Steps for Success


Dr. Atef Jawad Al-Najjar

Nov. 1st, 2003

The first step:

Please make a table spanning two pages. One page for 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the other for 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

The first table records day activities, and the second one records evening and night activities (including sleeping hours).

Each will have 12 hours and 7 days; Saturday to Friday. Each two-page table spans a week.

Then, fill-in your regular activities (classes, prayers, meetings w/family-friends, responsibilities/shopping, sleeping, etc)

Now add slots to study every course on regular basis (Golden rules.)


The second step:

Add appropriate slots to enhance your English language, where you write all new words from all subjects in one note book.

Use a dictionary to get the meanings, write them, memorize them, and learn the spelling and pronunciation of the new words.

This should help improve your understanding of the subjects in your courses:

  • In the class,
  • When reading the text book and notes, and
  • More importantly, when reading questions.
    If you do not understand the question, you might be answering another question, leading to a low grade!



The third step:

(a)   To follow the golden rules pro, add slots to read-ahead for each course the day before or on the same day if the lecture is late. Make sure you read the material exactly once, but add all new words to the words-note-book, get their meanings from the dictionary, and learn the meanings. This prepares you to improve your understanding in the lecture.


(b)   To follow the golden rules pro plus, add slots to make your own summaries for each course.


The fourth step:

Subjects that require problem solving: make sure you solve the problems yourself, and closed book. If you make mistakes, get help in understanding the material so that you can correct the problems yourself. This should help you develop the skills for solving problems, which is far better than running away from the problems. Getting others to solve the problems for you is one way of running away rather than facing the problems and solving them. (Get help learning to fish, rather than getting a fish.)



(a)   To make filling the table easier, once you fill-in the regular (important) activities, make copies the partially-filled schedule, and add the variable components to the copies.

(b)   Revise the schedule from time to time, and update it as necessary.

(c)   Solved examples: read few (five or more) first, then try to solve them “closed-book”.



To start following the steps can be hard, but as you start to see the difference, you will happily follow them.