inspiration.

Reading interesting articles, watching documentaries or just discussing your topic with professors and peers can help you develop that inspiration.

Once that happens, go back to your sources and see if any exciting new connections pop up.

Then take a break – take a nap, do the dishes or something else to distract yourself – so that your subconscious mind can assemble the pieces based on what you’ve researched.

Once the thoughts are formulated in your head, it’s time to put them into action by creating a structure out of them.

This should include details and quotes backing up each point argument but maintaining a balance between being too sparse or overly bloated with sub points numbered with Roman numerals.

This will allow for creative writing within a strong foundation.

It’S Time To Put Pen To Paper – Follow Your Plan And Enjoy The Rewards Of Your Hard Work

Once you’ve done your research and have your essay structure ready, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to writing.

Remember: The purpose of this stage isn’t to demonstrate your skills as a writer but simply to communicate the well-developed ideas that you have in mind.

To ensure quality work, set yourself up in a distraction-free environment – either at the library or the local coffee shop – and stick to your plan; no extra research or editing during this stage.

By doing this, you avoid getting overwhelmed by tasks or doing unnecessary work.

After you’re done, review it thoroughly: First pass through for major structural flaws, like connective sentences or clarification of complex material; second pass for minor editing errors; third pass for any grammar mistakes that may have slipped through the cracks before you finally print out your paper and hand it in!

The final result will be amazing: A clear, structured essay on a subject that you know inside-out, with an impressive level of confidence and skill in communication!

Congratulations on submitting an A+ paper worthy of many points!

Wrap Up

The key takeaway when it comes to becoming a straight-A student is that effective and successful studying isn’t about how much time you spend on it, but rather the intensity and efficiency with which you do it.

By applying cutting edge time management, exam-taking and paper-writing techniques, you can score higher grades while investing less time into studying.

To make sure that you’re achieving your goals, track progress with a work progress journal.

This will help you understand not just one instance of procrastinating, but all the times over the course of weeks, months or even years to make sure your reasons are valid and timely.

Additionally, study in short bursts with an hour or less at a time; this ensures that you remain focused and motivated to get more done in less time.

Following these steps will give shape to your academic success like never before!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.