How To Study

By Leo Gura - January 12, 2015 | 46 Comments

The keys to acing school and college

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for, and in this video I want to talk about how to study extremely effectively.

I want to turn you into a studying machine. I want to make you such an effective studier that studying is going to be a skill that you have and possess. It’s going to be a strength of yours that you will feel proud of. It’s going to carry you through your entire life, and not just your schooling days and college days.

Studying is very near to my heart because this is a skill that is actually developed and acquired. I didn’t always have this skill. I wasn’t always an effective studier. I struggled through much of elementary school and middle school.

I started as a below average studier. Then, I improved and became kind of average. When I then got into the first year and a half of high school, something clicked in me which made me take studying very seriously. In the last three years of high school, I became an ace studier. It was just amazing!

I was one of the top in school. When I went to college, because I was such a good studier in high school, it translated into making college easier for me. I was also one of the top students in college. I want to tell you a little bit about this, because I feel that this is one of my top strengths that I developed.

I know how it can be developed. It’s not just something that comes naturally to you. Let me show you how to develop amazing study skills. It’s not just going to be about technique, but also about some very important mindsets that you are going to want to know.

Studying Is A Skill, Acquired And Developed Through Practice

The first thing you really have to understand about studying is that studying is a skill. It’s something that’s acquired and developed through practice. It’s not something you’re born with. The worst mindset you could have is to believe the following.

“Oh, I’m just not as smart as the other kids. I don’t get it as fast as them. I’m not as good of a studier. I’m not quick of a reader. I’m not really good at math. I’m not good with science.” This is all complete horseshit. It’s complete and utter nonsense.

This is not the kind of mindset you want when you’re approaching studying. I want you to approach studying with a growth mindset instead. That was a fixed mindset. Here’s what the growth mindset is.

Basically, the growth mindset says that you’re inherently just as good as anybody else. What it all boils down to is practice, practice, practice and repetition, repetition, repetition, a lot of hard work and eventually you get those amazing studying skills and you become the best in the class or you really understand a topic deeply.

This will happen just from that one mindset. Just apply it, over and over again. It’s really important not to limit yourself into this fixed mindset, thinking that you’re somehow learning disabled or that you have something wrong with you.

There may be learning disabled people. That’s a very small percentage. Don’t assume that you are that, even if you have been told that you’re learning disabled. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

Usually, they try to find that stuff out through tests. Actually, when I was in the 9th grade and when I entered it, because I didn’t do well on my reading test in 8th grade, they put me into remedial reading class.

I was sitting with all the dumb kids in class, reading books. I felt like I was a dumb kid too because they put me in that class. Don’t let that kind of stuff limit you. Schools are notoriously stupid and bureaucratic, filled with red tape.

Just because someone puts you in some position, some class or gives you some label, it doesn’t mean anything about your learning abilities. You can learn, and we’re going to show you how to do that right here.

It’s Not About The Grades

The first thing you have to realize is that it’s not about the grades. You have to stop focusing on the grades. The grades are not important. In fact, this opens up the larger topic of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.

A lot of kids, young people and young adults in college threw that phase from high school and college. Between those two stages of your life, you get hooked a lot of times on this need to impress others with your grades or to do well because your parents want you to do well, because you’re competing against other kids in your class, because there’s a certain trophy that you want, or because you want to go to some amazing Ivy League school.

There is this real damaging and social conditioning going on which is pressuring you to follow, get amazing grades and to play that whole rat race. Look, I was in that rat race. I was really motivated by competing with others and getting really good grades. I was always inspired to see that list of all the top students in the school or class and to see that I was at the top.

That always inspired me, but that’s not what ultimately fueled me as a student. What fueled me as a student is the intrinsic drive and intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic means that it’s coming from inside you. You naturally and authentically want it, rather than chasing some sort of approval and validation from your principal, professor or parents.

That is total nonsense. You cannot be an effective student if you are going off of extrinsic motivation. The solution is this. You have to put any extrinsic motivations that you have off the side of your brain. Stop thinking about them and stop caring about them.

Stop putting any value into that kind of stuff. You don’t need it. It doesn’t matter what your grades are. The important thing is why you’re trying to become a great student. You want to become a great student and learn how to study because it is a critical life skill.

This is something that is literally going to set up your entire life. This will be the difference between being happy and being miserable. This will be the difference between being rich and being poor. This will be the difference between being neurotic and being calm and even keeled in your life.

This will be the difference between having an amazing marriage or relationship and a horrible marriage or relationship. This will be the difference between having an amazing and successful business and a disastrous business that goes into bankruptcy.

Literally, in every area of your life where you want to have success in or want to be happy in will require study. It will require it. Personal development is all about studying how you work and how your psychology works. This is not something that you spontaneously get through osmosis.

You have to sit down, open lots of books, study lots of stuff and take lots of notes. This is proper studying. To me, what’s exiting about studying is not that I’m going to get some grades or say that I know some trivial facts. I know when the war of 1812 started and why it started.

