Professors’ guide unlock the secrets to earning A’s

Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman’s “The Secrets of College Success”contains more than 600 tips to improve your college performance.

Dr. Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman, creators of the Professors’ Guide series, set out to write “the instruction manual for college.” The result: “The Secrets of College Success,” which was published this past summer.

Their second book is filled with tips for picking classes and professors, improving academic performance and, ultimately, getting more bang out of college for a student’s buck.

“You’re paying a lot of money for this college thing, and if you know what to do, you’ll get your money’s worth,” Hyman said.

Students will get their money’s worth out of the book, too.

The first few chapters serve as refresher courses in lessons many students already learned in their first semesters and will not foolishly forget again. Among these lessons include habits like keeping a schedule, asking questions when you don’t understand and taking small classes when given the choice.

The rest of the book offers tips that can help students throughout their college years, including ways to make your professors love you, how to know what will be on the test and how to research like a professor.

A few of the 637 tips are repeats, but it’s excusable considering the reruns are things most students need help remembering. There are several reminders to write all due dates in a calendar, to visit professors and teacher assistants during office hours, to do all your homework and to read over the feedback on graded exams and papers.

Many students would probably never think of the other grade-boosters, such as sticking to one subject during a study session to better retain information and taking more notes in lecture than may seem necessary, as well as staying until the very end of an exam session, reviewing answers and correcting exam essays.

Pay attention to tips labeled Extra Pointer, 5-Star Tip, Best-Kept Secret, Reality Check, IOHO (In Our Humble Opinion) and the Bonus Tips. These are goldmines of information and resources to help you succeed, regardless of major.

Not only is “The Secrets of College Success” filled with many tips, but the authors also present the information in a fresh, youthful voice that makes the book a quick, easy read. If only biology and math textbooks were this digestible.

Hyman said he and his wife, Jacobs, hope students “will select four or five tips from the 637 in the book that they resolve to do [and] develop tips of their own, on some of the models we’ve provided, that they think will work for them at their college.”

As is written in the book, “A’s are often in short supply … [I]t can be quite hard to get an A.” But with Hyman and Jacobs’ wisdom, students can be snatching up those few A’s in no time.

Rosella LaFevre can be reached at

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