1.08.2012

How to Study Like a Tiger Cub

I’m publishing this over break, while I still feel qualified to give advice before my soul is crushed by new classes. This is the first in a series of posts I’m working on, which will take the form “How to _____ Like a Tiger Cub.” My mom’s book is not a how-to guide. This is. I’d like to stress the following:  there is no good reason you should do anything the way I do. This isn't necessarily the right way; it's my way. But if you so choose, ask in the comments and ye shall receive my advice. Today, I give you:

HOW TO STUDY LIKE A TIGER CUB

Q:  I was just wondering if you could share some studying tips? 
Like how to study smart or more efficiently?

Preliminary Steps

1. Choose classes that interest you. That way studying doesn’t feel like slave labor. If you don’t want to learn, then I can’t help you.
2. Make some friends. See steps 12, 13, 23, 24.

General Principles

3. Study less, but study better.
4. Avoid Autopilot Brain at all costs.
5. Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
6. Write it down.
7. Suck it up, buckle down, get it done.

Plan of Attack Phase I: Class

8. Show up. Everything will make a lot more sense that way, and you will save yourself a lot of time in the long run.
9. Take notes by hand. I don’t know the science behind it, but doing anything by hand is a way of carving it into your memory. Also, if you get bored you will doodle, which is still a thousand times better than ending up on stumbleupon or something.

Phase II: Study Time

10. Get out of the library. The sheer fact of being in a library doesn’t fill you with knowledge. Eight hours of Facebooking in the library is still eight hours of Facebooking. Also, people who bring food and blankets to the library and just stay there during finals week start to smell weird. Go home and bathe. You can quiz yourself while you wash your hair.
11. Do a little every day, but don’t let it be your whole day. “This afternoon, I will read a chapter of something and do half a problem set. Then, I will watch an episode of South Park and go to the gym” ALWAYS BEATS “Starting right now, I am going to read as much as I possibly can...oh wow, now it’s midnight, I’m on page five, and my room reeks of ramen and dysfunction.”
12. Give yourself incentive. There’s nothing worse than a gaping abyss of study time. If you know you’re going out in six hours, you’re more likely to get something done.
13. Allow friends to confiscate your phone when they catch you playing Angry Birds. Oh and if you think you need a break, you probably don't.

Phase III: Assignments

14. Stop highlighting. Underlining is supposed to keep you focused, but it’s actually a one-way ticket to Autopilot Brain. You zone out, look down, and suddenly you have five pages of neon green that you don’t remember reading. Write notes in the margins instead.
15. Do all your own work. You get nothing out of copying a problem set. It’s also shady.
16. Read as much as you can. No way around it. Stop trying to cheat with Sparknotes.
17. Be a smart reader, not a robot (lol). Ask yourself: What is the author trying to prove? What is the logical progression of the argument? You can usually answer these questions by reading the introduction and conclusion of every chapter. Then, pick any two examples/anecdotes and commit them to memory (write them down). They will help you reconstruct the author’s argument later on.
18. Don’t read everything, but understand everything that you read. Better to have a deep understanding of a limited amount of material, than to have a vague understanding of an entire course. Once again: Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
19. Bullet points. For essays, summarizing, everything.

Phase IV: Reading Period (Review Week)

20. Once again: do not move into the library. Eat, sleep, and bathe.
21. If you don’t understand it, it will definitely be on the exam. Solution: textbooks; the internet.
22. Do all the practice problems. This one is totally tiger mom.
23. People are often contemptuous of rote learning. Newsflash: even at great intellectual bastions like Harvard, you will be required to memorize formulas, names and dates. To memorize effectively: stop reading your list over and over again. It doesn’t work. Say it out loud, write it down. Remember how you made friends? Have them quiz you, then return the favor.
24. Again with the friends: ask them to listen while you explain a difficult concept to them. This forces you to articulate your understanding. Remember, vague is bad.
25. Go for the big picture. Try to figure out where a specific concept fits into the course as a whole. This will help you tap into Big Themes – every class has Big Themes – which will streamline what you need to know. You can learn a million facts, but until you understand how they fit together, you’re missing the point.

Phase V: Exam Day


26. Crush exam. Get A.

Edit: Yes, feel free to share this with anyone you like!
Let me know what you think. If you have a request for the blank in "How to ____ Like a Tiger Cub," leave a comment and I'll do my best!

156 comments:

  1. Great advice. One thing I would add: draw pictures or diagrams if it helps you memorize something. I teach kids with dyslexia, since they cannot rely on reading a textbook, drawings help a lot.

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  2. Speaking from experience, I agree on the importance bathing. My peers haven't grasped that concept yet.

