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Study Is Hard Work

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The classic guide for the college-bound student on how to acquire and maintain good study skills. Originally published in 1956, but just as useful and relevant today, this book covers everything from developing a vocabulary to taking tests and using libraries. Acquiring and maintaining good study skills is, as the author says, hard work. But it is also the only way to succe The classic guide for the college-bound student on how to acquire and maintain good study skills. Originally published in 1956, but just as useful and relevant today, this book covers everything from developing a vocabulary to taking tests and using libraries. Acquiring and maintaining good study skills is, as the author says, hard work. But it is also the only way to succeed. William H. Armstrong was himself a teacher (as well as author of the Newbery Medal-winning novel Sounder) and this book comes from his own experience in the classroom. Only a teacher would make the observation, "It is paradoxical that listening is the easiest way to learn but the hardest study skill to master." Chapters includes Learning to Listen, The Desire to Learn, Getting More From What You Read, Putting Ideas in Order, Letting Mathematics Serve You, How to Study Science, and Tests and Examinations. Armstrong wants all students to develop successful habits. As he writes, "The beginning of success is interest. Being interested is the basic obligation that is necessary for success in whatever work you do." Work is always necessary for success but Amstrong's guidance and insight will make the work much less hard and much more rewarding.


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The classic guide for the college-bound student on how to acquire and maintain good study skills. Originally published in 1956, but just as useful and relevant today, this book covers everything from developing a vocabulary to taking tests and using libraries. Acquiring and maintaining good study skills is, as the author says, hard work. But it is also the only way to succe The classic guide for the college-bound student on how to acquire and maintain good study skills. Originally published in 1956, but just as useful and relevant today, this book covers everything from developing a vocabulary to taking tests and using libraries. Acquiring and maintaining good study skills is, as the author says, hard work. But it is also the only way to succeed. William H. Armstrong was himself a teacher (as well as author of the Newbery Medal-winning novel Sounder) and this book comes from his own experience in the classroom. Only a teacher would make the observation, "It is paradoxical that listening is the easiest way to learn but the hardest study skill to master." Chapters includes Learning to Listen, The Desire to Learn, Getting More From What You Read, Putting Ideas in Order, Letting Mathematics Serve You, How to Study Science, and Tests and Examinations. Armstrong wants all students to develop successful habits. As he writes, "The beginning of success is interest. Being interested is the basic obligation that is necessary for success in whatever work you do." Work is always necessary for success but Amstrong's guidance and insight will make the work much less hard and much more rewarding.

30 review for Study Is Hard Work

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kiri

    This book was originally published in 1956, and it reads that way, in a delightfully didactic manner. Consider the opening sentence: "Those who seek miracles or panaceas to replace work should stop here." Armstrong, a teacher himself, has a lot of good advice to deliver. He describes how a student can best position himself or herself to get the most out of school and studying. I found myself nodding along as I read, and I see that many people recommend getting this book for high school or college This book was originally published in 1956, and it reads that way, in a delightfully didactic manner. Consider the opening sentence: "Those who seek miracles or panaceas to replace work should stop here." Armstrong, a teacher himself, has a lot of good advice to deliver. He describes how a student can best position himself or herself to get the most out of school and studying. I found myself nodding along as I read, and I see that many people recommend getting this book for high school or college students, but at the same time I'm not convinced that it's likely to be well received by young folks - the advice feels *right* once you've been through school, looking back, but it's probably harder to see and employ when young. Despite the assumption of a rigid, traditional educational experience (no fields trips, hands-on, active, or inquiry-based learning here - just lectures and book study), there is much that is empowering. Armstrong talks about the gifts you've been given that enable you to be an individual, to focus your will and achieve, and to build a rich memory of knowledge and experience. He places the responsibility for identifying internal motivation and for sticking to a schedule on the shoulders of the learner. He has specific, salient advice about how to improve reading, listening in class, summarize concepts, and improve in pretty much every basic subject in school. My absolute favorite part is chapter 7, "Books and the Library." Armstrong launches into a 4-paragraph paean on the Book that begins by describing books as "the memory of mankind." He goes on: "[Books] push back the boundaries of our ignorance, and open wide vistas of thought and history that reach beyond the incomplete and narrow experience of the generation of which we are a part, and we become a part of the whole human community in all time and in all places." If nothing else, read this chapter. Better yet, read the whole book - it's short and very enjoyable!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kazen

