Memorization tip for test taking

17 09 2014

Just wanted to share this tip I came up with myself in college (although I’m sure someone in the world has thought of it). It is intended for use in engineering/math type classes with limited or no use of a cheat sheet. Let’s call it the short term memory cheat sheet.

Step 1: Make a 1 page cheat sheet of equations/material you need to remember. It should only be material you don’t remember (no easy equations like F = ma), and it should be sectioned in a grid of some kind. Each time you review the sheet, try to “place” the items in their grid space, and remember them spatially.
Here’s a very complicated example taken from


Step 2: Read over the sheet a few times after writing it. Go to sleep.

Step 3: Review the sheet the morning of the test.

Step 4: Have the sheet on your desk, trying to memorize as much as you can while waiting for the professor to hand out the tests. Up until the professor tells you to put everything away.

Step 5: This is important: when you get your test, turn it over and draw the same grid you had on the cheat sheet you just put away in your backpack. This helps with visualization. If you get scrap paper you can use one of those. If your professor prints double sided and you have no clean sheet of paper, get creative.

Step 6: Fill in as much as you can remember. Speed is important as you’re relying on your short term memory. Try to visualize the sections of the grid, and what each contains. Regurgitate as much as you can as fast as you can, before reading anything. Remember every minute you’re writing down your cheat sheet is a minute you lose to take the actual test.

Boom, now you have a cheat sheet for a test that does not allow any cheat sheet! Feel free to link to this page if your professor thinks you cheated. Then tell them, with the internet, memorization is getting pretty pointless.

Bonus tip: When you do get a cheat sheet, if you write in one direction with red pen and then turn the paper 90° and write in blue pen, you can fit twice as many notes.

A plan to get a plan

8 07 2013


Today I came up with this diagram of life and a way to organize it.  Lately I’m the orange, drifting, not moving towards a shitty life, but not expanding or moving towards an amazing potential life either. I added another part to the drawing later “useless” growth which is personal growth not directed towards an amazing potential life.

Anyway, I’m hoping this will help me focus on making use of my time and keeping what’s important in mind.


Leaving Behind Media

6 02 2013

I recently read the following book:
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, and have decided to stop reading the “news.”  The summary of the book is quite simple:

  • Modern non subscription media is paid by advertisements shown.  More clicks = more money.
  • News happens infrequently.
  • Pseudo news is much more click friendly, and thus the media generates pseudo news.  Making things up, publishing the most audacious or controversial points of view, exaggerating, etc.
  • News sites are no longer trustworthy.  They do no research, no follow up, and their sources are usually anonymous (aka people reporting it for their own interest).  It took 1 day after finishing this book to read this anti-news story:
  • Combining these makes the media easy to manipulate and quite a beast in terms of destructive capability.  Also it is useless for normal people and no longer serves its purpose as current events.

Because reading the news has becoming just about churning through articles to avoid boredom, I am leaving it behind.  As I constantly try to remind myself: spend time, don’t kill it.  Reading “the news” is most definitely killing time.

Ask yourself after a week, has reading news/blogs/gossip given me any actionable ideas?   10 to 1 says it didn’t.  At most it acted like TV, filling some hours, giving you a low dosage of happiness, but overall just being a waste of time that you could have used learning a new skill, talking with your friends, or playing with your kids.

Originally I intended to stay on Facebook and follow RSS feeds on Arstechnica and Lifehacker (both posting 50 articles a day, compared with 4 to 10 a few years ago), but have quickly seen that this will not be conducive to my reasons for leaving media.  Facebook hardly has any life updates from friends (the main reason to be on it IMO), and is mostly people re-posting the crap they read on the media sites.  Arstechnica has the occasional interesting piece, but there’s too much BS to sort through.  Same with lifehacker.

I will continue responding to messages and posts on facebook, but that’s all.  I still read the following blogs: Study Hacks, Earlyretirementextreme, IWTYTBR, Neil Strauss, Seth Godin, TED talks list, baseline scenario, Tim Ferriss, my personal friends, and dilbert/xkcd comics.

So, bon voyage mass media!


Three month challenge

23 01 2013

Decided to give myself a three month challenge.  I’ve put on a healthy gut, I’d estimate 15% to 18% body fat on my stomach, certainly not much but enough to have me annoyed.  The main reason behind this gut is travel for work. Can’t commit to my normal work out, difficult to eat slow carb on travel, and I’m too lazy to cook when I actually am at home.  So I think this will be quite the interesting challenge, since so many people complain about not enough time, money, etc to getting in shape/healthy.

My challenge:

  • Return to about a 12% BF ratio.  But ultimately, just look be in good physical shape which shows (anyone want to judge? lol), no need for a six pack.  Giving myself until May 1st.
  • Workout with no weights of any kind.  I will be doing convict conditioning along with other things I’ve learned on my own.  Only tools will be a baseball, basketball, pull up bar, and chairs (or my workout bench).  Oh, and I’ll probably do sprints and burpees as well.
  • I will record time spent working out and keep it to a minimum.  This type of workout is very good for doing while watching TV or doing other tasks at home.
  • A simple diet anyone could adopt, which is pretty cheap.  Will have to iron this out over the weekend, but it will be slow carb
  • Do this all while traveling sporadically for work.

Some advantages I already have are:

  • I don’t have any strong cravings for food/have done slow carb before
  • I am already in reasonably good shape (I estimate my max deadlift to be about 280 pounds and max overhead press about 125 right now)
  • I already know what to expect.  This is a powerful advantage.

Because of these advantages, if you wanted to replicate results you should expect to take a full year, not just nine months.  Dedicate 3 months to diet alone, 3 months to working up to a decent workout routine, and give yourself an extra 3 months to execute.  I’m going for just 3 months straight of execution.

I will track my workouts here:

I will post a general idea of what I’ve been eating here on my blog periodically.

Of course there will be a million people who say this is too easy, or that I have an awesome metabolism, or a million other things.  But this is a challenge for myself, so who cares what they think?


Spread Happiness 1

15 01 2013

Tomorrow, my friend Creative and I are going to stand by the 15 freeway entrance at Scripps Poway Parkway with signs to smile and wave at people 🙂  Cheers,





**Update 1-16-13

Everything went awesomely!  Thanks to my buddy Creative for coming out!

A lot of people think the world is topsy turvy.  Crime, shootings, and other negatives are almost always the top 90% of news stories.  But nothing stops you from making the world a better place, even just standing 30 minutes on a center divider with a sign and a smile.




Oh yeah, and we got two tweets! haha:

To the guys in the median with the #SmileMore signs omw to work- Thanks.

Saw some guys on the corner Omw to work w/signs that said You’re awesome. Smile more. Worked for me. #smilemore #youreawesome#imawesome