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  3. Hi Sophia,

    I just finished reading your list of tips and I must congratulate you on formulating a very good one. I happened to be taking a break from my GRE studying, got to Twitter, and saw your link to this and went, "Dude! She's giving some of the same tips that they are in my Princeton Review guide! What major fabulosity!"

    Good going, chica! I hope your 2012 is starting off very well. I'm trying to balance fun and studying for the GRE. Ooh, must work on those grad school applications, too. Ack :-( I hope you're taking great classes this semester!

    XOXO,
    Hester

    PS--I could never understand people who live in the library. I think last winter I went to the Science Library over the weekend to study and ugh, it reeked! Foul food aromas everywhere; they don't take out the trash on the weekends :-(

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  4. HOW TO PARTY LIKE A TIGER CUB.

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  5. The library is so cliche. I migrate to different quite places once in a while to get some exercise and some fresh air. #winning

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  6. YES! Agree on everything. I'm a Study Skills peer advisor at my college and this is a succinct and clear summary of everything we try to get students to understand. Would you be okay with me printing this out and hanging it somewhere for students to see? I've been trying to figure out a way to nicely communicate to students the "suck it up" part.

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  7. love this list -- will share with my students. one thing to add on 21: if you don't understand something, go to the Professor's office hours. We like helping you, even if we sometimes appear scary. But, relatedly, don't just come to office hours during Review Week -- come to us whenever you have a question. Email is OK, but office hours are 10 times better.

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  8. "Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time." Most important instruction I'll be taking away from this post. Thanks!

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  9. Wow, this is such GREAT advice!!! You really do have your own identity outside of tiger mom, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But you do take after your parents in terms of teaching skills- I feel like you would make a wonderful professor. :)

    Yah, I used to just read my list of things to know over and over again and wonder why I would forget things on exam day. But saying things out loud and writing things down seem like great strategies.

    Hahaha and maybe you should publish a book with chapters on, “How to _____ Like a Tiger Cub.” I feel like it would become a bestseller overnight. ;)

    Aww, and I hope you take classes you really love as well so that your soul isn't crushed!

    I hope to hear about your new spring semester adventures!
    love from your fan,
    Gloria

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  10. I love it. Great post. These are really helpful tips. Lol about the library.

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  11. How to dress like a tiger cub! (I love your style!)

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  12. Hey Sophia!
    You should do some sort of how to post on piano.

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  13. How to be a sister like a tiger cub! =)

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  14. How to get into Harvard like a tiger cub!

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  15. This is awesome!! Do a "How to manage time like a tiger cub"

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  16. How to be a big sister like tiger cub?

    Again, please tell me the full address to send a letter when I'm from foreign country. Thank you.

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  17. "How to take notes like a tiger cub" any specific code system that you use?

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  18. This is SO smart: "pick any two examples/anecdotes and commit them to memory (write them down). They will help you reconstruct the author’s argument later on." Will definitely keep that in mind :)

    I don't want to burden you with more requests since you've received so many requests already, but since you're such a great writer (your Romeo and Juliet piece in your mom's book was actually my favorite part!), could you please do a "How to Write a Personal Statement Like a Tiger Cub" and "How to Write Papers/Essays like a Tiger Cub"?

    xoxo

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  19. support, support !
    A great guide for me, a subpar college student.
    And thanks the above posters who share their tips too.

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  20. How to dress like a tiger cub

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  21. Great advice... These are almost the exact words from my mom's lectures during my school days. She is also a tiger mom that eventually got tired of this tiger cub. LOL

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  22. I'll second/third "How to Party Like a Tiger Cub" (sorry if that's too awkward/personal, but considering some of the questions you get on here I figure there's no harm in asking), "How to Be a Sister Like a Tiger Cub", and "How to Dress Like a Tiger Cub".

    Thanks for the new post! Good luck with the upcoming semester. :)

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  23. how to socialize like a tiger cub :)

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  24. I second anonymous-who with the "How to party like a tiger cub" lol

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  25. What social life?

    Hehe I kid.

    I completely "ditto" this list. Took words straight from my heart, except better. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. Just in time for exam week.

    Hmmm... how to take chemistry like a tiger cub. I need every bit of help I can get.

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  27. How to eat like a tiger cub!
    Fav places around Boston and New Haven?

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  28. how to blog like a tiger cub (i really need advice on this, my blog is terrible)

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  29. thank you so much for your tips!

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  30. How to travel like a tiger cub.

    Hi Sophia. I've read your mum's book (twice) and I know you've been all over the world. I think giving tips on how to travel would make a great blog post. Could you give insights on how you prepare for a museum or archaeological site visit and how you choose the places you go to? What publications do you follow?

