Learn Like a Pro

Olav Schewe , Barbara Oakley

Learn Like a Pro



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Many people say that studying does not come naturally to them and that they have to work hard to commit anything to memory, but there is something that can be done: you need to apply the right learning strategies to become more effective, organised and aware. Drawing from their personal experience, Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe have packed their book Learn Like a Pro full with learning techniques and strategies, which can be adapted to many fields of study. This book explains some important concepts from neuroscience and cognitive psychology that will help you limit distractions, plan effectively, take perfect notes, and find the right motivation to become the student you have always dreamed of being.

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Analysis and key concepts


The Pomodoro Technique: concentrate intentionally and defeat procrastination


Focussed Mode and Diffuse Mode: use them alternately to promote effective learning


Active learning is key to committing information to long term memory


Sleep, sport, and nutrition as allies to effective, long term learning


Taking better notes is key to lightening the load of the working memory


Some visual and verbal memorisation techniques help us remember things better and for longer


Procedural memory helps us learn new concepts through models, practice, and intuition


How to exercise self-discipline: creating the conditions for you not to have to depend on it


Increasing motivation through values, mastery, objectives and sharing


Effective reading can help you understand and remember a text better


It's time for the exam: plan, practice and manage your time


To become an excellent student, it is important to nurture metacognition and self-assessment




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand how our brain works every time we learn something new.
  • Find new methods and techniques to experiment with to help improve your learning skills.
  • Become better at learning almost anything effectively and retain it for longer.

Olav Schewe is the founder and CEO of Educas, a start-up that develops learning strategies for students. Schewe is also an educational consultant for Kahoot!, one of the largest learning technology companies. His passion for studying comes from the struggles he experienced in trying to achieve top grades at school: thanks to the strategies he adopted, he managed to graduate from the University of Oxford with first class honours. Based on this experience, he wrote the book Super Student.

California-born Barbara Oakley is a professor of engineering at Oakland University and McMaster University. Her online courses on learning are among the most popular of their genre. In particular, her Learning how to learn course, available on the Coursera platform, is the most popular online course in the world. In 2018, Oakley won the Michigan's Distinguished Professor of the Year award; she has written articles on learning for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and is the author of several books on learning, such as Uncommon Sense Teaching, Learning how to Learn and Mindshift.

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