[SkillShare] How to Study for Exams – An Evidence-Based Masterclass


Ali Abdaal, Doctor + YouTuber


About This Class

Being able to study efficiently and effectively is a superpower. As students, it boost our grades, reduces our stress levels and frees up our time to do more interesting things. But we’re never taught how to do it. Most of us rely on ‘intuitive’ techniques like rereading, note-taking, summarising and highlighting to get through our exams. But as the evidence shows, these intuitive techniques are often counter-productive.

In this class, I’ll take you through the well-kept secrets of how to study effectively. We’ll break down (1) how to understand our content using techniques like the Feynman Method, Active Recall and various note-taking strategies, (2) how to remember our material with Spaced Repetition, Interleaving and various memory techniques, and (3) how to maintain focus while studying, from developing the motivation and discipline to do the work, to taking appropriate breaks and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

I was a medical student at Cambridge University (UK) from 2012-2018. In my second year of medical school, I discovered the research around effective studying and memory enhancement, and it completely changed my life. By using the strategies you’ll learn in this class, I was able to start and grow a 6-figure business and later a successful YouTube channel while still getting pretty decent marks in my exams, and actually enjoying the whole process with a minimal level of stress.

Now that I’m a doctor working in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), I still use these techniques when preparing teaching sessions for medical students, and when preparing for my own postgraduate medical exams. These days, my time is even more limited than it was when I was a student, but by using the appropriate study techniques, I can keep on top of the workload while still running my business, YouTube channel and having some semblance of a social life.

So thanks for stopping by – I hope you dive in and you can gain something from this class that you can apply to your own life.


Project Description

Recommended Reading

  • Make it Stick
  • Tricks of the Mind
  • How to Develop a Super-Power Memory
  • The Motivation Myth
  • Deep Work
  • The Pomodoro Technique

Studies Cited

  • Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology (Dunlosky et al 2013)
  • Effectiveness of highlighting for retention of text material (Fowler & Barker 1974)
  • Type of Highlighted Material and Examination Performance (Leicht & Cashen 2014)
  • Better Mood and Better Performance: Learning Rule-Described Categories Is Enhanced by Positive Mood (Nadler et al 2010)

Other Useful Resources

  • Screw Motivation – What you need is Discipline
  • Practical Discipline

Recommended Videos

  • My video about why rereading, summarising and highlight are ineffective, and the evidence behind why Active Recall is the single best learning technique
  • My video about the evidence behind Spaced Repetition and some ways in which we can apply it to our studying
  • My Favourite Note-Taking App for Students – Notion



Hi there,

I’m Ali (26), a Cambridge medicine graduate now working as an FY2 Junior Doctor.

I spend most of my evenings making YouTube videos, and for the past 7 years I’ve been running a company that helps students get into medical school. I’ve also got a weekly email newsletter and a weekly podcast that you might like to check out.

I’m working on a series of Skillshare classes where I share my process and techniques for video and podcast production, and perha…


Skills in this Class:

Business Productivity Mathematics Reading Student Tools


Size: 3.76GB


Course: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/How-to-Study-for-Exams-An-Evidence-Based-Masterclass/728748026/projects

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