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  31. how to work out like a tiger cub!

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  32. & thank you for sharing! <3

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  33. Yes, I would like to know how to practice the piano like a tiger cub.

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  34. YESSS. I agree on above comments.

    How to travel like a tiger cub (tell us stories about your most unforgettable trips. any weird travel experience? pictures would be great too. teehee.)

    How to dress like a tiger cub

    How to be a big sister like a tiger cub


    Yay for more frequent postings. For now at least. Lol. I get pumped up every time I see a new post.

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  35. how to relax like a tiger cub!

    I really enjoy reading your blog :-)

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  36. Hallelujah! I’ve been hanging out for a post like this.

    I often wonder how you managed to achieve so much in life, and are so successful. I know from reading your mum’s book that you’re focused and put in lots of hours. Now you’ve just answered my question – in detail. I like how you provided the statement “there is no good reason you should do anything the way I do” You are successful, and lots of people want to know how you did it. However, the way you did it may not be the best approach for everyone.

    My favourite is “Suck it up, buckle down, get it done”. Agreed. Very succinct.

    I second the person above, I’m interested tiger-cub’s advice on time management. Although I’m no longer a student any more, but as a busy working young professional, I struggle with time management as and wish I could be more effective and focused with my tasks. I’ve always been curious about how you’ve managed to fit everything into your day – how you come home from school, spend 2-6 hours a day playing piano, do enough hours of homework/study to get As, fit in time for a run/gym/excercise, and still have time to tutor esol, build glass houses, spend time with your boyfriend, socialise with your room mates. Man, if I did all of that, I’d be in bed at 4am every morning trying to fit it all in. How do you do it?

    I’d like to know what you do in your spare time (do you have spare time?). Oh, that’s right, you build glass houses and volunteer ESOL lessons, you read lots and enjoy Lord of the Rings. Can you give us an outline of “a typical day in the life of tiger cub”?

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  37. Great how-to! Sounds like a great series of future blogging topics for you.

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  38. Thanks, Sophia! I love how your study tips are so specific and realistic - much more useful than a lot of published guides I've seen :) I'm particularly a fan of number 11 - i'm a firm believer in setting realistic work goals!

    I love all the suggestions people have posted already. Maybe "how to read for fun like a tiger cub"? How do you incorporating reading into your busy academic and social life? I always find it difficult to find time for reading when I'm at uni.

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  39. I second the how to travel request!

    Great tips btw!

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  40. *smiles*

    I agree with those study tips.

    I have also learned that the average time one can concentrate is only for about 45 minutes.
    So, I find that after about 45 minutes... I get up, get a glass of water, and then maybe move where I am studying. Trick myself into doing another REFRESHED 45 minutes.

    But, then again, I haven't been a student for about 3 years now.

    Good For you Kid.

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  41. How to study Math & Science?????
    Please help!!!!!!!!!!

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  42. How to Write Papers/Essays like a Tiger Cub

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  43. Thank you for sharing the much needed advice. Just started my first semester in college, and bah...frankly speaking, I am not doing so well, or at least I am not doing as well as I can be. So, winter break is coming up (well, at least for us in Taiwan) am hoping to take a break to sort things out and do better next semester by putting your wisdom into action. Roaarrr!

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  44. Awesome I needed to read that!

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  45. I propose: How to Take Failure in Stride as a Tiger Cub.

    Because achievement always involves making mistakes along the way and experiencing setbacks and bumping up against your own limitations (that you didn't realize existed before because you'd always been summa cum laude or something). And I think accepting failure with grace is especially important for us perfectionist Tiger Cubs raised by perfectionist parents. The desire to really push oneself and be perfect is a great motivator, but it can also be paralyzing when we fall short of our own expectations. Dealing with this disappointment is an essential skill on the road to long-term success.

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  46. Why did you insist on people calling you the "tiger cub" in an earlier post, yet your own website declares you the "daughter of the tiger mother"? Double-standard, much?

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  47. http://isawyouharvard.com/post.php?id=17251
    How to Party Like a Tiger Cub? :D

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  48. Dear Sophia,

    I hope you'd read my comment too, Im thrilled to know this and to read your blog, very impressive like yourself.
    My question(s) : How do you discipline yourself be it may academics or any other activity because one tends to wonder-off get distracted, fall to temptations and not focus!?

