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Study productivity and diffuse learning [technique] Do you know that diffuse learning is important to increasing study productivity. How many times have you been working on sometime but not really concentrating? After spending 3 hours for example and coming out of it like nothing is done. And chances are those 3 hours have been constant with distraction from the notification tones from your smartphone. I want to help you drastically improve your study productivity. But in order to do that, let’s talk about the brain behavior first. Why your brain wants you to procrastinate For a lot of students, studying is joyless. I don’t blame you, because many schools and teachers take the joy out of education. Then couple that to doing something fun like checking the phone during study time. The brain begin sending out dopamine. The pleasure neurotransmitter. Or the neurotransmitter of ADDICTION. It becomes a positive feedback. And you want to check your phone more and more. That brewing right there is procrastination. Studying is joyless and the procrastination feels awesome. And thus it is no wonder the brain will choose the latter everytime. For a student that is disastrous making studying unproductive. How to improve studying productivity Instead of focusing on pain, make the brain’s attention go somewhere else! Which is why the Pomodoro study technique works. The technique diverts the brain to thinking about time avoiding thoughts about pain. In doing so, helps the student steer away from finding something else more fun. This also means switching off the phone to silence during the period. Below is a great summary of the technique. After implementing this for my students, they #1 comment is how productive they become. I tell them to keep focusing on the positive thoughts and it will help them achieve more sessions. It is also important to keep other negative thoughts out during the 25 minutes. So I tell my students to NOT focus on the items they need to complete. And to trust that increasing productivity will lead to completion. This way, my students find even more success with the study technique. What do I do in the 5 minutes? Diffuse learning! In the 5 minutes of break, DON’T study. The idea behind the break is that it gives time to the brain to rest after an intensive period. By doing so it gets you ready for the next 25 minutes. This can be a short walk, nap, shower, stretch, drink. Anything except what you have been doing in the 25 minutes previously. Anything to take your mind off the 5 minutes. Interestingly, during this period of time, your brain is doing another form of learning. It’s diffuse learning. What is diffuse learning? Remember the time when you just cannot find a solution to a problem and went go to bed instead. Then the next day miraculously have a solution? That is diffuse learning in action. This is a pattern many educators are beginning to see as an important to learning and successful exam-taking. Let’s start by talking a bit more about the Singapore-Cambridge A level exams first. The exam is hard. And how do the examiners make it hard? By introducing new scenarios students are unlikely to encounter in school. But they are frequently solvable using basic concepts that one learns from the classes. The problem is that many educators do not teach the application skills and scold students for not applying. This results in frustration on both sides. Studying harder will not result in any improvement. And Babara Oakley, a professor from Oakland University explains this very clearly. (Learn more about it in her book: how to excel in math and science) Focus and diffuse learning There are actually 2 different types of learning taking place. Focus mode of learning happens during learning of facts. And subsequently neural connections establishes in a part of the brain that helps to transfer this to memory. When a student encounters an exam question that is a direct recall of the very same facts, an area lights up. And an answer comes to the student. This is focus learning/exam-taking in action. When the student is given an unfamiliar scenario in A level exams on the other hand, the same area doesn’t light up. When students stare at the question therefore, nothing will come up. The very act of ditching everything and going to bed, is an example of diffuse learning. The other way that we learn. Students have to move away from focusing to anything else. This allows the brain to survey the landscape of what concepts it can harvest information from so as to answer the question given. This in essence is the solution for students who want to problem solve during exams. Or during study periods when they are trying to figure out the difficult concepts. Let me repeat this again. If students want to solve problems they have to NOT focus on it! This can occur during the 5 minutes in the Pomodoro technique mentioned earlier. Unfortunately teachers who are not aware of the modes of learning continue to drone on the importance of focus learning. Instead of helping students develop the diffuse learning, they start to teach more. Expanding their coverage every year to include the new scenario that appears in the exams. Overwhelming students and creating immense stress. I am from the camp of teaching the man how to fish rather than giving him fish. So part of my curriculum is to focus on helping my students get into diffuse mode of learning. As I try edge my students towards successful exam performance. One of the things I do is to give lists