    The text down the left side of the cover says that Study is Hard Work is "the most accessible and lucid text available on acquiring and keeping study skills through a lifetime", and the table of contents points in that direction with headings like "The Desire to Learn" and "Acquiring Skill in Methods". I gobbled up the first few chapters which discuss the importance of listening, getting more from what you read, and the merits of scheduling your study. I found myself nodding and marking a couple The text down the left side of the cover says that Study is Hard Work is "the most accessible and lucid text available on acquiring and keeping study skills through a lifetime", and the table of contents points in that direction with headings like "The Desire to Learn" and "Acquiring Skill in Methods". I gobbled up the first few chapters which discuss the importance of listening, getting more from what you read, and the merits of scheduling your study. I found myself nodding and marking a couple of well written lines that I agree with. After that Armstrong breaks out study strategies by subject, and it quickly becomes apparent that this book is aimed at middle and high school readers. How to build your vocabulary using prefixes and suffixes. How to outline a textbook chapter. How to structure a paragraph. While I could glean some tidbits from the first section there was nothing for me here. Something that struck me is how much education has changed since this book was written in 1956. Armstrong talks extensively about tests that require paragraphs and full essays as answers, while much of what I encountered in school was short answer or multiple choice. I suspect that the balance has shifted even more in that direction since I graduated. It's refreshing that he doesn't resort to "hacks" or how to rig technology to make your study more efficient, but the focus on middle school level material doesn't suit me well. Might be good for a young person, but lifelong learners can move on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Moritz

    How to study better—from the fundamentals (learning to listen, understanding words) to the details (how to use books, maximizing exams). Sometimes more vague than practical but overall a useful read. Full of great quotes too. Recommended reading for students young and old. "Beware of the commencement speaker who lauds you for the goal you have reached. You really have reached only the starting post. From this point on your success will be measured largely by your ability to study."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jigme505

    I wish I knew about this book when I was in college. It would have definitely helped me get aquatinted with the necessary habits required to excel in school. Well, better late than never!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Godine Publisher & Black Sparrow Press

    "This uncompromising title foreshadows the clarity and honesty contained within . . . The student who reads [this:] carefully will be prepared not merely for success in school, but for something far more important: a life of self-fulfillment. David R. Godine is to be praised for bringing this remarkable book before the public in a new edition." —John R. Silber, President, Boston University "He speaks truthfully about the discipline required for learning, and about the pleasures of order and system "This uncompromising title foreshadows the clarity and honesty contained within . . . The student who reads [this:] carefully will be prepared not merely for success in school, but for something far more important: a life of self-fulfillment. David R. Godine is to be praised for bringing this remarkable book before the public in a new edition." —John R. Silber, President, Boston University "He speaks truthfully about the discipline required for learning, and about the pleasures of order and system in acquiring knowledge. Any reader, of any age, will enjoy this book." —Jill Ker Conway, Author and Former President, Smith College "There is much to admire in this wonderfully commonsensical book. The optimistic, and realistic, assumption that learning is accessible to the ambitious, that one can learn how to learn, underlies a kind of democratic scholasticism. Mr. Armstrong knows that the bright futures belong to students who make the effort. The modest effort required to read this practical little book should be handsomely repaid, in school and in life." —Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Director of Admissions, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges "An indispensable classic; comprehensive, clear, pragmatic." —Ann Quinn, Dean of Studies, Deerfield Academy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    Note that this book is hosted free on HathiTrust. It boils down to this: Learn to see stories for their structure: theories wrapped up in facts and anecdotes. Learn to see stories as opportunities to get excited and discover more about the world, and use this passion to fuel your studies. But most of all, you are a discipulus, so embody discipline. This was recommended to me as a kind of studying bible, and indeed this is a bible on how to be the perfect student, but NOT how to perfect your learn Note that this book is hosted free on HathiTrust. It boils down to this: Learn to see stories for their structure: theories wrapped up in facts and anecdotes. Learn to see stories as opportunities to get excited and discover more about the world, and use this passion to fuel your studies. But most of all, you are a discipulus, so embody discipline. This was recommended to me as a kind of studying bible, and indeed this is a bible on how to be the perfect student, but NOT how to perfect your learning. The author seems held up on this idea that studying should always be a longhand activity, whole sentences in outline form, as though creating muscle memory for your writing hand were one's highest priority, and that this whole sentence outline should be reviewed often. If this were how people really learned, children wouldn't need to be drugged to go to school. Resources I found more helpful in that area: Anthony Metivier runs a blog/podcast on every day memory techniques as opposed to competition techniques. The Key to Study book and blog run by Anna and Lev Goldenouch teach how to learn by linking visuals in your head in a kind of mindmap.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gorges