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  49. how to ge to know new people at college like a tiger cub

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  50. oh my gosh, you were having fun with a younger boy?! nahh, that doesn't sound like you xP

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  51. @Anon at 1:25PM: I think it's because Sophia created this blog not long after her mother's book came out and became famous/world-renowned, and she was initially known to the public as the elder daughter of the Tiger Mother. But a year later, she is clearly known to the world as much more than just the Tiger Mother's daughter (which isn't a bad thing to begin with since her mom is awesome and made the 100 Most Influential Thinkers list) with her tweets, blog, interviews, grad speech videos, and all, and she probably prefers to be called Tiger Cub because that sounds cuter and snazzier and also because she has an identity outside of the mistaken perception that she simply does whatever her mom tells her to.

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  52. how to cook/eat like a tiger cub (any tips on eating efficiently and healthily)?

    also, how to resist peer pressure like a tiger cub!

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  53. for ppl who asked about how to study math or science, i think sophia covered that really well in this post actually.. like doing all the practice problems, writing notes in the margins, how to memorize formulas efficiently, etc. etc. i think her method of studying applies perfectly to any subject you study.

    I actually had more of a question on techniques/strategies you use on Exam Day. Like for some reason, even if I have prepared well, I have a lot of anxiety problems on test day that make me unable to think as clearly especially on time-constrained exams. Are there any specific routines you follow on test day to ease the nerves and to ensure that you do your best? like do you get up early to review your notes the hour before if the test is in the morning, drink tea or coffee, take deep breaths, anything like that? thx so much!! :)

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  54. hahaha to anonymous @ 1:29:

    sorry, must have been another half-Asian spotted in San Fran! i was in connecticut. with my SAME AGED boyfriend :)

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  55. Really great advice! My problem is though, that I do love the subjects I've chosen (so learning shouldn't be a problem) but it's sooo difficult to stop procrastinating. How do you control it?

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  56. This is really helpful.I will share this with my kids and the students that I teach in a Masters program. There is something that stirs the brain to remember a fact or detail when you write notes by hand. Tiger on!!

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  57. These tips are really helpful. I will share them with my kids and the students in the Masters program I teach.

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  58. How to DRESS like a Tiger Cub. You are VERY fashionable Sophia, know it, love it, embrace it, TEACH IT to others who have your AMAZING GOD-GIVEN talent. You rock.

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  59. Sophia, you literally rock my socks. This post was so lovely. I actually shared it with the counselors at my school, because I go to a college prep high school where finals week is even more of a chaotic stress filled, tears spilled week than what I imagine doomsday will be, and some kids in my school really need this. They loved it, and it is now happily hanging in the hallways of my high school! Just thought you would get a kick out of that. :)

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  60. Sophia, your study tips hit the mark. Well done! I could have used these tips during undergrad and med school. I'll pass your tips on to my own cubs.

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  61. I'm a piano teacher. If you wrote "how to practice like a tiger cub," and if that post were as good as this one, I'd be one happy lady!

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  62. Hi Sophia! This is wonderfully humorous and helpful, but having such efficient and effective study skills as a tiger cub takes time to make a habit! I am wondering how you managed to crunch in all your extracurriculars with your schoolwork under a demanding schedule. Do you mind posting a "How to Master Time Management Like a Tiger Cub"?

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  63. How to PRACTICE PIANO like a tiger cub

    Believe me, it's relevant to a lot of your blog followers!
    Do you play 2 hours in the morning, then 2 at night?
    Do you do scales before you start the pieces?
    Do you attend annual piano competitions?

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  64. How to Keep Fit Like a Tiger Cub

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  65. Your tips are AMAZING. I'll keep this in mind (except right now instead of reading this I should be doing homework...!)

    Also, I second/third/whatever everyone else--you should do a blog post about how you dress, how you practice piano, etc. since that would be really interesting and helpful! Thanks :)

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  66. This is awesome.
    I'm in 8th grade. Any tips for high school and college stuff?
    By the way, I read your dad's book : The Interpretation of Murder, and it was really interesting! =D
    Yeah, and "How to practice like a tiger cub". That would be cool. I haven't touched my cello in...a month > u <

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  67. how to BE a tiger cub..I mean, come on. it takes a LOT of will power and guts to be able to put up with what you did

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  68. "Also, if you get bored you will doodle, which is still a thousand times better than ending up on stumbleupon or something."
    OMG! How did you know?

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  69. When doing readings and research for a project, at the beginning it can seem like every book or author's approach is interesting and potentially useful later on, and often I tend to spend too much time researching and not enough time constructing my projects.
    Do you have the same problem, and how do you tackle it to make sure you're on track and effective with the task at hand? What criteria do you use to help you prioritize one task over another?

    thanks!

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  70. how to practise piano like a tiger cub!

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  71. how to write a speach like a tiger cub

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  72. Couldn't have said it better myself! If I may add two other words of advice:

    1. Will power is everything.

    2. Pictures, diagrams, charts and "cheat sheets" with key words/concepts/formulas also help. Stick them to places like the fridge, bathroom mirror or right above your bed. Take 5-10min to read them out loud every day. After a few days, it'll honestly be superglued to the back of your brain.

