How to Win at College

The author, Cal Newport, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College and, luckily, is willing to share his tips on how to succeed.  Besides his own experience, 413f7e-ecul_sl160_.jpghe interviewed top students at prestigious colleges and universities across the U.S. and has collated, simplified, and shared their best advice. 

The book is organized into seventy-five maxims that Cal Newport suggests will help any student achieve good grades while increasing efficiency enough that they can also enjoy themselves at school.  I disagreed with a few (#1 – Don’t Do All of Your Reading) but thought he was spot on with others.  Among my personal favorites are:  #2 – Create a Sunday Ritual, #4 – Start Long-Term Projects (I’ll add papers) the Day They Are Assigned, and #65 – Don’t Take Breaks Between Classes.  One of my other favorites addresses studying, a concept that students struggle with in college as it involves so much more than the highlighting and re-reading that sufficed in high school. 

Newport refers to his approach as “Start Fast, End Slow” which is the antithesis of cramming.  Instead, he urges students to organize their materials and begin studying two weeks before an exam.  As students gain mastery of the material, they have less and less to focus on so that by the night before, they are able to learn any last-minute material, relax a bit, and get a good night’s sleep.  I recommend that students pick up this concise volume before college; there are bound to be a few tips that will help them win at high school as well. 

Sign up for Cal Newport’s blog, Study Hacks, at



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