Review: Study is Hard Work

Study is Hard Work by William H. Armstron

study

“Before the gates of excellence, the high gods have placed sweat.”

This is an old-school book on how to study. Armstrong starts in general with cultivating a desire to learn, becoming a better listener, and time management. He then goes into detail covering how to get more from reading assignments, increasing vocabulary, systematizing the material in your mind, how to use a library, how to write papers, learn foreign languages, study mathematics, science, history and take tests.

The book is filled with great quotes at the head of each chapter. The introduction is lead by “Before the gates of excellence, the high gods have placed sweat.” (Hesiod).

There is no “new technique” given here for “today’s students.” He is old-school and over and over again explains how it takes effort to get anything out of your classes. The book is helpful in reorienting a student’s mindset from “what do I have to do to pacify my teacher and pass this class?” to “how can I most effectively make use of the great favor my teacher is doing me, and increase my knowledge and understanding?”

He does lay out good systems for studying, and explains why other systems are ineffective. For example, first survey a chapter so you have an idea what you’re going to encounter, instead of plunging right in. The short amount of time up front will save you much more later.

I had never thought of hand-written work as an opportunity to display excellence in the very aesthetic appearance of your writing, not just the content. This was enlightening, though of somewhat limited value in the days of word processors.

Much of this is elementary. It would be excellent for a student entering high school, and to review again their junior year. I would hope one would have the ability to tackle How to Read a Book before entering college.

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