    If it helped me get 3 degrees and 1 professional qualification from 4 top European unis in 6 years...then anyone can do it! =)

    Excellent post!

    From a fellow tiger cub, Kathrin Yang

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  73. And I was thinking only an A+ would be acceptable ;)

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  74. This was actually extremely helpful! Thank you :)
    I would suggest posting a "How to deal with failure like a tiger cub".
    Cheers from Portugal!

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    1. Yeah that would be really interesting....especially based on an honest anecdotal account of the worst perceived failure.

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  75. This post is just amazing! I am a college student with a lack of willpower to stop procrastinating and an extremely easily distracted mind.

    I especially wholeheartedly agree the following lines from experience:

    #7. Suck it up, buckle down, get it done.
    #4. Avoid Autopilot Brain at all costs.
    #5. Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.

    and #23. Memorize (the stuff you gotta know)


    For future how-to suggestions, I'd like to request how to READ like you, since effective studying kind of depends on good reading skills, and you seem to be a good reader as well. I know I had a hard time reading/understanding books without Sparknotes (which seriously saved my butt in high school), and I can imagine others might have similar problems. I assume reading a lot as a child and memorizing a lot of vocabulary should help, but I'd love to hear your take on it.

    Keep it up, and good luck with your spring semester!

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  76. can you do one on how to stay motivated like a tiger cub? or how to stay focused? Thanks! :) I love your blog!!!

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  77. This is awesome - love it!

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  78. haha, "how to write a speach like a tiger cub" ^
    makes me smile :)

    how about, how to party like a tiger club? ;)

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  79. How to get into an Ivy League school like a tiger cub...

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  80. Just a question, do you know Michelle Nguyen?? :)

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  81. You're so inspirational. I have to study now, BYE!

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  82. How to have confidence to expand my horizons, try new things, and to believe in myself like a tiger cub

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  83. how about....
    How to eat raw meat... WITH YOUR BARE HANDS like a Tiger Cub

    Just kidding. Loved the advice. :)

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  84. How to get accepted into Wellesley College from a community college LIKE a TIGER CUB.

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  85. This is all great advice! I prefer to study alone, but I use a lot of the more solitary tips when I do so.

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  86. how to diet like a tiger cub?

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  87. My (very small) tip, before you go to class, read something about the subject.
    For example, in sociology, if my teacher tells me: "next week, we'll study Axel Honneth", I'll look for an interview of him and read it.
    In high school, for maths, I used to read the next lesson's chapter in my book.
    And in class, while taking notes, enlightment is coming out of nowhere.
    From a French student in Law, whose English is awful.
    So

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  88. Please post how to practise your instrument like a tiger cub! Please! I am not a tiger cub, but I want to audition for university next year and have to compete with all those crazy kids like you! I am putting in more hours of work now but I would like how to do it better. And I would like to know if there is any way to practise at least three hours daily and get eight hours of sleep? If I do all my assigments in lunch break as I do right now? Probably not, but I feel like the only guy that has that problem...

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  89. How to Shop Like a Tiger Cub!

    Thanks so much for these ideas. I'm going to pass them along to my miserable & struggling chemistry students.

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  90. how to date like a tiger cub

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  91. how to snag a guy like a tiger cub

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  92. Hi. Great blog! I'm a fan. I had a random and irrelevant question. I notice the three of you, (you, your mom, and your sister) all use the surname Chua-Rubenfeld. Any particular reason for this? Did your mom choose to hyphenate her maiden name legally? I know some wives do that, but the kids often just take their father's name legally. Any comments? I'm just curious, because not many kids hyphenate their names before they are married.

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  93. How to Rock your HAPAness Like a Tiger Cub.
    Is it hard to balance your Asian side and your Jewish side? For instance, your cousin is part of the Chinese American Students' Association here at Yale, but put herself down as only "CAUCASIAN" on her college app. Do you find it difficult to identify with both sides?

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    1. Yeah, I'd love to hear about this too plzzzz!!!!

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  94. How to PRACTICE AND PERFORM piano LIKE A TIGER CUB

    How do you get ready for competitions??? So nerve-racking!

    HOW to GET INTO AN IVY LEAGUE LIKE A TIGER CUB

    How in the world did you get into Harvard????
    What extra curriculars did you do besides piano?????

    Love youuuuuuu, you're awesome awesome awesome

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  95. Hey! When Are you gonna do your vlog!!:D

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  96. Loved it. Lots of it I've heard/thought before, but it never hurts to hear it again and you presented it, in an amazing, funny, down-to-earth kind of way, that I adore !