I know all the causes of this and how the physics of that work. That’s not important at all. To me, it’s all about understanding life. Life is so fascinating. I want to understand it. To me, this is one of the most important missions I have as a human being living here, as a life form.

This goes really deep for me. As a life form, this is the most important thing that I’m doing through my short time on this Earth and in this Universe. I’m learning how the Universe works. I’m observing it with my senses and then I’m dissecting it and analyzing it with my mind.

That’s basically the foundation of all study. This is how every effective studier, scientist and mathematician approaches this problem. They don’t just sit down to study stuff. They’re genuinely curious, interested and fascinated by the mysteries of the Universe because this is a mysterious an amazing thing.

Get In Touch With The Fact That Life Is Deeply Fascinating

This brings us to the key mindset number one you really need to become an effective student, which is getting in touch with the fact that life is deeply fascinating.

I don’t care what you’re studying. You could be studying how to cook, physics, math, history, psychology, personal development, how to go sky diving or do an underwater dive, how to make a dress or how to do makeup. Whatever your area of interest is, that’s cool.

That doesn’t matter. There’s no judgment here. All of this is just life. This is the Universe and you’re learning how this stuff works. There is a lot to be learned about every single one of these topics.

Don’t think that you are somehow above learning about these things. You’re not at all. Every one of these things deserves lots of study. You will find that the more you learn and look into each one of these topics, you’ll discover there is so much amazing stuff. There is so much depth in every little nook and cranny of life.

There is so much depth. You can literally spend a lifetime, at this point, studying the minutest, most esoteric or most technical things, if you want. You can also spend an entire lifetime piecing everything together if you want to go broad, instead of deep.

You can spend a whole lifetime piecing all of the little pieces together, which is personally one of my fascinations and missions in life – to piece together the big picture. That’s what really fuels me. I’m not so much about the trivia or technicalities of life.

Some people do like the technicalities. You have to decide which one of those people you are. You have to really get in touch with what you find deeply fascinating about life. It’s not about cracking open a book and acing a test. This is such a human and social construct.

It’s so stupid, this whole idea of test taking and stuff. I mean, it has value, but it’s so limited. You cannot be fueled by that. You have to put all of that aside. That’s the bullshit of studying. That’s like the politics of studying.

The politics are nonsense. What you have to look at is this. What’s the foundation, the fundamental core of it? That’s something like really wanting to understand life. I want to understand this thing here, it’s so fascinating. This thing here and the way it works are so cool. How can it work this way?

How does technology work? How does science work? How come humans behave in all these irrational and weird ways? How can we have geniuses and also have disastrous people through history? How does history work?

How do wars work? How do politics work? How do economies work? How does money work? There’s so much to study. First of all, I want you to really get in touch with the fact that you are interested in all of it. You could be genuinely interested in any one of these topics.

This is something you have to pause and admit to yourself. “Wait a minute, what’s really going on here? Sure, maybe there’s a subject I do like more than other subjects. Maybe I don’t really like math. In history, I’m really fascinated by people.”

That’s cool. You can have those preferences, but also don’t be closed minded to say – “You know what? I’m just bad at math, I hate math.” If you say that, I actually want you to pause and ask yourself – “Wait a minute. Why do I hate this thing called math? Isn’t it a part of reality? Isn’t it fascinating that we can use mental concepts and numbers? These numbers have some power to them and they work in certain very logical and interesting ways.”

We can use this math to do science and advanced technology. Isn’t that fascinating to you? It should be fascinating to you, no matter who you are, even if it’s not your forte and most passionate thing.

This is important because, in school, you are going to have a diversity of subjects. Some of these subjects will be mandatory. You aren’t always going to be able to pick. As you advance through school, you will also get more options to pick.

One of the secrets to school is, of course, picking the stuff you’re really fascinated about. As much control as you do have, try to exercise that by pointing it in the direction of stuff that really fascinates you and lights you up.

If there’s stuff that you’re not fascinated about, you have to trick yourself in your brain and say – “Well, what could I find fascinating about this? What could be interesting about this? Why is this important? Maybe I haven’t opened my mind to this subject yet.”

If you do that, you will find that your mind actually can open up and you can find satisfaction in learning almost about anything. It’s kind of cool. I want you to pause this video now and write down a list of 20 areas of life that you’re deeply fascinated by and that you want to research and learn more about.

You’re fascinated about how it works. You’re fascinated about the questions that might be coming up in that field of study. What is that for you? It can literally be anything. Right now, pause this video and come up with those. It could be math, science or history, or if you prefer, it could be stuff like surfing.

I’m really fascinated about surfing and I want to learn how it works. I’m really fascinated about tennis. Let me learn how tennis works. I’m really fascinated about how technology works. Maybe I want to learn how they program computers, how they make websites, or how they construct factories and make cell phones.

There is literally so much stuff, so pause right now and come up with a list.

Okay, you’ve done that. I hope you did. That’s going to be a good starter for you. That right there is really all the stuff you want to be focusing your attention on. I will focus a lot of my discretionary time on actually studying the stuff that I find fascinating, outside of the stuff that I just find fascinating for school.

