How to Study Less and Get Better Results in University/College – The -5 +50 RULE for Students | SAS Podcast 14

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“How can I study less while getting better grades in university/school/college?”

In today’s episode, I explain how you can use the “-5+50 rule” to get better results while studying less as a student.

It’s all about preparation. Invest your time initially by organising, understanding and preparing. You will then reap the compounding effect of the investment as your semester goes on.

I hope you enjoy the show! Feel free to discuss anything in the comments below. I try to respond to every comment 🙂

Hey! My name’s Kyle.

From a sample of 25,000 students that applied to enter architecture school:
15.30% of them were accepted.
8.50% of them made it through to the second half of their education.
2.04% of them were awarded a degree in Architecture (post-graduate)
0.78% of them ended up working a job in architecture.

Successful Archi Student is a platform for architecture students to learn off one another to become the LESS THAN 1% of students who end up being successful in the profession.

On the podcast, you’ll hear from practicing architects, other successful students and myself, Kyle, a third year architecture student from South Australia.

Doing so, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to excel past the rest of your cohort and build the skills needed to take your work to another level.

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Episode 14 Transcript. How to Study Less and Get Better Results in University and College


This is the Successful Archi Student’s Podcast episode 14.

Welcome to the episode today. I want to talk about how to get better grades or better results at university by studying less. Throughout this episode, I’m going to be talking about something called the take five plus 50 rule, which is something I came up with to describe this process, I guess. And really what it means is that you’re putting in an initial or you’re taking 5% of extra time, at the start of initial effort and work from that 5% you’re receiving 50%, better results, and 50% less time spent overall on your projects. And what I want to start this off by saying is that in architecture school, we are given a brief or a project assessment guide. It’s kind of a criteria that we have to go through that describes everything that the client wants and everything that the teachers want from us in that project. And this is no different studying chemistry or studying business, you’re given a submission criteria sheet or exam requirements or something like that. And it’s exactly the same. You’re going to have this submission sheet that’s given to you and that describes everything you need to learn throughout the semester, and everything you need to do in your subjects. And in your Individually assessments and know in order to do well at those projects and assessments. And so the idea of this take five plus 50 role involves understanding the brief, completely understanding this information that your teachers have given you. Understanding that completely so that you’re, you know, everything that you need to know about the assessment so that you can start to prioritize the important work rather than just doing what’s urgent, because a lot of the time we will be I know that I used to do this a lot. I’ll be in, in architecture school, I’ll have these assessments coming up to the deadline. And I wouldn’t organize to have them completed before the deadline. And so what I found myself doing was, I’d be defending off these assessments as they were coming closer to the the weeks before the deadline. So where I had some projects that were worth 50% of my total grade, and these projects that were coming closer to the deadline, which are only 20% of my total grade. They were urgent I needed to get them done. And so I would put off doing the important work. In order to do the busy work, the urgent work that urgent work has said that really weirdly, but I hope you understand that. So the way that you can understand what’s important and what is urgent is by looking at the waiting that the teachers have given the assessments or the course, because in my architecture school, my design studio course, which is one of my courses, it’s worth twice as much as all my other courses just because it’s a whole lot more work. And so where a lot of people last semester spent their time working on these other projects that were coming up to the deadlines, which weren’t as important as our studio work. I was kind of not ignoring them, but I smashed him out as quickly as I could before the deadlines, so I didn’t have to worry about them. And then with all my extra time I was spending that was pretty much spending twice as much time on my studio work because it was worth twice as much as the other projects and so my effort in that important work. My design studio work rewarded me with a lot better