    I would still love "How to manage time management like a tiger cub" or "how to manage your typical day and the time at hands like a tiger cub".

    Best wishes from Freiburg for an amazing 2012!

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  97. One thing... please don't ever complain about how "soul crushing" your classes are at your institution. Remember, 93.9% of the students who applied, especially those without a famous parent, would gladly take your place. You are so lucky. Never forget that.

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    1. ^I agree with Anonymous @03:40AM.

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    2. I agree that Sophia's very lucky, but I don't think she was complaining about how her classes suck or anything. I think "soul-crushing" may have been referring to the difficulty level of classes at Harvard--nobody can debate that, right?

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    3. I don't think it was "luck" that got Sophia into Harvard, or having famous parents. It was a factor of so many things... hard work... diligence... preseverence...

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    4. 1. Students at other Boston-area schools take their summer classes at Harvard because it's easier (shorter term and subject to grade inflation).
      2. They have 3 months and 35,000 applications... no matter how hard one worked in high school there's a certain amount of luck involved.
      It's this phenomenon that bothers me the most about selective colleges - students spend their senior years praying to get into these schools and then 6 months later won't stop complaining about the work load. No one is entitled to an Ivy League education.
      - 4.5, 2320, "hard-working," (legacy) Yale reject

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  98. "like" to 3:40's comment. You rock, Sophia, but so do lots of nineteen-year-olds who don't have your opportunities, both academically and in the public sphere. I'm sure you were just trying to be funny and self-deprecating, and you have a good deal of things that you could legitimately whine about from this past year-- but I don't think Harvard classes should be one of them.

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  99. Hi! First time poster here.:D

    How to live a meaningful life/live your passion like a tiger cub.

    Coming from a predominantly-Asian country where your social standing hinges on your grades, I'm interested to know how you navigate the dichotomy between living your passion (if you've found yours) and ensuring that your bank account is still substantial (as well as living up to parents' expectations).

    Just interested coz I've just stepped into working society and am still feeling lost, haha..

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    1. i second How to live a meaningful life/live your passion like a tiger cub

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  100. Shocking as it might sound, Harvard is an upscale brand - plain and simple. You pay around $220 grand, work your butt off studying/learning stuff that's more or less worthless, find your niche, jump on the rote memorization train and receive a diploma in 4 yrs. Yes, it's the most difficult university as far as undergrad acceptance is concerned, but tell a hardnosed VP during an interview that and you'll be dismissed before the handshake. In other words, college is what you make of it, and no one, certainly not a Harvard frosh, has the formula for success. Sophia, your ideas are good and perhaps helpful to a few confidence deprived teens or uninspired students. Come back in 6-12 years and then try to tell us how you always had that cat in that bag and how a lifetime of academic perfection translated to perfection in your career and your personal life. Bet ya can't. Harvard's great if you make the most of it, but so are thousands of OTHER college and universities.

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    1. "studying/learning stuff that's more or less worthless" ...
      yea, Harvard is for intellectuals... do you even like learning?

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    2. perfection in career or personal life? there is no such thing as a "perfect" career or a "perfect" personal life.. only non-intellectuals such as yourself would think such a thing. sophia's clearly going to be successful in whatever field she's passionate about or ends up being drawn to (life is an adventurous journey), and she already has strategies at this young age (as shown in this post) that are very wise and that work.

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    3. how do you know that only confidence deprived teens or uninspired students read this blog? a lot of people were really interested and invested in this parenting debate. the president of the french republic could be reading and becoming super impressed for all you know.

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    4. Sounds like someone who got rejected...

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    5. "$220 grand"
      ...
      Get your facts straight, buddy. It's not that high, EVEN if you don't factor in financial aid. Simple math...

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  101. Reading this as a 17 year old a level student from
    London and just wanna say I love your blog (and your mum!) Thanks for the advice and my 'how to' is sorta a how to manage stress/pressure of an ivy league college. I've found myself having second thoughts about applying to Oxford university as I am a very intense studied and don't know how I would cope with the pressure, any tips?

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  102. I think it was an ok comment to make. She was being jokey, besides she is obviously working hard and embracing her opportunities, as well as sharing a genuine interest in her subjects. Making a flippant remark that a Harvard class is 'soul crushing' is fair enough. Geez, can't get away with anything online...

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    1. Agreed completely. It's just a joke. Sophia, your humor is refreshing :) And besides, any given college student would say that about their classes, regardless of what school she attends.

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    2. How to Choose Books Like a Tiger Cub! This could also double as a post in which you divulge some more good books you've read in the past!