That’s going to serve you well. The next key mindset that I want to share with you is really the secret to all learning and the secret to all study. It’s so simple. Do you want to know the secret?

Learning Equals Repetition

It’s really this. It’s just repetition. That’s all learning actually is. People think – “Oh, I’m not as smart as this guy! I’m not as smart as that guy!” There’s little smart that’s actually required for learning. Learning is really dumb.

Learning is just repetition. It’s brute force repetition, again and again. If you repeat something a number of times, your brain is going to learn it no matter what, even if you’re the worst student. This was the key thing that I discovered. I discovered this in 10th grade, right when my results just totally skyrocketed with my grades, studying habits and everything.

This is because I discovered this one secret to learning. It’s just repetition. I literally discovered that my brain can learn anything. I can memorize anything, any quantity or complexity of things. I can memorize it just through study.

Study is not just something you do to memorize stuff. It’s not about memorization. To me, I don’t really care about memorizing things. That’s not important. What is important is this. First of all, you are tested on a lot of memorization skills at school, so that’s just a part of the school system as imperfect as it is.

That will help you with getting amazing grades. When you repeat stuff over and over again, you do memorize stuff, but you also get these deeper inner connections and your mind starts connecting the dots. It does all of this stuff mostly unconsciously.

You’re not consciously sitting there and coming up with really crafty and clever techniques and ideas. You’re immersing yourself in the field of study. You’re repeating things again and again. Your mind just can’t help making those inner connections for you.

That process is actually really enjoyable. This video is about making you a powerful student, but it’s also about making you enjoy the activity of studying. You have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to be a good student.

That’s the most important thing I did in my own education. I really convinced myself to enjoy a lot of the studying that I did. I was very intrinsically motivated, so that just worked out really well for me. I then took this principle of repetition when I saw that I could literally program anything I wanted into my mind.

It’s just so dumb. It’s so simple the way it works. There’s nothing fancy behind it. There’s no magic behind it. I realized I had all the tools I needed to learn whatever I wanted. At that point, it just becomes a matter of discipline and practice.

At this point, I want to give you the actual study procedure that I used through most of high school and most of college to achieve some amazing results. It’s really quite simple, but I want to give you all the steps I went through.

These are like the tips of my studying procedure.

Quiet Place, Free Of Distractions

The first thing you want to do is to create a quiet place, free of distractions where you can study effectively. For me, this was my bedroom. My bedroom had a lock on it. I could close it and lock everyone out. I could stay there for hours and just study.

You need a study room. Try to literally make a little enclosure somewhere, where you can go off, hibernate and study. Nobody is bothering you. If you want, you can close the door, shut the windows and turn off the TV, with no distractions and total silence.

You want to have as much control over that space as possible. You also want to organize it well. That’s the first thing.

Schedule Your Time

The second thing you have to do is schedule your time. Don’t just stuff studying into the cracks of your schedule. Your schedule should be built around studying. If you’re in high school or college, think about it this way.

You’re not working. Maybe, some of you are working. I’m assuming the average student, who’s got a pretty decent family, isn’t working during this time. In this case, you really have a cool thing happening.

Basically, your full time job in life right now, from high school to college, is to just study, absorb and learn as much stuff about life as you can. That’s actually a really cool phase in your life. Don’t dread this phase. This is actually the coolest phase.

Most of your life is going to be spent working. You’re going to be working from 30, to 40 and to 50 years of your life. You only get 15 or 20 years of study. Use that right now. In high school and college, that’s only 8 years.

That’s not a lot. It passes really fast. Actually, when you get out of college, if you’re an effective student and you love learning, you’re going to miss it. This is what happened to me. The idea here is to schedule your time.

What does this mean? This means to have an exact set time during the day when you start to study. For me, I remember, it was about 6PM. I would always say to myself – “Okay, 6PM! I get back from school, I rest a little bit and then it’s my study time at 6PM. It starts.”

How long does it go? That depends on how much assignments and homework I have. It would go for at least an hour or two. Sometimes it would go for 4, 5 or 6 hours. It would start at 6 and it would usually end at around 9 or 10. It would vary.

I think what’s really important is to have that starting time. 6! No matter what, 6! Sit down and study! Open the books, sit down and study. It doesn’t have to be 6 for you, just come up with your own time.

You’re doing this every single day. I would take one day off for the weekend. The way it would work looks like this – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I would study. On Friday I actually wouldn’t study. Friday night would be my night off. On Saturdays I wouldn’t study either, so that’s actually 2 days.

On Sunday I would, because on Sunday you usually have homework for the upcoming Monday. That was my schedule. What’s important about this is that it leads us to the next point.

Get Comfortable, Slow Yourself Down

You have to get comfortable and slow yourself down in order to study effectively. You can’t rush the studying process. One of the secrets I use is simply brute force. A lot of the issues I dealt with as a student, the things I couldn’t understand, I just brute forced them through repetition.

