How to be Class President According to Genghis Khan

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8 minute read

So you’d like to learn how to become class president? Well, join me for a story of the man who was class president of his country. And he founded the country too!

Genghis Khan attended no school and didn’t get an education. He was actually a barbarian. But the man had street smarts like few people ever have. That is, if there was actually a street back when he lived.

But this guy and his ancestors got A LOT of hate after he took over the world.

The French naturalist Compte de Buffon wrote in the 18th century that Mongolian “skin has a slight dirty-yellow tinge, and is deficient in elasticity, giving the appearance of being too large for the body.”

So Genghis Khan was subject to racism. Trust me, he earned every vote of confidence he ever got. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

He also had people imitating him in all the wrong ways. Try to imagine with me a high school bully that throws you into lockers, steals your girlfriend and kisses her in front of you, and then somehow becomes friends with the principal. The bully then claims to be best friends with the class president, but doesn’t even follow him on Instagram!

how to be class president
This is Genghis Khan’s Instagram profile

This was Timur the Lame and he falsely claimed to be a descendant of GK. But the guy enjoyed torturing people, and GK never stood for that.

Then there was Matthew Paris who was alive when the sons and grandsons of GK invaded Hungary and Poland way back in 1241. Matthew called GK’s family “an immense horde of that detestable race of Satan.”

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This is a self-portrait of Matthew Paris. The man was not known as a reliable historian.

With all that hate, here’s rule number one:

If you want to be class president, you’re going to make some people mad.

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You want to do something cool in life? You want to stand for something, anything at all? You’ll eventually make some enemies.

And Genghis Khan made a lot of people mad. He was a 12th century Mongolian warlord who came from nothing and ruled over land that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Now you might be asking yourself “what does Genghis Khan have to do with becoming class president?”

Well, a lot actually. GK knew how to lead people. He wasn’t from the race of Satan, and he was actually a really healthy person. GK probably did the Keto diet before it was even a concept since he ate almost exclusively meat and dairy. Growing up on the steppe, he constantly rode horses too.

But GK was at his best when he was surrounded by smart people. When he defeated a territory, he would look for talented craftsmen, artisans, entertainers, and doctors that could share their expertise with others.

And that’s the second rule for becoming class president:

If you want to be class president, you should work on your campaign with people smarter than you.

Here’s what GK did to take over most of Asia:

GK limited the power of religion by accepting all religions. Under his empire, he accepted Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and the shamanism of his own people. At the end of the day, they were all subject to rule by GK.

If you want to be class president, be willing to accept and embrace jocks, nerds, and band geeks. Remind them they all go to the same school.

GK created wealth by spreading information. Arab doctors knew how to do surgery really good, but the Chinese understood better how to identify internal organs. GK advanced medicine by bringing them together. The Arabs were experts in astronomy in the 12th and 13th centuries, but the Chinese excelled at creating textiles. What one civilization possessed in excess, Khan would send to other territories where it was exotic, useful, and desirable.

If you want to be class president, identify people’s strengths and position them to help others who would benefit the most.

GK insisted on egalitarian behavior. When a territory was defeated, scribes would come in to fairly distribute the loot among not just the soldiers but all the people. Everyone had a stake in the success.

If you want to be class president, look for opportunities to celebrate. Throw parties and create parades. When someone succeeds, then publicly recognize them. Give others credit for group success.

GK also installed leadership with mixed backgrounds. Competing tribes, civilizations, cultures, and religions sat on the same boards to administer the governance of a territory.

If you want to be class president, find people who are talented and different from you that can get on board with your agenda.

Khan made the rules simple with high stakes treatment. Submit tribute and be part of an extended family that accords you rights and protection. Break the law and bring death to not just yourself but your family as well.

So this one’s a little much, no killing here!

If you want to be class president, make sure your core team wins together. Get little things for them like snacks and timely help. Serve their needs first, and don’t tolerate negative gossip. At all.

GK recognized that loyalty was a character trait. In taking over a newly conquered territory, he would accept the followers of his enemies as long as they hadn’t worked against the reputation of their former leader.

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In this scene from Mongol (2007), the servants of Genghis Khan’s enemy betrayed their former leader. They were promptly executed.

If you want to be class president, find out how the people that want to work with you treat others. They will do the same to you.

GK abhorred blood and violence, but valued winning above all. Death and loss were considered cultural taboos and unfit for discussion. However, GK valued his soldiers and used tactics ideally suited to ensure that he would not have to lose anyone on the battlefield.

If you want to be class president, brush off the losses and setbacks that will come. Take the blame for failure if necessary, and never throw people under the bus.

GK succeeded because he was constantly curious to learn from the people he conquered. This made him a great judge of character. If you weren’t competent, you didn’t get the job. Didn’t matter if you were family or not.

how to be class president studygate
This GK portrait comes from the Yuan dynasty and was completed at least 50 years after he died.

In fact, there is a story from Genghis Khan’s reign where the shaman Teb Tengeri earned a position administering the estate of GK’s mom. Unfortunately, Tengeri also beat up Khan’s brother Khasar. After Khasar begged for help, Khan immediately sided with the shaman until he realized he was being manipulated by the shaman. Family loyalty could not surpass the ability to do the job.

If you want to be class president, don’t pick your friends for jobs just because they’re your friends. Pick them because they’re the best at what they do.


Now, that’s a lot of advice. And I’m convinced Genghis Khan set an example as one of the greatest leaders in world history. The best part is that we can all learn from him!