results in my overall grade. They might be wondering how can you put it That extra 5% at the start in order to get 50% better results 50% less time spent overall on your projects and assessments. Well, it starts by understanding the brief, completely understanding what your teachers are asking of you, because you don’t want to get halfway through. I’ll tell you a bit of a story here. I, in my last year of high school, I was studying for my maths exam. And I left about six days to study for my big final exam at the end of the year from my maths course. And where I thought this was a lot of time, it just really wasn’t. A fact is that I thought that I could get all the work I needed done within that time frame, which I definitely could have. But that left no room for mistakes. And boy did I make some mistakes in this math course on for this exam, but I spent probably the first four days studying for two of the four topics for this exam. And we were allowed to have this change shape we’re allowed to bring in an a4 piece of paper with all the formulas and rules that we’ve learned on it. So it’s called a cheat sheet, which helps us kind of memorize everything we need to know. And so I spent the first four days out of the six days I had studying for two out of the four topics. So I was already falling behind in my work. However, I spent ages and ages, probably 14 hours a day for those four days, writing on my cheat sheet writing everything I needed to learn, and learning everything I needed to know. And at the end of those four days, I started telling myself okay, I’ve got this all perfect. I’ve done it as, as well as I can. I know everything about these two topics. I’ll now move on to the second half, which is the other two topics. And we’re only had two days left. I was already stressing as I said, but we got to that point and I decided to look at what my next two topics were, as I didn’t even know them for some reason. I was just blind to that. And so when I was going through my criteria of the brief and trying to find what the next two course, what the next two subjects were that I needed to learn for this exam, I found out that The previous two topics I was just working on and that I just spent the last four days grinding out and learning aren’t actually in the exam. So I just spent the last four days when I’ve got six days to study for this. And I spent those four days learning something I didn’t need to learn. And that was not even in the exam. And the fact is, I could have, I could have avoided that mistake. If I had just started my semester off by looking at the topics I need to learn and spending that initial 5% of my time to save myself a damn awful amount of time. In the long run. However, the good thing is I did learn from that and so now I do spend that initial 5% of my time before the semester begins to learn all the topics I need to learn and to figure out what it is that my teachers are asking of me. So I played with that story is that if you put in an initial 5% of your time before the semester begins to look through all of the course criteria, all your project assessment briefs and, and the criteria rubrics that are given to you, all of the paperwork that’s given to you, you got to go through it. thousand times, read the briefs, understand it completely write it in your own words, because it will save you a lot of time in the long run. And it’s only an initial couple of hours of work. You know, you might spend one day you know, if you spent eight hours in one day just doing this task of just going through everything and reading it all and understanding it writing points, you know that eight hours will save you a whole lot of time in the future, because you’ll be studying exactly what you need to learn. You know, you probably won’t make as big as a mistake as I did in my maths exam. However, what you’ll be doing instead is actually learning and studying first things that you actually need to know that will be in your exams that will be in your projects. And so if you take this back to architecture school, if you look at your briefs and understand it completely before you get stuck into your projects, you’re going to know exactly what your teachers are wanting you to be producing the right documents, the right drawings, the right models and renders and everything and that’s really important because you only want to produce what your teachers want to see. Otherwise, it’s going to be pretty, pretty useless. So I recommend going that step further. And rather than just reading through your briefs and understanding it completely, take that next step of organizing all your documents and all your folders and, and your virtual documents and folders as well on your computers before starting your assessments. And before starting your semester. And before you begin each individual assessment, it’s important to go back over and review what you’ve already written and learn about those assessments. I put in initial 5% of hard work, kind of preparing and organizing yourself for the semester before it begins, you will see yourself saving tons of time, I’d say up to 50% of time spent on your projects, studying irrelevant things. And you also see a 50% better results in your grades, in my opinion. And that’s because it allows you to focus on the important work so you’ll know exactly what’s important, because you would have looked at what your teachers find important if you’ve got a project that’s worth 15% grade compared to something that’s worth 50% of your grade five zero percent? Well, that 50% grade is going to be worth a lot more to your total grade. So you’d spend obviously a lot more time on that project rather than a 15% graded project. And so that allows you to prioritize the important work rather than the urgent work, really this idea of taking 5% of your time to save 50% of your time, this take five plus 50% role. It’s the idea of investing your time. It’s just like investing in stocks or real estate. If you’re investing in those things, your money is going to grow and grow and grow and it’s going to save you Oh, it’s going to keep on compounding. And that’s kind of the same idea of investing your time by preparing and organizing yourself. If you invest 5% of your initial time that’s going to compound and you’re going to see it be really beneficial because if you’re putting in initial 5% of your time before the semester begins, well that’s extremely helpful because you already have 5% advantage over your other students, not that you’re competing with anyone, but what I’m saying is, you’re going to be a lot more ahead than everybody else, because you put that initial 5% of time in. And what that means then is that just your teachers will see that and they’ll spend, they’ll want to spend a lot more time with you, because they’ll see you’re motivated. And they’ll see that you’re the one that’s putting in the effort. And so that compounds because if they’re spending a lot more time with you, then you’re getting a lot more knowledge and a lot more of their wisdom and a lot more of their experience. And you’re becoming an overall better student because of that, and you get better grades, you’ll get better networking opportunities. Like let’s say for example, you’re a student studying architecture, like the majority of the people listen to this like me. Well, in that case, then


what happens if you do a really good project where you’ve spent that initial 5% of your time of the semester, organizing yourself preparing yourself and your teachers notice that and they recognize your hard work and I spend a lot of time with you will now build this connection with your teacher. They want to teach you more they want to mentor you. And what happens when you finish the semester, and they start talking to other architects, other people in the industry. And they say, Well, one of these architects says, I’m looking for an intern, do you know anyone, your teachers going to immediately just think of you, when they hear someone asked for that they need an intern. And so you just create yourself that opportunity from working hard from putting in that initial investment of time. So I hope you guys found it helpful. This has been me talking really fast. I hope you understood exactly what I’m saying. If not, I do go a lot more in depth about this in my new ebook. It’s called How to ace any project in architecture school, and it’s a step by step guide to achieving excellent results as a student of architecture. And so if you’re interested in learning more about that, you can visit the link in the description. There’s heaps of students that have gotten it and they’re loving it. I’m getting a lot of great feedback from it. I’m constantly making changes to it as well, so it’s always improving. I just want to say thank you guys so much for watching this video. In this episode of the successful students podcast If you enjoyed it, please subscribe to the YouTube channel or wherever you’re watching this on, please like it and leave me a comment. I’m always happy to read your comments and reply to them and respond to them and create some connections with you guys. So, thank you guys so much for watching, and I’ll see you in the next episode.



If you have a project you want to delve in to and discuss, or you have some useful tips for other students you think would be helpful, please, send me an email to and get in touch about it!
Otherwise, direct message me on Instagram @successfularchistudent and I’ll be keen to set up a skype call.

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