This repetition can take time. You also have to be patient with yourself. Sometimes, you’re not going to understand the problem right off the bat. You just kind of repeat it, mull it over. This sometimes means it takes you longer.

Instead of finishing a quick math assignment in an hour, it might take you three hours. That’s worth it if you calm yourself down. Get comfortable. Slow yourself down. Open yourself to absorbing this information.

This is where the love comes in. If you don’t love it, and you’re rush studying through stuff just to learn it like cramming for an exam, that’s just horrible. That’s horrible because you’re like a dog jumping through hoops. That’s basically what you are when you’re doing that.

You’re saying to yourself – “Well, I have to pass this exam to get into college or get good grades so my parents like me.” That’s just hoops you’re jumping through like a dog. Don’t do that. Instead, what you think about is like this – “Okay, this subject matter is really fascinating. Let me study more. Let me learn more. I want to know how math interconnects with history and I want to know how history interconnects with science. I want to know how this and this connect and I want to have more depth about this thing here.”

That’s how you have to think. That’s the getting curious part too. You have to get really curious. When you actually sit down at 6PM to study and you open that book up, instead of thinking how to get it done faster so that you can go watch some TV and play some video games, sit down and say it’s a fascinating thing you are studying about life.

This is so much more rewarding and it has so much more value than watching TV or playing a video game. Look, I watched a lot of TV and played a lot of video games during my school years. I know how that goes.

Those things can be exiting in the short term. There is so much value and richness in the studying. You have to connect yourself to that. It’s not like adults telling you to study just for the sake of studying.

That’s a stupid reason. Connect inside to your own and original motivations. As you read this book or however you’re studying, you have to read for understanding and excellence, rather than trivial memorization of facts. The key is understanding.

For example, when you’re doing a math problem, you have to actually get insights into how the math works. This is a very different thing than just turning out answers. It’s very easy in your mind to just become a calculating machine and calculate stuff.

If you’re learning history, all you’re doing is memorizing dates, numbers and names. If you’re learning science or something, you’re just memorizing formulas and you do not understand how the formulas work, where they came from and why is it that they are the way they are.

This is a really huge thing. This is where many people become really good at actually passing exams. However, they don’t understand anything about the subject matter. This is just a disgusting way and a travesty of study.

Studying is about understanding stuff. You have to really know how this stuff works, rather than just memorizing or knowing some trick, technique or shortcut to get the right answer. Don’t fall into that trap. I know I fell into that trap a lot, especially with mathematics.

That was my weakest subject because I didn’t take this understanding approach to it that I needed to. You also need to value excellence in the way you study. You should have this standard that you set for yourself that, for you, it is actually important to accurately understand how reality works.

I’m not happy with a half ass understanding of mathematics. I’m not happy with a half ass understanding of history or science. I want to have deep and probing insights into these topics because that’s interesting to me. Accuracy is also important to me.

I don’t want to be a person who half understands reality or understands it in all of these misconceived ways. I want to really understand reality. I want to know the truth of things. This is a really important tenant and principle of study.

Take Notes

Taking notes is very important. If you’re in class, become a great note taker. If you’re reading stuff, learn to take notes. Develop a habit of taking notes. Start to enjoy taking notes. Also keep a repository of all your notes.

When I was in school, it was all manual and on paper. There was no electronic note taking at that time. I don’t know how it is nowadays, probably a lot more of iPads and stuff. I would literally have huge buckets and plastic file cabinets full of files and paper. It was all marked up. This was really important to me. I actually took pride in having that because that stack just grew bigger and bigger.

They were these huge boxes of stuff I learned every year, and I would accumulate it. You don’t need to be a pack rat about it, but I think it’s important you value the process of recording your insights and understandings, not just for the sake of school officials or grades, but actually for yourself.

That’s really important. That’s going to the core again of really understanding the stuff you’re studying.


The other really important technique I discovered is this idea of self-testing. This is really important if you want to ace tests. This is really going back to that idea of repetition.

Here’s an example if you’re reading a chapter. I very vividly remember reading a chapter about molecular biology in my big biology book. If I read that whole chapter, the chapter will usually have questions at the end.

They will have little tests that the book gives you. Maybe there is a test your teacher gave you, like a homework assignment. You’ve got questions there. What you have to do is go through the materials you studied and then just test yourself.

As you test yourself, the key is that you have to check if your answer is correct. If your answer is not correct, you have to go back and find the right answer. This is a process that takes time and slows you down. This is why I feel most people don’t do this.

Most students want to get done with the assignments so quickly that they don’t actually bother to go and look up the right answer. After you come up with the right answer, you’ve got to drill into your mind and ask yourself the question again, allowing your mind to do a recall. This is really critical for memory.

All learning happens when you do a successful recall. This is very important. This idea right here will literally make or break your whole studying career and all of your tests. What do I mean by recall?

You have to understand how this actually works in your mind. If you’re just sitting there and reading some stuff or someone tells you some facts, that’s good. However, don’t assume it means you’ve memorized it. For you to actually commit it to memory, you have to successfully recall it.