But you should know his greatest weaknesses too. In a letter sent to a Taoist monk in China at the end of his life, GK wrote:

I have not myself distinguished qualities. I wear the same clothing and eat the same food as the cowherds and horse-herders. We make the same sacrifices, and we share the same riches. I hate luxury. I exercise moderation. But as my calling is high, the obligations incumbent on me are also heavy.

The key word here is obligations.

With so many obligations, GK’s greatest task of finding a successor was crippled by his inability to trust his family. GK killed his older half-brother when he was but a teenager because he threatened Khan’s influence in the family.

And after acquiring great power, he failed to mentor his sons. Sure, they knew how to win wars. They were the best in the world.

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Painting of Genghis Khan riding to invade the lands of Southeast Asia (1277). #fakehistory

But seriously, GK spent so much time leading conquests that he didn’t have time to teach them the nuances of taking care of his own people.

GK’s lack of mentoring for his immediate family resulted in family fighting that eventually tore apart the Mongol regime. His sons and grandsons did not agree on political leadership and cooperated only by mutually existing economic interests.

If you want to be class president, create incentives for people to work together. And be willing to mentor others to do your job after you graduate.

The second weakness of the Mongol Empire was their failure to recognize their greatest strength as their greatest liability.

When the Mongols were struck by the plague like the rest of the world in the 14th century, their empire began to disintegrate. They failed to identify the root cause of their problems, which had started with fleas spreading the plague.

Now, the Mongols did communication at a world-class level. They had to as rulers over such a large territory. So they set up post stations for soldiers and merchants traveling across Asia. The Mongols planted trees along the paths, provided shelter for travelers at the post stations, and ensured there was enough pasture for the horses by removing any surrounding farmland.

how to be class president studygate
This is a paiza, which functioned as a passport for travel between post stations. This particular one is now at the MET in New York City.

But the greatest strength of the Mongols for creating networks of commerce between cultures turned into their greatest weakness as the Bubonic plague traveled along those very same paths.

That killed at least 75 million people worldwide from South China all the way to London.

If you want to be class president, consider your strengths as your greatest areas for growth. Try to become world-class at 1 thing or very good at 2-3 things.

You will find people smarter than you and dumber than you at school. You will meet people with conflicting interests. Students will know all the clever tricks to beating the academic system. GK lived among people just like that, but he never wavered in his commitment to building systems that were fair to all. He understood that people need to feel protected and have a stake in the success of their society.

And now you know how to get elected class president. Whether you win or not, we can all learn to understand others before taking action.

For more on the history of Genghis Khan, see Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

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Study Habits for College Students: All the Pro Tips You’ll Ever Need

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19 minute read

These study habits for college students can be found in lots of place online, and they’re all organized here for easy access. Consider this your insider’s library for winning at school.

Or maybe just the r/getstudying subreddit after too much Red Bull. Either way, we’re cheering for you this semester. Now let’s get that A!

Here’s a PDF guide to these articles.

Use the table of contents below to navigate:


17 Free Homework Help Websites
5 Helpful Tips For Taking Notes
12 Simple Study Tips that Will Boost Your Results
How to Destroy Homework Procrastination Using YouTube
How To (Quickly) Find Credible Sources For Your Research Paper
How to Succeed in School: Five Easy Learning Tips
Study with Me: Study Tubers to Inspire Your Next A

Test Prep:

Exam Preparation: What Are the Best Test Prep Tips?
How to Study for the ACT: 8 Popular Study Habits to Avoid
A Smart Way To Take A Test
Test Preparation Pointers For The Stressed Out Student

Growth and Development:

Best Time Management Tips for College Students
Common Misconceptions Studying Abroad
Effective Study Tips: Teddy Roosevelt’s Guide to Academic Productivity
Four Ways To Stay Motivated And Finish The School Year Strong
How to Avoid Procrastination in College: Helpful Advice for Students
How To Use Procrastination To Your Advantage
A Non-Stressful Way To Choose A Career Path

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A Smart Way To Take A Test

Easy Questions First

Now that you know what your test looks like, it’s time to knock out the easy questions! Go through the test from beginning to end and take care of any questions you can answer correctly in one or two minutes.

Set Up Anything You’re Unsure About

Tricky questions take time. Use it wisely. Go back to the beginning and start doing some of the harder questions. If you’re taking a multiple-choice test, take the time to quickly jot down short definitions or explanations. If you’re solving equations, write out the first couple of steps you’d take to solve them. Then leave it alone and move to the next tricky problem.

Dive Deep, But Come Up For Air

Tackle those questions that give you the most difficulty. Give each of them your undivided attention. Take the time to think and make sure you’re on the right track. Once in a while, though, look up from your test and look at something else. Focus on something else for about 20 to 30 seconds.

One Last Look

When you’ve finished, take a minute or two to review your test and make sure you’ve answered everything to the best of your ability. Then:

  1. Get up
  2. Turn that thing in…
  3. and forget about it.

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Test Preparation Pointers For The Stressed Out Student

Know EXACTLY What You’re Studying

To build good study habits, be fully aware of what will be on the test. Know exactly which book chapters and concepts you will be tested on. You don’t want ANY surprises.

Go Over Your Notes

Review and organize your class notes as soon as the test is announced. Immediately. Your notes should at least give you basic knowledge of the subject you’re being tested on and can help you cut down on study time.

Speak Now!

