What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades,
Optimum Learning, Minimum Time
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title: What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades, Optimum
Learning, Minimum Time; by Adam Robinson; Publisher Crown;
paperback, 283 pages, $21.00
Reviewer: A. T. Connellan, "Don't borrow this one, buy it, and
keep it "at the ready." Mine is on the bookshelf, on the handy
side of the dictionary, and no, I will not lend it to you."
Robinson puts the education system under a microscope.
Let's face reality--most schools are doing a terrible job. In
these days of disenchanted or disinterested school boards
and teachers, here is a full-value book that should prompt a
second visit to the proposal that placed so much emphasis
on "active learning," the much maligned Year 2000.
This book should be titled "How Smart Students Learn." In it,
author Adam Robinson proposes a learning method based
on, Attitude + Technique = Smart Student. That formula won't
surprise anyone who is a professional educator or student. The
problem has always centered on technique, or methodology.
Published for students of high-school age and up, who are
overwhelmed by an education system to which they can't
"connect", its message has an application far beyond that
The CyberLearning [a term that leaves me cold] method is
structured, according to Robinson, on the same 12 basic
questions that all smart students ask when they are learning
a subject. These questions produce a utilitarian framework
that "Answers" each of the 12 questions.
Throughout the book there are periodic Summaries followed
by helpful sections entitled "Intermission" that test the
reader/students "Attitude", and measure cumulative progress.
Supporting this framework are techniques for problem solving,
and for modifying his methods to fit different subjects.
Robinson, who developed the method for taking standardized
tests such as SAT and GRE more than a decade ago, sets out
systems for taking tests, and writing papers.
Adam Robinson's pragmatic advice on selecting courses and
teachers, and managing time will ring a loud bell for all of us.
I liked the "user-friendly" index and his recommendations on
the use of computers, mnemonics, dictionaries, thesauri,
encyclopedias, grammar and style guides, and a variety of
A word of warning, don't try to read this book in one sitting; it's
too dense. Have pencil and paper at hand, and enjoyably work
your way through.
His assessment of what is really wrong with the education system
has been said before, but not heard unfortunately, to the detriment
of our young. In spite of that system, and thanks to Adam Robinson,
What Smart Students Know is available to all of us.
Don't borrow this one, buy it, and keep it "at the ready." Mine
is on the bookshelf, on the handy side of the dictionary, and no,
I will not lend it to you.
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