Here’s an example. If someone tells you a fact about when some war started 500 years ago and they tell you the exact date, you hear it but you don’t usually recall it. What you have to do is force the recall in your own mind. When did such a war start? It started in 1555, or something like that.

You recall it. If you can’t recall it, you’re struggling and you just don’t remember, you have to go back and look up that number. When you look up the number and see it’s 1555, okay, that’s cool. That’s still not good enough. You have to recall it again.

You have to ask yourself that same question again and then try to recall it and see if you are able to. If you aren’t able to, you go back and look at that number again. Then, you ask the question again and see if you can recall it again.

Only when you are successfully able to recall it have you actually learned it. What I usually do is loop through a couple of times like that, until I am able to recall successfully. Even after I recall successfully, the first two or three recalls are usually a bit of a struggle. They’re not quick, smooth and silky.

I will then ask myself the question again a couple of times. By the 5th or 10th time, I am able to recall it really fast because I’ve literally trained my brain through the recalls. Your brain gets built and trained through this recalling process.

That’s very important if what you’re trying to do is memorizing stuff. Memorization is just going to be a fact of life for you, as a student. Remember that one. There is another thing you have to understand about studying.

If you’re not a good student now, you’re not just going to go and become a great student tomorrow by watching this video. It’s going to take time for you to build momentum. Building momentum – you have to do it over the course of the day as you’re studying, but then also over the course of weeks and months, really.

It took me about six months to really build up a lot of momentum when I was transitioning from 9th grade to 10th grade and to become a really much more powerful student. Even after that, it took a year or two more. I really hit my stride in school when I was in 12th grade. By the time I got to 12th grade, I had built up about 2.5 years of momentum.

I was really studying very hard. I developed a lot of good habits and this point. I integrated all of this stuff we talked about into my mind. It became so easy that it was just like coasting through. It was coasting through really easily to study at that point because I built up this momentum. I built up these positive habits.

The process of building up positive habits is not an easy process. It’s going to be a little bit painful and it’s going to require some discipline from you. This is going to be an important skill that you’re learning because you are going to be able to apply this discipline and habits you learn in high school and in college. You’re going to apply that to the rest of your life.

To me, the whole point of high school and studying is just to set the foundation and then carry that studying through into the rest of your life. Remember why you’re doing all of this, as you’re sitting down and you’re in your comfortable place, you’re slowing yourself down, open and curious, you’re studying something, you’ve got something open and you’re really fascinated by it. That’s the basic process, right? This is the basic procedure.

Now, remember why you’re doing this in the long run. In the long run, you’re doing this because you really care about understanding reality and because of all of the cool things this will do for you. This will allow you to have an amazing business, relationship and career, and basically allow you to design the kind of life that you want.

It’s also going to fascinate you as a human being. One of the things you are going to learn as you grow up is that learning about how life works, compared to just grinding it out at a 9 to 5 job or compared to partying, watching movies, playing videos is one of the higher consciousness values of life.

It’s one of the greatest fulfillments and joys you can find in life. It’s certainly nothing as exciting as playing a video game. Playing a video game is very exiting in the moment, but studying is like this longer term, smoother and mellow kind of excitement. It’s a really cool thing and I want you to develop a love for that as you’re going through your school and college days.

Remember this is something you’re building and cultivating. Have a vision for why you’re studying so hard. You’re going to be working really hard when you study. Some nights, you’re going to be working really hard and getting really exhausted.

You have to keep the ultimate vision in mind of why you’re doing all this stuff. Never lose sight of that, it’s really important. That’s my basic procedure.

I think I covered a lot of stuff here already. I’m just going to cover a couple of last remaining points. One point that really needs to be covered is that if you’re studying really hard, you have to rest properly.

You have to sleep properly. Throughout high school and college, I never even once pulled an all-nighter. This all-nighter thing is ridiculous to me. You don’t need any all-nighters, just schedule your time properly and you don’t need any of those.
Sleep well. Rest well. When you’re learning stuff and your brain is churning all the time, you’re going to be literally feeling your brain rewiring itself. Neurons are going to be growing in your brain. You’re going to feel it. It’s a really cool and exciting feeling.

It’s also exhausting to you. This means you need to be able to take naps and get full 8 or 10 hours of sleep. I remember I would sleep for 12 hours on weekends because I was so exhausted from this week of studying. On the weekend, I would really give myself time to sleep well.

That was important, and then during the weekdays, I would still take naps. I would take one or two hour naps almost every single day because I was studying so much it would exhaust my whole brain. Make sure that you account for that.

No cramming! Don’t do the cramming thing. Cramming is just ridiculous and stupid. Cramming is all about jumping through hoops for someone else. Remember, that’s not about you. When you’re cramming for something, I want you to pause and ask yourself – “Wait a minute, what the hell is going on here? Why am I doing this? I’m like a slave, jumping through hoops. I’m like a dog. I don’t want to be that.”

Reground yourself and bring yourself back to the core principle of why you want to be studying. When you’re actually enjoying studying and you like it and you’re fascinated by topics we’ve been talking about, then you don’t want cramming. Cramming is painful and stressful. You’re not calm or comfortable.