A lot of students think good study habits for college students means going it alone. They don’t like talking to their professors either because they’re embarrassed, or they’re scared of them, or they don’t want to reveal that they haven’t been paying attention in class. Here the thing:

Your professor WROTE the test, and if you ask nicely, they’ll probably tell you EXACTLY what’s on it.

Take Action!

Everyone has their own way of studying. If you’re a visual learner, consider using a whiteboard or a piece of paper to write out concepts where you can see them (this works wonders for math and science courses). If you learn best by listening, maybe read your notes aloud, record them and listen to them as you go through the day (or you and a friend could record each other’s notes if you don’t like the sound of your own voice).

Take Care

STOP. DOING. ALL. NIGHT. CRAM. SESSIONS. Be nice to yourself for a change. Give yourself enough time to review and GO. TO. BED. Eat breakfast and bring snacks for the day ahead. Better to get help than wear yourself out cramming.

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A Non-Stressful Way To Choose A Career Path

Learn About Yourself

Lots of people find their career paths in their personal hobbies. The things we love to do are often related to what we become later in life.

Meet Your Heroes (And Talk To Them)

Most people were in the same boat as you when they were younger. Talk to everyone, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, and let them know what you’re interested in. A wise man once said: “It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.”

Get Involved

They say you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. Once you figure out what you like to do, and you’ve met a few people who can point you in the right direction, it’s time to get to work! Apply for internships in your desired field, ask a professional if you can observe them at work for a day or two, volunteer, or start working on your own projects and post them online!

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Success = Setting clear goals for yourself and going in relentless pursuit no matter what.

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How To Use Procrastination To Your Advantage

Realize What You’re Doing

It’s okay to admit to yourself that procrastination is happening! Recognize your own behavior and understand what you normally do and how you feel when you’re about to procrastinate. Just because these aren’t good study habits for college students doesn’t mean the end of the world.

Baby Steps

Break down your task into smaller, more manageable parts that you can complete in an hour or less. By doing so, you put less stress on yourself, and you allow yourself to do great work and demonstrate great study habits for college students!

Hold Yourself Accountable

Netflix is tempting. Everything you’ve ever watched or will ever want to watch, all in one place. Don’t fall for it. When you set a goal, ask a friend to check in on you and make sure you actually got it done!

Reward Yourself!

When you reach a new milestone, celebrate! You’re doing great! Enjoy your favorite snack, take a short break with friends, go for a run or walk, or—yes, go ahead and watch an episode of your favorite show. Now that’s a great study habit with a nice reward!

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5 Helpful Tips For Taking Notes

Listen, Listen, Listen

When your chemistry teacher is giving you a clear definition for a word or concept, write it down. When he’s going on and on and ON about that science museum he visited last weekend, maybe you should skip it. Decide for yourself what your notes should include.

Less Is More

Good notes should not be a word-for-word transcript of what happened in class. That strategy won’t build good study habits for college students. Instead, think of note-taking as a way for you to teach yourself new things. Try writing down key words, using headings and bullet points, writing things in your own words, and making your own codes, shorthand, and quick ways of writing things down.

Eat, Sleep, and Breathe It, Rehearse and Reread It

This is probably one of the easiest ways to study. Reread your notes when you get the chance. The best time to do this is directly after class. Take a separate sheet of paper and copy your notes—only this time, fill in any information you remember from the lecture.

Keep Them Organized

Keep your notes in a binder, and organize them in order of when you wrote them.

Have Fun With It

Use the margins of your paper to draw or write down things that come to mind. The goal is to let those thoughts come, recognize them, and then let them go so you can stay focused.

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How to Succeed in School: Five Easy Learning Tips

Busy is lazy. It means you aren’t thinking through your behavior.

Act with thoughtfulness as you choose tasks to engage with. In this way, you will never grow bored. You’ll also have more time for play as time is more easy to manage.

Apply your learning. Because anything less is foolish.

If you let your learning make you smart and stop there, you are a fool. If you let your learning drive you to action, you will get rich. People value other people who take action. Learning should always have a purpose.

Make your yes really count. Don’t use it for the small things.

There are going to be things in school that are considered required. Math class will be one of them. However, most schools have tremendous extracurricular opportunities. The fact is that there are too many for any one person to take on. So make a polite refusal of “no” be your first instinct. And save your “yes” for the things that you really care about.

Strong views, loosely held. Speak confidently, but stay open to reason.

When working in team projects, take the time to think through your position and your work. Then defend the points you believe with a lot of passion and clearly developed thoughts. But if someone disagrees with you, make a point of listening to them. If their logic is better, you should be open to changing your mind.

Ignore the noise. Your biggest heroes are still imperfect.

Life can be bigger than you ever dreamed once you realize that everything around you was created by someone who isn’t any smarter than you are. Don’t worry about what anyone says. Own your future and make some waves.

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How to Destroy Homework Procrastination Using YouTube

Study With Me Study Tuber #1

Anxious about finding some study buddies, Heleen from Brussels posted in May 2015 about creating a place for people to connect and learn together. She wanted to build good study habits for college students, but most importantly she wanted to help herself.

Since Heleen posted the first ever study with me video on June 1st, 2015, thousands of students have joined the movement to create their own videos. Millions of students are following these channels across YouTube.

Study with Me

At Studygate, students are creating micro Study With Me sessions with their classmates. Too often, you know what you need to do but just can’t take the first step. Study with me sessions builds good study habits for college students and gives you a place to feel connected with your classmates.

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Study with Me: Study Tubers to Inspire your Next A

Why Study with Me?

