What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades, Optimum Learning, Minimum Time

NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

401 words

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 
sizeable community. 

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 
other aides.  

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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