Instead, you want to give yourself more time to study. You want to slow the whole process down, drag it out, and extend it out so that you’re enjoying it. You have to enjoy it in your body and physically. You have to enjoy it in your brain. Cramming isn’t enjoyable.

Finally, if you’re struggling with just buckling down and putting these positive habits into place and getting really disciplined about your study, then I really want you to take a look at the fact that the pain of avoiding study is much worse than the studying itself.

There’s nothing really painful about studying. Studying is enjoyable – picking up a book, sitting on a couch and reading it, or snuggling in bed. Studying is cool because you can set up the environment however you want. You can be sitting there. You can have a nice coffee, drink or soda next to you.

You can have some nice food and some nice music playing. You can really set up a comfortable learning environment, sitting and reading a book, jotting some notes, watching a video that you’ve been told to watch, or doing some math problems. If you slow yourself down, you’ll just get conscious of the fact that this is actually a cool and comfortable environment scenario that you’re sitting in.

It’s actually quite enjoyable. Your brain is learning new stuff. That’s pretty enjoyable. Don’t fall into this trap of resisting studying just because people are telling you to study. This is one problem because everyone’s telling you to study all the time – your parents, teachers and grades, everything is so important that you’re getting stressed out about it, when in fact, it’s a very relaxing activity.

It’s very important to transition away from extrinsic motivation and get connected to why you want to study so much.

Those are my tips for how to be a really effective studier. This stuff served me really well throughout my days. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA in high school and then in college, it was like a 3.9 or something around that. It’s pretty damn high.

If you adopt all these principles, all these mindsets and some of these techniques, you’re going to be able to get a 4.0 GPA and maybe even beyond. The most important thing is you’ll be able to translate all this amazing wisdom you learn in school into your adult life, which is where comes in.

I’ll tell you about that later in my other videos.

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments. Click the like button to like this video. Share the video, post it on Facebook and share it with a friend. Come and sign up to my newsletter at, it’s a free newsletter.

I release new videos about how to self-actualize, grow yourself, and learn about yourself so that you’re not just learning about topics like physics, math and history. These are cool topics. What’s really the most powerful and coolest that I found you can learn is learning about yourself, how your mind works and the strategies and techniques to achieve amazing results in life.

That, to me, is really worth learning. It’s really fascinating, and also very powerful. It’s very high value activity. You want to be learning about yourself. I hope you’re really fascinated about yourself, speaking of different topics you can be fascinated about. Sign up and you will be on track with that! I can help you to get your whole life into place if you just keep watching the videos every single week. Sign up, it’s free.

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carlene says:

Can this work just as well for people who are older, like 55,that are in college now?

Anna says:

Leo, thank you so much. I sure will share with my 8th graders. In fact, I will embed this video in my classroom site. Ok?

Bob says:

He curses quite a bit in this video, a great video, but might want to be careful with students.

Spela says:

Thanks Leo for this, I appreciate your shared knowledge a lot! I was struggling for finding my motivation for studying for PMP exam, as I am a mum and I have not been studying since college. After watching your video I got all the answers I needed: 1. I have to reschedule my studying time on evening time because that time my husband can take over my baby and can maintain routine since I am not sleeping well at night, waking up at 5 am won’t work either… So first problem is addressed and hopefully solved. The rest I will just follow. I also loved your advice about not hurrying but actually wishing to study, to understand the subject as deep as it takes and to do each time self-testing as many times as it is needed. Thanks a lot and keep doing this work as you do it great

Derrick says:

Hi leo thanks for this
There is a topic i think you may be interested in, it basically is the detrimental effects of porn in the 21st century for the younger generation. It would be nice if you did a video on the psychological effects of this. If you wanted to do some interesting research, a good place to start would be a reddit page called /r nofap.

Riya says:

Hi Leo, I am currently in my final year of undergrad studies and I am finding it hard to decide whether to study further or do a job. Although I would like study further but again I am not sure whether to do my specialization in the same area I studied as major in my undergrad or to change it. What would you recommend me to do? should I immediately go for study in grad school or do a job for 1 year and then decide if I really want to study further?

Ivan says:

Hugely recommend to watch this TED talk: and go for a course on Coursera.
Learning to learn is the base which helps you to absorb the information of any type with joy. Even “complicated” math, science stuff.

Kathy Germany says:

You answer all my questions…again I am studying a loooong time now (sport science&german philology to be a teacher).
Since 3 years I have a nice side job in a fitness studio just for women. I love that job very much so I put a lot of effort to it and it came sneakingly that I allowed the job to take me out of studying effectively. I felt tired of studying, enjoyed that I earned money. But it’s a sidejob and doesn’t give enough money for living… And as you said: to find out that I avoided studying, to find out that I don’t trust myself enough in life that got me a lot of pain. Because I want to finish it before it finishes me!