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    3. @ 3:46 I'm a college student, and I wouldn't say that. I mean, I totally think that Sophia was just trying to make a joke and that she actually is quite grateful and enjoys Harvard and all of that, but just-- try not to throw "any" around too easily. Regardless, I really don't think that the "soul is crushed" sentence is such a big deal. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this conversation is just between people who interpret "flippant" as careless and people who interpret "flippant" as carefree and funny, though both camps can see from everything else she's written that Sophia's intent was not to offend. I personally think she might feel a bit self-conscious about giving advice and going to a school as prestigious as Harvard, so she might have wanted to throw a little something in there to mention that everything's not all easy and perfect for her, so that it wouldn't seem like bragging. I guess it worked for some people and didn't for others, but it's no big deal either way.

      *I wrote that careless/carefree sentence and then realized that I'd read the same juxtaposition somewhere before... how funny. Tell your mom I'm not trying to plagiarize. :)

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    4. your latest tweet made me laugh. my take: i also cringed upon reading it, but we all make mistakes. (i'm 5:15 above and 7:20 a couple days ago on the same topic, btw. so far i haven't been able to figure out a way to not be "anonymous" without creating a blog myself)

      okay now i'm really going to stop posting about this. enough is enough. off to study :)

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    5. hahaha yeah I thought you meant you would like to throw poison darts at internet trolls' faces because they make you angry. :)
      but i'm glad to know that that's not what you meant! i was also confused about your tweet about ppl laughing at you instead of with you. i thought your groin tweet was sooooo funny!! :D

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    6. ahhhh i say things i don't mean or say embarrassing things all the time without thinking first and then end up biting my tongue =/ lol. posting things is not as bad as saying embarrasing things i think :)

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  103. Umm, I think it's clear that Sophia is making the most out of Harvard, both academically and socially. I actually really approve of the way that her mother has a hands-off approach to her college age daughter and lets her make her own choices and decisions. I'm sure that Sophia will excel above and beyond in whatever field she is passionate about whether that is anthropology, physics, or theatre (and in academics overall since she is well-rounded) and make great strides/advances in that field because she applies herself (while also being "normal" and fun at the same time). And it is a matter of fact that Harvard degrees are recognized in the workforce much more than degrees at other institutions, but Sophia's Harvard degree will have been richly deserved. They are recognized (and favored) when applying to PhD programs in any field, in applying to prestigious jobs that are difficult to obtain right out of college like working at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and one is more likely to become a tenured distinguished professor, the Dean of Humanities, etc. etc. with a Harvard degree. Of course this is assuming that Sophia will do well at Harvard, which she clearly is. Lastly, she's not saying that this post is a formula for success. Look at what she underlined and made bold: there is no good reason you should do anything the way I do. She is simply offering study strategies that she uses herself since she does get good grades and so many people in the comments section ask about her study strategies, time management skills, etc. etc.

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  104. I just wanted to tell you, that I also have a "tiger mom". I love her so much and she just wants me to do my best. Everything that you say your mom does, my mom also does. :)

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  105. lol, how about: how to deal with internet trolls like a tiger cub?

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  106. Please write more study aids! These tips are great, share more of your study tips/ secrets with us ;) Best of luck to you at Harvard!

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  107. HOW TO PRACTICE PIANO LIKE A TIGER CUB...please!!!

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  108. How to Time Manage Like a Tiger Cub!

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  109. HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS LIKE A TIGER CUB

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  110. Hey Sophia, do you find it effective to change studying locations as well? I find that often, I end up feeling less efficient every time I stay in one study place consistently and have to move to a different part of the house...do you think it's just me, or is this kinda true for you too?

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  111. Come on, everyone. Sophia already wrote "How To Party Like A Tiger Cub". You just read it above.

    Just kidding, of course. I loved your mom's book, your "Conquering Juliet" essay, and this study guide. You and your family are terrific.

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  112. 'How To Dougie Like A Tiger Cub'? LOL JK! Maybe 'How To Balance Between Social Life, School and Sleep Like A Tiger Cub'?

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  113. how to practice music like a tiger cub... ugh i hate practicing, i know it has to be done, but every time i sit down, i feel like i have wasted a lot of my time :(

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  114. @your latest tweet: oh my gawwwddd, I want to marry you sooooo badly!!! Are you accepting blind dates? ;) haha, jk jk. anyway, i hope you get to go to nyc and have fun too! (i'd love to comment on your tweets, but i think that'd require me to make a twitter and i prefer to follow awesome tweeters like you and not make one myself xD)

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  115. How to be a tiger cub!

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  116. Chalk another request up for "How to Practice Like a Tiger Cub!"