    If you look at the description for this book on Amazon’s page, it says that “this is the best guide ever published on how to acquire and maintain good study skills.” That sounds like it’s filled with a good dose of hyperbole, but it is actually a pretty accurate description. It was certainly written with college students in mind, and if you are currently in college or plan on going to college soon, than you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of this book for yourself. However, even if you are n If you look at the description for this book on Amazon’s page, it says that “this is the best guide ever published on how to acquire and maintain good study skills.” That sounds like it’s filled with a good dose of hyperbole, but it is actually a pretty accurate description. It was certainly written with college students in mind, and if you are currently in college or plan on going to college soon, than you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of this book for yourself. However, even if you are not a college student, this is still a great book to pick up. That is because it can help you develop great study skills that can be applied to the way you learn in general. One of the greatest skills one can have is to be adaptable and learn new things, and this is a great book that can help you accomplish just that. That is why I featured it as one of my top 5 picks for 2019 on my website.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Albie

    Study Is Hard Work: The Most Accessible and Lucid Text Available on Acquiring and Keeping Study Skills Through a Lifetime by William Howard Armstrong (1998)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janelle V. Dvorak

    Very useful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Falls

    best gift for any scholar

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ross Bonaime

    "Study Is Hard Work" ends an unintentional streak of my 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die list centered around reading, whether focused on reading that can change your life ("The Autobiography of Malcolm X," "The Uncommon Reader," "Reading Lolita in Tehran"), reading as a way to a better life ("A Time of Gifts," "The Gentleman in Trollope"), or just a history of reading ("In the Vineyard of the Text"). "Study Is Hard Work" is more a textbook that any book I've read on this list so far, an instr "Study Is Hard Work" ends an unintentional streak of my 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die list centered around reading, whether focused on reading that can change your life ("The Autobiography of Malcolm X," "The Uncommon Reader," "Reading Lolita in Tehran"), reading as a way to a better life ("A Time of Gifts," "The Gentleman in Trollope"), or just a history of reading ("In the Vineyard of the Text"). "Study Is Hard Work" is more a textbook that any book I've read on this list so far, an instructional guide in how reading and writing the right way can help improve how one learns and retains information. I'm quite glad I got to this book this early on in this list, as I'd be pretty pissed off if this ended up in my last stretch of books. "Study Is Hard Work" feels like it should be essential reading for anyone entering high school or college, and especially for all teachers. That being said, if I had read this when I was fifteen, I probably would've rolled my eyes, but now, I feel like there's a lot of great ideas here. But also, I feel like many of my teachers attempted to utilize these tactics in my education, to varying degrees of success. Was I ever going to read a history book for fun, for the sake of appreciating my history textbooks more? Absolutely not. But would I attempt to organize my notes or plan my day better? Sure. I'd be very curious to know how many of my high school teachers read this book, which would explain why I feel like I've heard so many of these ideas growing up. "Study Is Hard Work" never really felt like I was learning any groundbreaking ideas because of this, but rather, I felt like I was getting a refresher course on reading and study tips that I hadn't heard in years. William H. Armstrong gives a nice refresher to my days in school, but I'm not sure I was hearing anything new in "Study Is Hard Work."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Edward Chamberlin