If you’d ask me few years ago I would have sworn that I am a teacher already. But I’m not. Still. And now I feel getting tired of studying although I love this ‘not so severe’-life. But I loose my self-esteem more and more the more time it takes.
Writing my master thesis motivated is my acute obstacle and I have these hard fluctuations of up-and downturns of understanding and motivation on the one hand and on the other doubting me and my way… Inside me eros & thanatos are fighting…

‘by accident’ I found you few weeks ago (fate ) and I am very thankful how you share your experiences and wisdom. All your vids about self-esteem, motivation, time-management… they are my shiny luminous jewels for this blistering dark time I am in since few month…

ThX, Leo.

Ruairi says:

Thank you so much for these videos I’m really grateful

Tumea says:

Thanks alot! Very practical advice. That should help me get back on track because as you said in another video (and that pops up quite frequently in my head during the day), I have to stop wasting my time by doing “stupid shit”

Artavia says:

Leo youre like a breath of fresh air….You are truly amazing at what you do…

Paul says:

Hey Leo. can you add video transcripts for this article. I feel like it would help me out a lot and possibly other people as well. I am more of a visual type of person who learns and remembers better by reading rather than hearing. Anyways, thanks for the video.

Anna says:

Leo, I did show this video to my 8th Graders. Our Principal, AP, and couple other teacher did come. Everybody loved it, including our students. I just had to mute at the beginning for few seconds.

Leo Gura says:

Haha, I’m surprised my foul-mouthed videos are allowed in your school. Awesome!

Anna says:

No,no. It would not be allowed. What I did is muted when you were recommending to forget ….. In your first ten minutes only. Other than that kids were impressed. I actually paused so they would list 20 things… Thanks again. You are above and beyond

Leo Gura says:

Cool! Thanks for going beyond the curriculum for your kids!

Teeren says:

This is a great video which another perspective of learning. And it is the best approach for studying. Every student should adopt this technique. Thanks Leo for developing this video and sharing it to the world.

Eelco says:

Can you explain further why taking notes is so important? during university I stopped taking notes and just listened and read the books, because I never reviewed the notes.
Secondly, I was/am good at memorising, but not at connecting the dots. How can I improve that?

Leo Gura says:

Taking notes is good even if you never re-read them. The process of writing things down cements it in your mind.

Connecting the dots takes curiosity. Be more curious about what you’re studying and create room in your schedule to just sit and think about these things.

Christa says:

STUDYING IS ENJOYABLE. Thanks for putting it out there

tank says:

how to create a successful life with no college

Amanda says:

How would you deal with frustration in studying? On a constant basis, I run into problems where I go through the “I just don’t understand!”, even with the repetition approach. As if the information just doesn’t want to sink in or simply information is going in one ear and out the other? You say that curiosity and becoming passionate of the subject you are studying should be your fuel. But what if it feels like you’re wading up stream, and on some occasions, under the clock? I’m sure that there are plenty of people here who would get hit with the dreaded quote from their teachers “We are having a test tomorrow (or in a short amount of days)” and you simply can’t catch on in time?

Leo Gura says:

If you don’t understand, find someone who understands who can explain it. We live in an information age. There are good explanations around. Read books, watch videos, etc.

A test tomorrow? Come on! You know the test is coming from weeks if not months before. You have to take responsibility here.

Amanda says:

Alright then, what about pop quizzes that are counted for credit? It’s been over 10 years since I have been in school. Maybe it was simply the school that I went to, but on occasion, we would be given an instant quiz practically the day after. Not everything is on a syllabus. Especially in high school where they were non-existant.

Tara says:

The teachers on my school should be like you! You are so inspiring and wise. Thank you for that!

jurga says:

I love your videos. Do you need any volunteer work?

Sean Gibson says:

I have realized starbucks is not a healthy study place! Thank you for showing me the best practices for studying and why studying is not memorizing to pass a test. This makes me realize why I don’t remember much from school because I was cramming, always doing bare minimum work for someone else. Now I am energized to slow down and learn about what fascinates me for my own understanding of myself and life. I see now thanks to these insights and key mindsets that studying is more than what I thought it was.

Dimitri says:

This works for you and I understand that. I understand the point but In my point of view I don’t want to learn something I am not attracted to it.

For me you force yourself to work hard to get it, that’s your belief to get what you want. And everything you do, you have to work hard to get it.
you transformed your study by changing what you don’t like by a positive meaning of learning.
Working hard it is just your permission slip.
you don’t have to work hard, you just have to change your belief.
It is like no pain, no gain. transform it to gain without pain.

Anyway, I like your videos I am going to watch some more. One of them made me realize that I was the ego of my soul and this ego also has a polarization.

ali says:

Thanks, finally i found someone who really interested in learning .
I have question though,
how i can achieve that when i have mandatory grades i have to reach or i will lose the schoolarship and the governoment will send me back home?
Thank you

Changoo says:

Thanks LEO. i just discover you. I am so exited and watching your videos is like a drug. As a content creator I believe that you should have more views.

My questions is: do you use telepromter to shot your videos? If not, how can I talk like you in your videos. You are very organized and excellent communicator. Regards.