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  117. ONLY A? WHY NOT A+? THERE 3 EXTRA CREDIT POINT AND YOU DON'T GET SINGLE ONE?
    I keed. I keed

    Maybe how to keep organized like a tiger cub? Combat stress/information overload like a tiger cub? Learn languages like a tiger cub? Deal with annoying/rude/unfair teachers like a tiger cub?

    P.S. I love your blog! :D

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    1. Second the learning languages like a tiger cub. Particularly since I'm also learning an Asian language kekekeke.

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  118. How to deaddict yourself from something like a tiger cub. E.g. facebook (and the internet in general), and chocolate. Looking at funny cat videos and eating a chocolate both will make you instantly feel better but are bad for you in the long run. Or maybe, how to focus like a tiger club. How to do stuff efficiently like a tiger cub.

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  119. "How to Practice Like a Tiger Cub!" and "How to manage your time and still have fun like a Tiger Cub!" for sure. :)

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  120. How to Practice Piano like a tiger cub! Thanks, Sophia; this is a great article. I, too, am a college freshman, and these tips are great. Especially "suck it up, buckle down, get it done."

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  121. I 2nd the "How to Practice like a Tiger Cub"!

    And these tips were a great reminder! I really agree with #12, I get so much more done when I have 6 places to be later in the day, instead of just a huge block of free time.

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  122. Amazingly good advice that will help a great many students. I'm an instructor at a community college and I am totally sharing this with my class. We are doing a process paper next, so perfect timing! Thank you Tiger Cub!

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    1. Hi Sophia! Thank you for keeping this blog! I am an eighteen-year-old high school senior. I wanted to ask you: how many hours a day did you study when you were in high school?

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  123. This is awesome!!
    How I wish I had read this post before I took my IBDP examination last November.
    This method seems really effective - intense but there is still element of fun here and there. In my opinion, it is more like hybrid method where Asian and American ways are both implemented. I said Asian because "cramming" and "do-all-practices" methods are there whereas American as understanding the things you learn is way better than mere memorizing (fyi, Chinese people here in SEA really stick to 110% of memory work).
    Really looking forward to try implement this stuff for my University days and I believe I gonna rock. HAHA.
    Million thanks, tiger cub!! I'm totally a fan of yours now :P
    I just wonder whether you can do "How to Practice music instrument like a Tiger Cub"

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  124. I love love love this post! I love this news theme of "how to ___ like a tiger cub"! I love the Q&A posts too, but this is a theme that's fun, creative, and vastly informational too! Can't wait for the next one!

    ps. As someone who did not go to Harvard, would you mind posting some pics of the Harvard campus?

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  125. How to calm down in Mom uproars!

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  126. How to practise piano!

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  127. How to manage your time
    how to motivate yourself for studing
    HOw to get into Harvard(ivy Leageu)
    Do you calim that we shouldn't study in library at all, or just that we shouldn't be all day long in library and that we should switch places for studing?


    Your places for studing recommendation...

    How many ours a day did you study?

    Sorry fro my broken English:)


    Cheers

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  128. How to practice piano like a tiger cub. Tips on how to learn and memorize quickly and efficiently. (for all levels, including advanced/ARCT)

    This article is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks for sharing.

    Big fan of your mom's book.

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  129. Could you please do some blog post on "How to Make Study Notes Like A Tiger Cub"? I just want to know what your methods are and how I could improve on mine.

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  130. I have one more suggestion for a future "How to _______ Like A Tiger Cub" post: How to CONCENTRATE Like A Tiger Cub.

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  131. Typical day for a tiger cub?

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  132. Your advice is very short and sweet! Thanks!

    Do you have any advice on how to enjoy my studies? It is a great struggle for me, even though I am already at university. (Every time I do anything academic, I have the nagging feeling that I am wasting my time by not contributing to society. I have no idea know why I feel this way.)

    My suggestions would be: 'How to enjoy studying/working like a Tiger Cub' and 'How to be self-disciplined like a Tiger Cub'. Thank you!

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  133. Great advice.

    Although I tend to trip up trying to do all the problem sets. Someone once said that engineering is like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose: you just have to try your best. Now I try to prioritize - do most of the problems for the one class I'm worried about, and do one or two problems for each of the others.

    However I'd be the first to admit that my study skills aren't the best. They're getting a lot better, but it's a process. I have a friend who has seemed to disappear off the face of the planet except in class, who's always in his room studying, and I think he's worked his way up to this level. I think being able to study that intensely for 4 months straight is like being able to do the plank for 10 minutes or something.

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  134. how to prepare for the SAT like a tiger cub :)

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  135. How to follow piano sort of a cub. recommendations on the way to learn and memorise quickly and with efficiency.

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