There are some great reasons to watch these YouTube videos:

  1. Friendship with tons of comments from likeminded students
  2. Community of people committed to learning with you to the next A
  3. Single screen to focus on instead of distracted browsing everywhere

The following are some of the hippest students on the planet with excellent skills at promoting good study habits for college students, presented in no particular order. Each offer their own flavor and personality to compliment your study session.

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Exam Preparation: What Are the Best Test Prep Tips?

Test Prep Tip 1: Plan, Don’t Cram

Create a study guide template to fill over the course of the unit or semester, or make flashcards with important vocabulary words. Writing down or typing what you need to know is a great tool to help you remember key ideas, and when you do it over a longer period of time, you have more opportunities to ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Test Prep Tip 2: Get Together with Friends

Planning a study group with your classmates is a great way to go over material in a relaxed and low-pressure setting. Friends can help to quiz you on important points and help you fill in the blanks for any concepts you may not have been too clear on. Or you can just study with them in peace and quiet. All of these are great study habits for college students.

Study With Your Friends Now

Test Prep Tip 3: Rest, Relax, Rehydrate

By the time the night before a test rolls around, you should only need to briefly look over your notes for five or ten minutes. Anything more is likely to stress you out instead of helping you. Instead, make sure you relax and get plenty of sleep the night before. Remind yourself that you’ve studied hard and done all you can to prepare.

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If you’re ready for the exam, you can take time to hike for fun too. Wooooooooooooooooooo!

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Common Misconceptions Studying Abroad

Safe Spaces Theory

In September 2015, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt released their groundbreaking essay “The Coddling of the American Mind.” The authors describe a safe space as a location where “young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable.” But safe spaces don’t make good study habits for college students.

We can’t get better without some discomfort.

Safe Spaces Abroad

But I don’t see safe spaces happening in other parts of the world, at least not in Europe. Learning moves in the spirit of Quincy Jones.

You’re supposed to use everything from the past. If you know where you come from, it’s easier to get where you’re going.

How to Thrive When Living Abroad

  1. Acknowledge everyone you meet. From the grocery cashier to your neighbors and classmates. You will need friends, and you will have only one chance to make a first impression. Make it positive by smiling and speaking their language even if you aren’t fluent yet.
  2. Be a chameleon. Chances are you will stick out like a sore thumb, so figure out how other people dress and adapt accordingly. Live like your surroundings and embrace the extraordinary exposure to the unsafe space.
  3. Use learning services to stay grounded in the details of your learning and embrace good study habits for college students regardless of location. You can easily find a tutor to learn with and stay accountable in your local commitments.

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Four Ways To Stay Motivated And Finish The School Year Strong

Organize and Prioritize

If there was ever a time to stay organized, this is it. With so much going on in school and at home, it’s important to keep every date, every obligation, and every meeting straight in your head.

Be Mindful

Study habits for college students start with taking time to slow down and understand what you’re working on. Ask for help if you can’t meet a deadline, focus on delivering quality work, and above all, set aside some time to take care of your health.

Get Some Perspective

The tests you take during this important season can improve or hurt your chances of ending up with that A you’ve been working so hard for, or the high SAT or AP score that will take you to the college of your dreams. It’s a crucial moment! But that’s all it is. A single moment in the vast timeline that is your life.

Remember Your Goals

What did you set out to achieve? Make those goals more visible in your everyday life. Write them on post-it notes and stick it in your notebook, on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, EVERYWHERE. With summer around the corner, it’s very easy to get distracted with all the fun things going on, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop short of the finish line.

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We know you’re ready for a break, buckle down just a little longer and you’ll make it!

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How To (Quickly) Find Credible Sources For Your Research Paper

Step One: Take A Position!

For the best study habits for college students, you’ve got to know what you want to say in your paper. Take some time to read the assignment, understand the expectations, and develop an opinion on the subject.

Step Two: Find A…Book? At The…Library?

You can find the most credible sources of knowledge in actual books! Imagine that! Decide what your answer is, then take an hour or two to look for a few library books about your subject. Look through them and pay special attention to certain sections that can help support your main point.

Step Three: Find Some Journals

Next, you’ll want to search for some academic journals. Some of the best academic journal databases are EBSCOHost, JSTOR, and Google Scholar, but there are so many others, so experiment and find out which one you like best. Using your library login info as much as possible will be a great study habit since your college or university will have a subscription to most paid databases.

Step Four: Yeah Alright, Now You Can Run To The Internet

At this point, you couldn’t get more specific if you tried. Now, it’s all about proving your point. Look for quality sources on the internet. You’ll be looking for quick statistics, helpful numbers, and short quotes that you can sprinkle into your paper.

Step Five: Trim The Fat

Now start cutting the stuff you don’t need. If you don’t know how to cite, you can visit the OWL Purdue website to brush up on all the different styles.

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Best Time Management Tips for College Students

Time Management Tip 1: Prioritize

As a college student, your number one priority should always be your academics since college is not free. Good study habits for college students start with taking time to complete your homework fully as soon as you get it and writing out notes gradually as the semester goes on.

Time Management Tip 2: Remember That You’re not a Robot

You’re not a machine wired to churn out study guides for hours a day without rest; you have to give yourself room to develop every side of you. You’ll often find that you’ll learn as much as you do from the library from getting outside of your comfort zone and growing as a person.