    Definitely a worthwhile book to read if you're at school for any reason, but also if you choose to pursue autodidacticism of any sort. It was probably geared to be read at a younger age than when I read it, but it had some worthwhile tips, specifically regarding the study of individual subjects or how to approach books. A lot of its tips overlapped with How to Read a Book, which came out around the same time (1940s or '50s), and both are definitely worth studying if you want to get more out of r Definitely a worthwhile book to read if you're at school for any reason, but also if you choose to pursue autodidacticism of any sort. It was probably geared to be read at a younger age than when I read it, but it had some worthwhile tips, specifically regarding the study of individual subjects or how to approach books. A lot of its tips overlapped with How to Read a Book, which came out around the same time (1940s or '50s), and both are definitely worth studying if you want to get more out of reading challenging books. Where I did disagree sometimes was with the author's attitude. Maybe it's just because I'm from a different generation, but when the author says something like "A paper is worthless if there are mistakes in spelling, punctuation, diction, etc." I found myself pretty annoyed with him. I then proceeded to find a spelling error later in the book, and had to ask myself if the whole book was worthless! I mean, trust me, I'm OCD about spelling and punctuation, but I am not dense enough to think that if Milton misspelled a word in Paradise Lost, it would render the entire epic worthless. To me, that thought is perhaps even more juvenile than the original misspelling! Anyways, now I'm going off on a tangent. Well worth a read and thankfully quite short and precise, I'd recommend this to someone if are slackers like me when it comes to actual studying.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Epickkasten

    I wish I had found and read this book when I was still in college, or better yet, before I started college. Even in this digital age, I think this book still offers plenty of wisdoms for students out there.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    내가 초등학생이나 중학생일때 읽었으면 좋았겠지만 지금은 너무 늦었다.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Tye

    Very practical book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Would give to every student going into high school

  17. 4 out of 5

    Randall

    Un libro clásico y formidable acerca del arte de aprender.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rod Zinkel

    Useful methods for learning, from listening to taking notes, surveying books, and organizing information. Very useful for studying a large amount of material. Armstrong covers methods to study non-fictional works, and goes into some specifics for studying mathematics, history, science, and language.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Res

    I can't really be unbiased about this, because this book is apparently the Key To My Spouse, that one book that had the definitive influence on his character, the book that is to him what Walt Kelly's complete Pogo strips plus Samuel Delany's Babel-17 are to me. Having said that, I read the whole thing in one sitting one lazy afternoon, and my actual opinion is: - There are a lot of incredibly useful tips here. - There are also really an inexplicable number of typos and editing errors. - And the aut I can't really be unbiased about this, because this book is apparently the Key To My Spouse, that one book that had the definitive influence on his character, the book that is to him what Walt Kelly's complete Pogo strips plus Samuel Delany's Babel-17 are to me. Having said that, I read the whole thing in one sitting one lazy afternoon, and my actual opinion is: - There are a lot of incredibly useful tips here. - There are also really an inexplicable number of typos and editing errors. - And the author's approach to grammar is ... idiosyncratic. - Despite unconvincing gestures towards gender-neutral language, this book is addressed to the mythical Eton schoolboy of old (or his American cousin, at least), and it's impossible not to imagine it beating vainly against the immaturity and self-involvement of a bunch of rich white private school boys -- The Raven Boys, even.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rodney Haydon

    This is a book I wish I would have received in high school. A lot of great information packed in a slim volume.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marcia Conner

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pablo Stafforini

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Jackson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vince

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Dominguez

  28. 4 out of 5

    James

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Smiley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen Francone

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