to my students and ask them to write poems from it. Something that is corroborated by Prof V.S. Ramachandran towards the end of the interview here. This is a very fun thing for me to do. Reading my students submissions even though they complain about it. In fact many of them are very poignant. And I feel all their emotions. Their angst. And so I am presenting one of them here. The list assigned was connect 1 thing the students know to be true and 1 concept in A level biology. Tip of my hat to my student Ryan Tan Tze Wang and also for graciously allowing me to post this original work. Survival of the Fittest Our basest of desires was once merely the passing of our genes, but since we passed the caveman years, there’s another primal dream. “Buy a bungalow! Make more money! Secure a spouse before thirty! You don’t want to reach that dreaded menopause too early!” And to that I say “Pah! Achieving material gain is fine, but even the most gorgeous Ferrari will not survive the test of time.” Like the lytic cycle, reproduction is effective, yet primitive and bland: degrade the host DNA, synthesis viral proteins, and then I’ll lyse the host when I can! So friends and countrymen! Lend me your ears! We shouldn’t aim to live on through the next generation. Instead, be remembered through our words, our thoughts, our actions that surpass the realm of procreation. Curie, Lincoln, Luther King- are all names you know! Remembering their deeds as if they didn’t live hundreds of years ago. Like the lysogenic cycle, they bide their time, letting their influence permeate, until the annals of history sing their praises, which out-live any offspring they create. But you retort “Ensuring legacy is your opinion, hardly a proven fact! You hammer us across the head with the concept, without any tact!” Of course! Continue on your merry way after all, you reap what you sow. But when my poem joins the ranks of Frost, Angelou, and Shakespeare, then I’ll let you know! Diffuse learning: bottomline I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do. The stories I weave as I tell my students what to do. Hoping that next year they come back to me triumphant and proud. With the A level cert in hand crying out loud. That all the effort was worth it getting to this point. And nothing can erase the memories of how we all engrossed with the ‘checkpoint’.
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Taking good notes in class [free format download] Taking good notes is an important skill. Many students agree but few know how to. I will list down a method to help you along including the technique I recommend my students. But first let me shed some light as to why taking good notes is important. Why is taking good notes important? A lot of students don’t realize that this is a great learning opportunity! The act of taking good notes immediately kick starts the learning process. This reduces subsequent efforts for exam preparations. Unfortunately many students think that learning occurs after note taking rather than during. So what happens is they basically switch off the effort in trying to understand the concepts in class. And instead, focus on putting down as many words to paper as possible. Since there is no effort in processing the learning outcomes, the student starts from scratch afterwards. It takes an immense effort to get back onto track. This creates lots of angst and procrastination starts. Which subsequently becomes a choke point, because future classes depend on ability to master the previous classes concepts. As a result, the effort balloons as one progresses through the academic year in this manner. Method for taking good notes I suggest using the Cornell note taking method. This method asks students to divide up the notes into 3 sections. Main points on the left. Elaboration for the main points on the corresponding right column. A summary section at the bottom. Let me show you the format my students get from me: The idea is that students identify important points during the class to fill the left column. And then decide what elaborations to correspond on the right. Finally, a summary row is completed within the final minutes of the class, stringing together all the main points. Why the Cornell method for taking good notes works There is a lot of processing during note taking. Students have to identify the main points, decide which information illustrate the main points. Where these info starts and ends before the next main point. And making sense of the entire class, one has to string together the main points. These are all actions of active learning. And it is therefore not difficult to conclude a student has a fruitful time in class. Not only that, there is no further need to reorganize the notes afterwards. An activity that does not contribute to any learning but consumes much time. How to take it up a notch To further make it more effective, I ask my students to imagine a friend in school who is very weak in the subject. Then imagine teaching this friend in simple words what is covered after writing down those points. This makes the learning even more active as students have to take the role of teaching. There’s a lot of things happening in my classes leaving my students mentally exhausted but happily engaged. Taking good notes: bottomline To make it even more useful, you can download the file with the format here. And you can print and use it straightaway for your own classes back in school. I hope this will help kick start your learning effectiveness on your way to improving your grades.