Time Management Tip 3: Forgive Yourself

If you’ve studied for hours every night this week, get some extra Z’s and sleep on Saturday morning. If soccer practice has worn your body out this season, take a day or two off to be lazy and eat some junk food. There’s an exception to every rule, so don’t beat yourself up for straying from the path once in a blue moon. Resting and relaxation can be the best study habits for college students. 

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Effective Study Tips: Teddy Roosevelt’s Guide to Academic Productivity

Study on a fixed-time schedule.

His personal diaries and letters show that he would block out time during each day for certain intellectual tasks.

Work only on high-priority tasks.

Do not obsess about next week’s term paper when the algebra test is tomorrow morning. Recognize that some priorities must be realized first. Others can wait.

Focus on one task at hand.

Because you are working within the parameters of a fragmented time schedule, it is imperative that you focus all of your effort and energy on your work. Give it all of your mental energy now, and remain in the moment through the duration of this time period.

Set a specific goal, or solve a problem.

Determine a goal, whether this is solving a problem, writing a certain number of words, or reading a number of chapters. Setting a specific short-term goal will motivate you and allow for a sense of accomplishment.

Create a deadline for “Roosevelt Dashes”

The idea is to exert your mental faculties to the max in short intervals. This will help you get the best study habits for college students. Set a timer where you can see it and push yourself to finish your established task within that time frame. This will take some practice. Stick with a set time period to accomplish your goal and meter yourself to the minute.

Read with a Purpose

Roosevelt read five books a week during his term in the White House. He did this by training his mind to identify the important aspects of the literature instead of getting bogged down in words and details.

Take Time for Personal Growth

Realize that you are not a robot. We all live full and busy lives. We need time for friends and loved ones. Countless obligations will compete for your attention. Yet it is important to set aside time to nourish your soul.

Diversify your Interests

Roosevelt entered Harvard wanting to become an “outdoor naturalist and observer of nature.” His career turned to the business of politics. He had a curious mind and treated everything he did with utmost enthusiasm and passion.

Make Learning a Life Habit

Cultivate a passion for learning and work to constantly expand your mind. Great study habits for college students start with recognizing the big picture is more than a collection of short-term tasks. Maintain a love for intellectual growth and personal development. This will serve to carry you through the inevitable minor frustrations that arise along the way.

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How to Study for the ACT: 8 Popular Study Habits to Avoid

Study Habits to Avoid #1: Pulling an All-nighter/Cramming

Let’s start with the obvious. Sleep deprivation, no matter your age or circumstance, is never a good thing. Instead, take some time to review your notes, and then put them aside well before you go to bed. Relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Study Habits to Avoid #2: Studying with friends.

Unless you’re in a completely structured and disciplined peer group that is working together toward a common goal, like the completion of a project, studying for exams with friends isn’t a good idea. Distractions will happen, and you’ll lose time and productivity.

Study Habits to Avoid #3: Listening to music

Listening to your playlists or other favorite music, especially loudly, is counter-productive. In order to maximize your efficiency, study in a quiet environment.

Study Habits to Avoid #4: Looking at the answers to the sample questions first

Reading the answers before you attempt the question does you no favors. Instead, read the question first and attempt to answer it, THEN read the answer.

Study Habits to Avoid #5: Over-caffeinating prior to the exam

Ingesting too much caffeine can make you jittery, unfocused, and can lead to a major crash in your energy well before you’re finished with the exam.

Study Habits to Avoid #6: Re-writing All of Your Notes

Some people believe that typing or writing out all of their study notes will help their recall. Not true. Once you’ve been through the practice exams, make index card notes on any questions that you really get stuck on, with the questions on one side, and the answers on the other.

Study Habits to Avoid #7: Multi-tasking

It’s not just listening to music that can distract from your studying. Unless you are one of a very small percentage of the world’s population (i.e., 2%), you are not a good multi-tasker. So put down the phone, shut down your browser and turn off the TV.

Study Habits to Avoid #8: Studying for long periods of time

Studying for the ACT takes up a lot of energy, so trying to study for long blocks with no breaks can actually be detrimental. Focused studying for shorter periods of time, and taking periodic breaks to focus on something else, can help you maintain a consistent level of focus and energy.

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When possible, we recommend dabbing during your study break.

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How to Avoid Procrastination in College: Helpful Study Habits for College Students

  • When you have a task with a deadline, look at the deadline and work backwards to create a schedule.
  • If you can work in a group, do so. Establish accountability for each member of the group and make sure they know their responsibilities.
  • Contact your professor/supervisor for clarification or with any other questions early in the process.
  • Create a schedule that you need to adhere to.
  • Break the big project down into small tasks.
  • Don’t think “I can’t”, think “How can I?”

The best study habits for college students are not always easy to maintain. So if procrastination got the best of your schedule, StudyGate can help with that.

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17 Free Homework Help Websites

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Education Tips for Parents: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

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10 minute read

One thing is for sure: we didn’t grow up with screens. So we salute you dear parents, guardians of the future and the keepers of inspiration.

Our education tips for parents contain advice based on research and our collective experience in education here at Studygate. You can also find snippet articles below, which address how to educate children in a digital age. Click the title to read the full version. While the table of contents is organized according to “teaching,” “parenting,” and “college,” the guide itself is organized from newest to oldest.

Click here to access a PDF guide to these articles.

