Dramatically Improve Your Study Efficiency With The 80/20 Rule
I want to tell you about a good friend of mine who helps me out a lot every now and then. His name is Vilfredo Pareto. Unfortunately I can’t thank him in person because he passed away in 1923 but I think you will find the “Pareto Principle” that’s named after him very helpful in your HSC studies.
The Pareto Principle is also known as the 80/20 Rule. Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. 80% of peas in his garden were produced by 20% of the pea pods. This rule can be and is observed in a variety of things from the nature to business. It says that 80% of results, come from the 20% of the effort!!
So how can you apply this to the HSC? We certainly are not saying that you should not be studying some parts of your syllabus. We recommend that you understand as much of it as possible. But there are some areas that you should focus more on because they will likely give you a disproportionately larger share of your final mark.
Unfortunately, it’s not obvious which 20% you need to focus on. But there are a few things you can do to work out what these high value areas are.
First are past papers. Without a doubt they will give you the best indicator of things that are likely to come up again. If you look at few of the past papers for your subjects over the past few years it will tell you 2 things:
1. Which concepts are likely to come up again
2. Which concepts and question types deliver the most marks
Which areas should you then be paying extra attention to? That’s right, the ones that fit into these 2 criteria. The HSC just isn’t about knowing the subject, you need to be able to respond to a wide variety of questions so practicing the ones that give you the most marks is a smart thing to do.
Second is to talk to past students. You can ask them about the things they did to make their study smart and more efficient. They may also be able to help you identify high value focus areas. Teachers and tutors will be handy too.
Third, you might find that understanding core concepts would make it easier to understand more complicated lessons you encounter later in the year. For instance, having a strong understanding of algebra will make it much easier to grasp a whole host of topics not just in maths but in other subjects as well. This means that you can learn more complicated topics much faster and with less effort just by learning one or two foundational topics really well. 80/20!
Do you have any questions about 80/20 or any other topic? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to get back to each question as soon as possible.
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