Travel Hacking: hotel travel expenses Highlighting the benefits of credit card spend in accumulating air line miles previously, I hope to list some examples focusing on travel expenses here. Credit card spend on travel expenses can easily balloon. Since we put a significant portion of it on credit card. Strategizing the spend to maximize the credit card rewards is crucial. Those points we earn, we can leverage for the next trip! There are many items but one of the biggest travel expenses is accommodations. Travel expenses: why I don’t use major hotel chains Besides the loyalty programs of airlines, hotels chains also have the equivalent. But I usually steer clear of them. There are many reasons. For one, it is hard to earn hotel chain points because there are no Singaporean hotel chain credit cards. Points are therefore painstakingly earned via actual hotel stays or points purchase. Second, whilst there is value redeeming hotel chain points for hotel stay. It is harder to coordinate redemption for hotel AND flight for a particular travel period. If you find availability for the hotel, you can’t find available flights etc. In addition, I can easily find cheaper accommodations than hotel chains anytime. Some people may argue that hotels provide amenities which can make a stay more pleasant. But this will involve taking time away from actually experiencing the city you are in. Especially if you, like me like to go museum hopping. And museums like the Broad in Los Angeles below closes early! Plus you easily spend a few hours there easily. If I am paying double or more for the hotel room that includes perks like lounge and food. I will ensure I use those perks. But that will mean missing interesting and/or cheaper local options as well. For example, the real matcha soft-serve ice-cream I discovered and enjoyed whilst walking through the streets in Tokyo. Travel expenses: cheaper hotel options There are numerous cheaper options and no they are not always dodgy, unclean, have any less amenities or out of the way. In fact some of these smaller hotels may out-do the major hotel chains in one or other areas. And charge much lesser! I know this is not an apples to apples comparison. But let’s try. Since I am heading to Hong Kong for a short vacation. Let me compare the pricing of Conrad hotel, versus a comparably located Harbor Bay Hotel for 1 pax for 1 night. All in. Here’s what Conrad is asking for: Whilst Harbor Bay Hotel is only asking after choosing the most expensive option: Travel expenses: how to book hotels and earn points Before you think about making the booking, there is actually a cheaper way to book the very same hotel. Opening up Agoda, the exact hotel room listing is actually slightly cheaper! Booking with Agoda is great because it will qualify for 10X points using the DBS card that rewards online spend. I mention this because some hotels process the payments offline and thus are not eligible for 10X points. And I am not done yet actually. Let me show you how to double dip on this booking. If you are to click through to Agoda from shopback.sg, you get a 6% cashback, on top on the points you earn. Well, is there anyway to go even cheaper? Yes there is! For the same night in AirBnb. I can able to find a nice apartment with positive reviews going at: I like using AirBnb because these apartments comes with important amenities such as washers, kitchen etc. The hotels simply can’t match these without asking for more. It is also immensely satisfying to know that in staying in such apartments, you are helping out the local community. Rather than have your money go to a conglomerate, a faceless corporate entity. And I have lived in AirBnbs in Tokyo and Hong Kong thus far. What I usually do over a vacation is to live in a mixture of AirBnb apartments and hotels. In the end, I know I am spending as little as I possibly can whilst still having comfort. And more importantly carve out the maximum credit card points for the expenditure. Travel expenses: a word of caution Agoda belong to a group of websites collectively known as OTAs (online travel agents). Some of them also tell you that they can reward your booking by awarding you points for your spend. Usually, you can opt for the airline FFPs of your choice where the points go to. As tempting as that may be. When factoring that in, the asking price is almost always higher. And the amount of points is not worth the increase in asking price for the accommodations. I will not go for these. And you can read more about it here. Bottomline: hotel travel expenses Now that one of the biggest travel expenses is out of the way. I will discuss other aspects of travel expenses tips and tricks in the future. And I hope that you begin to benefit from the research and be well on your way to redeeming premium cabin travel in the near future.