Use the table of contents below to navigate through the guide:


Don’t Put Down That Tablet Just Yet: Online Learning and Test Prep Are Right At Your Child’s Fingertips
Fighting The System: Good Students Vs. Academic Dishonesty
How To Homeschool Your Children at a World-Class Level
Keys to Success: 2 Big Ways to Help a Digital Native Succeed in School
What to Do if Your Child’s Homework Looks Incomprehensible


Effective Parenting Tips: What NOT to do When Your Child Gets a Bad Grade
Helicopter Parenting: Being Overprotective can Help and Hurt Your Child
How to Motivate an Unmotivated Child to Enjoy School More

College and Career:

Four Reasons Why Vocational Classes Will Make AP Students Successful
Smart SAT Strategies to Survive the Test Prep Season
Think Your Child’s GPA Doesn’t Matter After Graduation? Think Again.
Why Harvard may not be the Best Choice for College

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How To Homeschool Your Children at a World-Class Level

Principle #1: Human beings are naturally different and diverse.

This means that, by homeschooling, your sole aim should be a comprehensive assessment of your child’s interests and strengths. Your job is to identify those areas and drive growth in those areas.

Principle #2 Human life flourishes in curiosity

Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage. Education is about learning. If there’s no learning going on, there’s no education going on. And people can spend an awful lot of time discussing education without ever discussing learning.

Principle #3: Human Life Is Inherently Creative

It’s why we all have different résumés. We create our lives, and we can recreate them as we go through them. It’s the common currency of being a human being. Great homeschool parents let children forge their own path.

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What to Do if Your Child’s Homework Looks Incomprehensible

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would happily dismantle Common Core. However, the standards represent a series of benchmarks and not an actual curriculum. Which makes it pretty hard to tear apart since states decide whether or not to use Common Core. Not the federal government.

States are taking a wide variety of approaches to following the Common Core standards.

Listening to young people and empowering them to find their own answers are the best courses of action. So if your child’s homework looks incomprehensible, you can do one of two things:

  1. Make a donation to your local school district by writing a check in Common Core notation and remind teachers that you’re not enrolled in class this year.
  2. Find a tutor who knows what your student is going through, can check the work themselves, and can discuss the matter at a decent price.

Find Common Core Tutors

Fighting The System: Good Students Vs. Academic Dishonesty

Technology doesn’t necessarily have influence over a student’s decision to cheat. The way students cheat today is the same way students cheated 30 years ago, but those methods have moved to an online format.

However, today’s students are aware that they have to understand the system they’re engaged in if they want to survive. Every course syllabus explains the weight of various assignments. The student decides what to focus on. If they slip up on a certain assignment, or perform poorly on a test, they understand that it’s not enough just to do well on the next one.

Academic dishonesty isn’t necessarily a route for lazy students to avoid applying themselves. It’s also a way for students to stack the odds in their favor. If we want to address the growing threat of academic dishonesty, we first need to understand the situation students all over the country contend with.

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Four Reasons Why Vocational Classes Will Make AP Students Successful

Practice Over Theory

Abstract theories do not completely prepare students for the future. In short, students learn by doing things. The more things they do, the more they think about their skills and work they want to pursue in the future.

Practical Skills Are Essential For Survival

Home economics, wood shop, auto repair, and other vocational courses teach valuable skills that adults use every day. As students transition into college life, these skills will give them a sense of independence.

More Application, Less Memorization

Applying knowledge to real-world situations helps understand the material.

Mixing Students Of Different Academic Levels Could Be Beneficial

Mixing students of various skill has the potential to increase learning by removing status as a factor in academic success. The students normally suited to AP courses can apply their knowledge with other students and learn to become problem solvers. They learn how to work in a team of people with different backgrounds and skill sets.

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Smart SAT Strategies to Survive the Test Prep Season

Gather Some Intel

Go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a couple of books with complete tests that you can practice with every few weeks. If you search online, you can find actual tests from previous years that you can practice on.

Get The Lay Of The Land

Study the test format. The SAT is written with the easiest questions at the beginning and gets progressively harder as you go.

Words Win Wars

Get some flash cards and learn the definitions of just five SAT words per day. 5 per day turns into 35 per week! Also, take the time to read anything you can: books, articles, journal entries, essays, and try to figure out the author’s main point as quickly as you can.

Meet Calculator, Your New Best Friend

Your mastery of your calculator can potentially slow you down or give you a much needed speed boost! Take some quality time to learn every function, every shortcut, and every formula you need for the test.

Train Yourself

Set aside about 1 to 2 hours every other week to sit down and take a practice test from beginning to end.

Assemble A Survival Kit

  • A bottle of water
  • Your calculator
  • A couple of extra pencils
  • An eraser
  • Some (a lot of) snacks
  • A watch (yeah, the ones with the hands that you wear on your wrist)


For a start, eat a good breakfast! Get plenty of sleep the night before the test! Do all the healthy things you’re supposed to!

Get SAT and ACT Ready

How to Motivate an Unmotivated Child to Enjoy School More

Share Your Own Experiences

Tell your child what your life was like when you went to school. Be honest and share the things you were good at, as well as the things you struggled with.

No Competition

Isn’t it better for a student to do well and then outperform themselves, rather than worry about what everyone else is doing? Their biggest competitor is themselves. Help them measure their own improvements.

Be Their Ally

Let your child know that finding solutions and success is more productive than placing blame and starting fights. Be willing to stick up for them even if it isn’t pretty.

Cut Out The Superlatives

Success is subjective. Encourage them to maximize their potential, instead. They’ll be much more motivated.

Talk About Your Dreams

When you were their age, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did it happen? Or did you change your mind? Did you settle?