Pedro Silva says:

You’re just incredible. You’re the real prof about what can do personal development…

Calvin says:

Thank you sir ……………………
this video really helped me. I can feel the change in my self

Victor says:

Thank you for the Videos. I feel very lazy trying to study. Whenever i feel like studying, this is when i remember my bed. Can you give me some tips to do away with this? Thanks

Ola says:

Thanks I like it so much so clear and easy to do it

Arun says:

thank you so much you gave me a huge wake up call

Angelica says:

Thank you so much for your insight. I graduated this year as valedictorian of my high school class, and before viewing your videos I thought that I was undeserving of this academic honor. After watching your video about being a victim, I can openly admit that I was being a victim when it came to being valedictorian. I believed that the only reason I was awarded this honor was because I was at a school that wasnt prestigious enough. I thought that if I was at a better school, I would not have been valectioriam. I thought that I was just the best of the worst. However, now I realize that I deserve this title. I am trying to see myself as being just as worthy as another valedictorian from any other school. Also, this studying video has made me realize that I did well in school, not because the course load was not challenging, but because I have developed every single one of your studying tips without anyone having to teach them to me. It also made me aware that not everyone knows how to effectively study. This blew my mind. I never thought about how I was studying. I just knew I was loving what I was learning. I became addicted to those moments when things connect and you truly understand a concept. You were spot on about every single habit, and I can confirm that the same habits have served me well and will continue to serve me well in my future. Now I can’t help but smile knowing that what I had done got me to where I am. Before I was terrified that my school had not prepared me for the academic challenges of college. Now I am no longer as nervous about college. Every single honors and Advanced Placement course that I took in high school (20+) has prepared me just like any other student going to college next fall. My GPA of above 4.0 is just as valid as any other GPA of above 4.0 given at another school. I will not let my hometown and previous school environment hinder my success in college. I will continue to remind myself that I have the power to succeed even though it may take 100x the amount of effort I put forth thus far in my life. Thank you.

chro says:

hi leo,ive got no word to express my gratitude.u really awesome
ive tried alot to make a study habit and stick it into my routine but it jus last for at most a weeK.but i found ur video helpful indeed and i hope this time i can do it

Anish says:


Great video.Thanks for sharing , this has oce again been very insightful.It’s great to know how a person can enhance their skills especially studying through listening to you and watching your video’s .Ultimately its great to learn from you and to take what you say and put it into practice.I must say whatever you have suggested I do with a little bit of variation ,and honestly ive seen really positive outputs from it.


sameer says:

hey leo,
it’s like i have watched many of your videos i have left tv on your advise and only thing i have in my life right now is EXAM this is a very crucial phase of my life its going to decide my future, so i got to study physics (which i love like any thing) chemistry(which i hate) and maths (i am fine with it) so right now i am in a very MISERABLE SITUATION ,its like i didnt study consistently all year long and now i have just got 5 months to study for my exam which is suppose to be a two year course( so 12 months study in 5 month ) so whenever i sit down to study all i see is a huge mountain that blocks all my sight and i cant see my goal as all i know i have to study too many things in very less time and i dont know where to start from as there is so much to do .
so how should i proceed from now on what should be my strategy can i still do it?
what would u have done had u been in my place?
cant you make some vedio which also stresses on TIME dimension as in your vedios you say start doing things in block and take baby step but for people like me who dont have time left is there anything you could make so i could relate it too.
i am sorry for this unclear and not to the point comment(right now i am depressed and just wish to write down whatever i am feeling right now…)

Yeerina says:

How will I concentrate on my subject when a few thoughts disturbs me while studying? I get easily distracted even if I’m sitting in a closed room.

Abhijeeth says:

Mr. Leo ,

How do I find whether I am fascinated in a topic or subject?
Somedays I seem to like it , some days I don’t.

Please help me out in this

Koushik r srivatsa says:

Remember to watch alert your mind carefully and have intrinsic motivation. Thereby you mind never disturbs you with a negative thought.

Emily says:

Dear Leo,

I just stumbled over your youtube video on how to study. And I have to say you are the first youtuber that give a more indepth and philosophical view.

I was just wondering about the notes you are taking. 1) do you take notes first from a book/lecture and then make questions from them? 2) Or you just read your notes and recite them in your head? Or do you go back to your notes and read them passively?

Sorry if this might be trivial and very stupid questions. But I’ve been struggling all my life with studying due to my concentration issues, and never know on how to study. I have ADD, I ve been called stupid or being looked down on. People have told me that I can never be a doctor.

If you have time, I would be very grateful if you could answer my questions.
All the best!

Ziv says:

Hey leo, I have a question, I have a friend who is now studyng at MIT University, and another friend who does not studying and doing nothing with himself, they both learned at the same “high level” class at school, so, the question is what is the difference between their thinking, I read and heard what you said in the video and I reckon that is because the MIT student wants to understand life more than the unsuccessful onee and that’s led to this way of thinking that makes him last longer at high level of education and is this his core motivation to his success that eventually led him to higher grades, am I correct? Thank you Leo, great video

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