Exam diet for students [tips you can adopt] Many if not most JC students chose to focus on gaining content mastery to improve their grades. Whilst that is important, it is not the only thing that can help the student in their exam performance. One area that is often overlooked is what they eat. I help my students in this area and I refer to it as the exam diet. Do you feel drowsy after a meal? Imagine that occurs when you are just about to head into the exam hall! If the mind is not in the most agile state, how good will the performance be even if the student have content mastery? And on this note, I have a group of students who are using the ketogenic diet to help with exam performance. It revolves around having low carb and high fat meals daily for up to 6 days a week. The exam diet: the science behind it The basis of the idea is that per unit mass, fats (comprising of triglycerides) store far more energy than glycogen can. Each triglyceride consists 3 fatty acids. Each fatty acid can have between 8 to over 30 hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbon chains play an important role in cellular respiration. The more times decarboxylation occurs for each of these carbons from the hydrocarbon skeleton, the more potent energy yield subsequently. Per 100g of glucose yields 9.4kg of ATP. With a single fatty acid in a triglyceride molecule? 10.5kg. These fatty acids convert to ketone bodies and distribute to different tissues including more importantly neurons in the brain. And are an alternative fuel source. One reason why ketone bodies has a higher yield versus glucose is because the latter requires 10 steps and enzymes before becoming acetyl-CoA. This is not accounting for energy requirements to synthesize the enzymes that catalyses the reactions at each step yet. The diagram below illustrates my point. Ketone bodies bypasses all of them requiring only 3 steps. As you can see in the diagram below. Far less time and energy usage and far more time producing ATP. Therefore, no drowsiness after meals as well as brain fog. The exam diet: the benefit Because the exam diet helps my students gain brain clarity. This helps students who are studying to have deep learning and productive times. Which in turn makes it easier for them to achieve subject mastery and therefore exam prep subsequently. I tell my students to have a cheat day once a week on which they can eat anything they like. This makes it easier for them to extend their diet through to the exams at least. The response when they are on the cheat day is how drowsy they feel due to the carbohydrates. This contrast allows them to appreciate how food can modify brain behaviour. And this can subsequently be advantageous if modified for performance instead! The exam diet: the caveat The main disadvantage of the exam diet is that it is quite a hassle checking what you can or cannot eat. This is because there are a lot of hidden carbs in commercial food preps. So I choose instead to cook a variety of meals at home where I can control what I put in my mouth. This requires a bit more effort but ensures you stay in ketosis. Because any increase in blood glucose beyond a net carb intake exceeding 20g will push you out of it. And you lose the benefits. Also, getting into ketosis takes time. One can’t simply eat a fatty meal and hope to get into ketosis. Finally, people who start the diet for the first time may experience the ‘keto-flu’ as they transit into ketosis. This is especially true for people who have insufficient salt intake. The mechanism and solution is explained here. The exam diet: how to In the morning, I will kick start with a blend of coconut oil and grass-fed butter (Anchor) into my tea. The coconut oil I use is a special distillate for caprylic and capric oils found in coconut oil. These are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) of 8-10 hydrocarbons which makes their absorption faster allowing me to utilize them for energy without delay. I don’t use brands that don’t label how much of which exact MCTs it contains. I don’t use coconut oils directly because only 20% of the oil are desirable MCTs. And that’s all I have for breakfast! Sometimes, if I am outside I will order a keto-coffee instead at Starbucks. Here’s how I order mine: short flat white, replace milk with half and half (or which is permissible without extra charges). Heavy whipped cream and water. The mix in a serving of butter they use for sandwiches. There are many reasons why I have this type of ‘breakfast’. This video summarizes it. In the late afternoon, I will scramble eggs with some wild rockets. And by dinner time, a big salad I mix with extra-virgin, olive oil and coconut oil, sea salt and turmeric. An easy way to increase the fat content is to add macadamia nuts. The exam diet: know the bad fats Before we end though, I want to talk a bit about the some surprising facts about fats. This is especially important for students who want to try out the exam diet for academic success. There are many types of fats and not all of them are great. In fact many vegetable oils are really bad! Many don’t know this. Trans-fats are really awful too but many already know about it. So let’s focus on the vegetable oils. These oils are typically polyunsaturated. Unsaturated fats are those that have a C=C bond in their carbon skeleton. I compare the structure to a saturated fatty acid below for easy reference. So if there are several of them, they are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The problem with these fats are that they are really fragile. Heat, light and oxygen can lead to modification of its structure resulting in inflammatory end products. And inflammation factor into many medical diseases directly such as heart disease. And the modern diet is now full of PUFAs. Because they are much cheaper. So restaurants start using them for all kinds of cooking. If you want to know more, this video has a great overview. The exam diet: bottomline If you have read all the way through until here. It means you are really serious about your exam performance. Great attitude! It is not going to be easy but you will begin to reap the rewards the moment you go into ketosis. Because you will realize you suddenly have much more energy and clarity of mind that will in turn aid your exam performance/preparations. All the best for the upcoming prelims!