Get A Fresh Start Today

Effective Parenting Tips: What NOT to do When Your Child Gets a Bad Grade

DON’T raise your voice or display aggressive body language.

Remember that a bad grade isn’t the end of the world, remain calm, and ask your child what they think went wrong.

DON’T interrupt your child or place blame right off the bat.

Respect your child by listening attentively, and give him or her a chance explain the situation at hand.

DON’T nitpick or obsess over trivial details.

Any mistakes are in the past now, and the best possible option is to learn from them and move forward. Form a proactive solution with your child that targets the issue as a whole.

Get Motivation

Helicopter Parenting: Being Overprotective can Help and Hurt Your Child

PRO: Your Child Feels Secure

By being involved in every aspect of your child’s life, he or she receives constant reassurance that you will always be ready and willing to love and support them.

PRO: Your Child Will Provide You With the Same Care and Attention as You Grow Older

A child who receives unconditional love and support will undoubtedly feel grateful and be more likely to treat you the same way.

CON: Your Child Will Not be Able to Survive Independently

Give your child space to learn and make mistakes; he or she will come to you if help is needed.

CON: Your Child Will Never become a Critical Thinker or Take Necessary Risks

If you teach your child that your way is always the right way, he or she will never be able to think for him or herself and decide what’s truly best.

Protect Your Child's Grades

Keys to Success: 2 Big Ways to Help a Digital Native Succeed in School

Encourage Your Child to Read Print Books

Print books discourage skimming and scanning that screen reading makes so easy.

Encourage Your Child to Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to fight off stress. Working your body improves your mood by releasing “feel good” antidepressants in your body, and can help relax your brain.

Upgrade Reading Levels

Why Harvard may not be the Best Choice for College

If your hobby is surfing, and you managed to hang ten while scoring a high SAT, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

Also, if your dream is to have a vineyard and mix fine wines, Harvard probably isn’t for you.

Consider that if you want to turn your comic book collection into a serious field of study, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

Finally, if you have a fondness for gunsmithing and have a tommy gun and brown bess stashed under your bed, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

Get Harvard Quality Learning At Home

Don’t Put Down That Tablet Just Yet: Online Learning and Test Prep Are Right At Your Child’s Fingertips

Whether your child is a student that is struggling to catch up or you want them to learn effective test prep, tutoring stands as one of the best resources for parents and students. In a nation that has long cried for education reform, tutoring may be one of the most effective solutions in schools. This is backed by a study released in 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which highlighted the benefits of tutoring for struggling students.

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Think Your Child’s GPA Doesn’t Matter After Graduation? Think Again.

About 90% of companies will immediately reject candidates with a GPA lower than 3.0.

One 2017 study found that GPA is also highly correlated with how likely a person is to “engage in voluntary, helpful behavior in the service of co-workers and the organization.”

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Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or a Celebrity

Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate

Here are some great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity. Tim Ferriss came up with these questions while conducting interviews on his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show.

Some of the most famous people he has interviewed include LeBron James, Jocko Willink, Stanley McChrystal, Jamie Fox, and Brené Brown.

His questions are too good and too clever not to pass on to you. So if you’re looking for great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity, this list should get you going. It could even work for a class interview project!

Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate
A grandfather and his grandson spend time together making a guitar.

Great Questions to Ask

  • When you think of the word “successful,” who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
  • What is something you believe that other people think is insane?
  • What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, or other resource. How did you decide to make the investment?
  • What is the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world?
  • If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?
  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Or, do you have a favorite failure of yours?
  • What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?

Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate
Charlize Theron at the 2010 Academy Awards

In 2016, Ferriss published Tools of Titans. The book contains many of the interviews from his podcast including helpful articles like “8 Tactics for Dealing with Haters,” “Lazy: A Manifesto,” “The Dickens Process,” and “How to Say ’No’ When It Matters Most.”

By reading this book, you can expect to feel more content with your place in the world and understand that we are all trapped on this small planet going through a giant universe. You will learn that every successful person does things their own unique way, but nearly every successful person does some form of meditation.

At the very least, hopefully this post has guided you towards great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity.

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Sweet and Sour Summers

sweet and sour summer studygate

Sweet and sour summers can make a huge long-term impact on how your son or daughter live once they enter college and adult life.

But we aren’t talking about strawberry lemonade tea here. What does this term mean exactly?

The mission of the sweet and sour summer is to expose teenagers to the realities of life. For some people, life is caviar and Kobe steak filled with summer tans and chiseled physique. For others, life consists of surviving under a bridge and constantly struggling to get a good night of sleep.

Both possibilities are very real in this giant world. The sweet and sour summer is 3 months of work designed to prove just that.

Sweet summer

A sweet summer starts with an internship shadowing a very cool job. Your job is to make a connection with your child to the coolest job your personal network of friends and family can offer. Here are some ideas (but the sky is the limit):

  • Lobbyist
  • Surgeon
  • Professional athlete
  • Video game designer
  • Stockbroker

sweet and sour summer studygate
Life as a surgeon isn’t as easy as a fist bump, but it’s still pretty cool

Your teenager can shadow your friend for 4-6 weeks and have a very nice time. More importantly, they will get to observe professional standards of communication and see how the world works.

Sour summer

A sour summer consists of finding the toughest and most grimy job you possibly can within your network of contacts, then sending your teenager to work on it. Here are some job ideas, but they are not comprehensive:

  • Roofer
  • Trashman
  • Farm worker
  • Dishwasher
  • Construction worker

sweet and sour summer studygate
Construction consists of lifting heavy things, long hours, and unbearable heat

Besides making the connection, your role in the sour summer is to make sure that your teenager works harder and longer than anyone else on that team. This takes some trust in your connection, but the result will leave your child open to hard work when they get home at the very least!