More from byang

Taking good notes in class [free format download] Taking good notes is an important skill. Many students agree but few know how to. I will list down a method to help you along including the technique I recommend my students. But first let me shed some light as to why taking good notes is important. Why is taking good notes important? A lot of students don’t realize that this is a great learning opportunity! The act of taking good notes immediately kick starts the learning process. This reduces subsequent efforts for exam preparations. Unfortunately many students think that learning occurs after note taking rather than during. So what happens is they basically switch off the effort in trying to understand the concepts in class. And instead, focus on putting down as many words to paper as possible. Since there is no effort in processing the learning outcomes, the student starts from scratch afterwards. It takes an immense effort to get back onto track. This creates lots of angst and procrastination starts. Which subsequently becomes a choke point, because future classes depend on ability to master the previous classes concepts. As a result, the effort balloons as one progresses through the academic year in this manner. Method for taking good notes I suggest using the Cornell note taking method. This method asks students to divide up the notes into 3 sections. Main points on the left. Elaboration for the main points on the corresponding right column. A summary section at the bottom. Let me show you the format my students get from me: The idea is that students identify important points during the class to fill the left column. And then decide what elaborations to correspond on the right. Finally, a summary row is completed within the final minutes of the class, stringing together all the main points. Why the Cornell method for taking good notes works There is a lot of processing during note taking. Students have to identify the main points, decide which information illustrate the main points. Where these info starts and ends before the next main point. And making sense of the entire class, one has to string together the main points. These are all actions of active learning. And it is therefore not difficult to conclude a student has a fruitful time in class. Not only that, there is no further need to reorganize the notes afterwards. An activity that does not contribute to any learning but consumes much time. How to take it up a notch To further make it more effective, I ask my students to imagine a friend in school who is very weak in the subject. Then imagine teaching this friend in simple words what is covered after writing down those points. This makes the learning even more active as students have to take the role of teaching. There’s a lot of things happening in my classes leaving my students mentally exhausted but happily engaged. Taking good notes: bottomline To make it even more useful, you can download the file with the format here. And you can print and use it straightaway for your own classes back in school. I hope this will help kick start your learning effectiveness on your way to improving your grades.
Travel Hacking: hotel travel expenses Highlighting the benefits of credit card spend in accumulating air line miles previously, I hope to list some examples focusing on travel expenses here. Credit card spend on travel expenses can easily balloon. Since we put a significant portion of it on credit card. Strategizing the spend to maximize the credit card rewards is crucial. Those points we earn, we can leverage for the next trip! There are many items but one of the biggest travel expenses is accommodations. Travel expenses: why I don’t use major hotel chains Besides the loyalty programs of airlines, hotels chains also have the equivalent. But I usually steer clear of them. There are many reasons. For one, it is hard to earn hotel chain points because there are no Singaporean hotel chain credit cards. Points are therefore painstakingly earned via actual hotel stays or points purchase. Second, whilst there is value redeeming hotel chain points for hotel stay. It is harder to coordinate redemption for hotel AND flight for a particular travel period. If you find availability for the hotel, you can’t find available flights etc. In addition, I can easily find cheaper accommodations than hotel chains anytime. Some people may argue that hotels provide amenities which can make a stay more pleasant. But this will involve taking time away from actually experiencing the city you are in. Especially if you, like me like to go museum hopping. And museums like the Broad in Los Angeles below closes early! Plus you easily spend a few hours there easily. If I am paying double or more for the hotel room that includes perks like lounge and food. I will ensure I use those perks. But that will mean missing interesting and/or cheaper local options as well. For example, the real matcha soft-serve ice-cream I discovered and enjoyed whilst walking through the streets in Tokyo. Travel expenses: cheaper hotel options There are numerous cheaper options and no they are not always dodgy, unclean, have any less amenities or out of the way. In fact some of these smaller hotels may out-do the major hotel chains in one or other areas. And charge much lesser! I know this is not an apples to apples comparison. But let’s try. Since I am heading to Hong Kong for a short vacation. Let me compare the pricing of Conrad hotel, versus a comparably located Harbor Bay Hotel for 1 pax for 1 night. All in. Here’s what Conrad is asking for: Whilst Harbor Bay Hotel is only asking after choosing the most expensive option: Travel expenses: how to book hotels and earn points Before you think about making the booking, there is actually a cheaper way to book the very same hotel. Opening up Agoda, the exact hotel