Why bother?

As the developing and developed world come closer together, it’s important for young people to understand that life can be whatever they want it to. The Western world is still a place of possibility where hard work smartly applied can make for huge results. The possibilities are endless, but many of them depend on the choices we make.

By experiencing the sweet and sour summer, you can help your child see the wide range of possibilities that exist in this big and beautiful world.

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Elon Musk on Education: “I Don’t Give a Damn About Your Degree”

Elon Musk On Education Harvard Degree

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk on education has some uncommon opinions. He is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk holds American, Canadian, and South African citizenship. He lives in Los Angeles, and he doesn’t give a damn about your degree.

Elon Musk on Education Infographic

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Q: Elon, do I need a degree?

A: There’s no need even to have a college degree at all or even a high school diploma. If somebody graduated from a great university then maybe that’s an indication that they will be capable of great things but it’s not necessarily the case.

Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Steve Jobs didn’t graduate from college but if you had a chance to hire them that would be a great idea.

The key is to look for evidence of exceptional ability. If there’s a track record of achievement then it’s likely that that will continue into the future.

Q: Elon, how would you describe yourself?

A: I have a high innate drive and that’s been true even since I was a little kid. Back then, I did all sorts of risky things that I now realize were actually crazy. I care a lot about the truth of things and trying to understand why those things are true. If you’re going to come up with some solution, then it’s really really important that you know the truth and can anticipate that.

Sometimes I see things that seem quite clear and obvious to me, and I don’t understand why they aren’t so obvious to everyone.

Q: Elon, how do you educate your five boys?

A: I created Ad Astra which means “to the stars.” It’s different from most schools since there aren’t any grades at all. I’m making all the children go in the same subjects at the same time like an assembly line. This is because some people love English or languages, some people love math, and some people love music. It’s important to develop different abilities at different times and cater the education to match individual aptitudes and abilities within each subject.

I think it’s also important to teach problem solving or teach to the problem and not to the tools. So let’s say you are trying to teach people how engines work. You could start by the more traditional approach to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches and even have a course on screwdrivers and wrenches.

But this is a very difficult way to do it. A much better way would be to show the engine and say “Let’s take it apart. How are we going to take it apart? Oh, you need a screwdriver. That’s what the screwdriver is for.” Then a very important thing happens. The relevance of the tools becomes apparent.

The regular schools just don’t do the things that I think should be done like the principles of focusing on one subject at a time and teaching directly to the problem. I actually hired a teacher from the school they were at who also agreed with me that there was a better way to do it.

The kids really love going to school, and I think that’s a good sign. I hated going to school when I was a kid. It was torture! So the fact that they actually think vacations are too long and they want to go back to school is a great sign.

Q: Elon, what do you have in common with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison?

A: Those are pretty different personalities between Gates and Jobs and Ellison! All three of those were technologists but with different types of skills. Jobs was obviously very focused on aesthetics to integrate with the technology. He really answered the question of what people wanted even when they didn’t know themselves. Jobs was obviously not afraid to break boundaries.

Gates would probably be better at raw engineering and technology than Jobs, but not as good on aesthetics.

All of these guys were obviously very driven and they’re very talented and they’re able to attract great people to build a company.

The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to the success of a company because the company is just that. It’s a group of people that are assembled to create a product or service. We all so often forget this elementary truth. So if you’re able to get great people to join the company and work together towards a common goal and you have a relentless sense of perfection about that goal, then you will end up with a great product.

If you have a great product, people will buy it and then you know you’ll be successful. It’s pretty straightforward.

Q: Elon, are you fearless?

A: I wouldn’t say I’m fearless. I feel fear quite strongly. If what we’re doing is something I think is important enough, then I just override the fear. But it’s not as if I don’t feel fear. I feel it stronger than I would like.

If the stakes are high and it’s really important, then I should overcome the fear and just do it anyway. It’s kind of annoying, I wish I felt it less.

Q: Elon, which venture that you founded would you say was the most risky at the start?

A: SpaceX. I thought it had the lowest chance of success. I thought both Tesla and SpaceX would fail at the beginning. What I thought was, “well, I’ll take half the money from PayPal and if I lose half of it that’s okay.” But then of course the companies encounter difficulties and then you have a choice.

1. Let the company die

2. Put all the money into the company


I really didn’t want the companies to die, so I put all the money into the company. Then I had to borrow money from friends to pay living expenses.

Q: Elon, what was your best idea ever?

A: Coming to North America was my best idea. I think these things would not have been accomplished anyway you know anywhere else. It’s really hard to start a company, but California and Silicon Valley is very conducive to startup companies. Whenever I read books in South Africa, it would seem like the cutting edge of technology was in Silicon Valley. So that’s where I wanted to come to move to this mythical place.

Q: Elon, are there things you regret having done or not having done so far?

A: There’s lots of things, but life is short. There’s lots of things that could be done that one can’t necessarily do. Overall, I think I’m pretty happy with where things are, it’s hard not to be. Things are in a good place right now.

I’d like to see humanity go beyond Earth and have people on Mars. That would be really great. I’d like to see widespread adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy. These are great things and I think they would be really cool.

Watch the original interview here. Getting a job is hard. Here are some ways to decide if you should get a normal job or start the next SpaceX

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