room listing is actually slightly cheaper! Booking with Agoda is great because it will qualify for 10X points using the DBS card that rewards online spend. I mention this because some hotels process the payments offline and thus are not eligible for 10X points. And I am not done yet actually. Let me show you how to double dip on this booking. If you are to click through to Agoda from shopback.sg, you get a 6% cashback, on top on the points you earn. Well, is there anyway to go even cheaper? Yes there is! For the same night in AirBnb. I can able to find a nice apartment with positive reviews going at: I like using AirBnb because these apartments comes with important amenities such as washers, kitchen etc. The hotels simply can’t match these without asking for more. It is also immensely satisfying to know that in staying in such apartments, you are helping out the local community. Rather than have your money go to a conglomerate, a faceless corporate entity. And I have lived in AirBnbs in Tokyo and Hong Kong thus far. What I usually do over a vacation is to live in a mixture of AirBnb apartments and hotels. In the end, I know I am spending as little as I possibly can whilst still having comfort. And more importantly carve out the maximum credit card points for the expenditure. Travel expenses: a word of caution Agoda belong to a group of websites collectively known as OTAs (online travel agents). Some of them also tell you that they can reward your booking by awarding you points for your spend. Usually, you can opt for the airline FFPs of your choice where the points go to. As tempting as that may be. When factoring that in, the asking price is almost always higher. And the amount of points is not worth the increase in asking price for the accommodations. I will not go for these. And you can read more about it here. Bottomline: hotel travel expenses Now that one of the biggest travel expenses is out of the way. I will discuss other aspects of travel expenses tips and tricks in the future. And I hope that you begin to benefit from the research and be well on your way to redeeming premium cabin travel in the near future.
Exam diet for students [tips you can adopt] Many if not most JC students chose to focus on gaining content mastery to improve their grades. Whilst that is important, it is not the only thing that can help the student in their exam performance. One area that is often overlooked is what they eat. I help my students in this area and I refer to it as the exam diet. Do you feel drowsy after a meal? Imagine that occurs when you are just about to head into the exam hall! If the mind is not in the most agile state, how good will the performance be even if the student have content mastery? And on this note, I have a group of students who are using the ketogenic diet to help with exam performance. It revolves around having low carb and high fat meals daily for up to 6 days a week. The exam diet: the science behind it The basis of the idea is that per unit mass, fats (comprising of triglycerides) store far more energy than glycogen can. Each triglyceride consists 3 fatty acids. Each fatty acid can have between 8 to over 30 hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbon chains play an important role in cellular respiration. The more times decarboxylation occurs for each of these carbons from the hydrocarbon skeleton, the more potent energy yield subsequently. Per 100g of glucose yields 9.4kg of ATP. With a single fatty acid in a triglyceride molecule? 10.5kg. These fatty acids convert to ketone bodies and distribute to different tissues including more importantly neurons in the brain. And are an alternative fuel source. One reason why ketone bodies has a higher yield versus glucose is because the latter requires 10 steps and enzymes before becoming acetyl-CoA. This is not accounting for energy requirements to synthesize the enzymes that catalyses the reactions at each step yet. The diagram below illustrates my point. Ketone bodies bypasses all of them requiring only 3 steps. As you can see in the diagram below. Far less time and energy usage and far more time producing ATP. Therefore, no drowsiness after meals as well as brain fog. The exam diet: the benefit Because the exam diet helps my students gain brain clarity. This helps students who are studying to have deep learning and productive times. Which in turn makes it easier for them to achieve subject mastery and therefore exam prep subsequently. I tell my students to have a cheat day once a week on which they can eat anything they like. This makes it easier for them to extend their diet through to the exams at least. The response when they are on the cheat day is how drowsy they feel due to the carbohydrates. This contrast allows them to appreciate how food can modify brain behaviour. And this can subsequently be advantageous if modified for performance instead! The exam diet: the caveat The main disadvantage of the exam diet is that it is quite a hassle checking what you can or cannot eat. This is because there are a lot of hidden carbs in commercial food preps. So I choose instead to cook a variety of meals at home where I can control what I put in my mouth. This requires a bit more effort but ensures you stay in ketosis. Because any increase in blood glucose beyond a net carb intake exceeding 20g will push you out of it. And you lose the benefits. Also, getting into ketosis takes time. One can’t simply eat a fatty meal and hope to get into ketosis. Finally, people who start the diet for the first time may experience the ‘keto-flu’ as they transit into ketosis. This is especially true for people who have insufficient salt intake. The mechanism and solution is explained here. The exam diet: how to In the morning, I will kick start with a blend of coconut oil and grass-fed butter (Anchor) into my tea. The coconut oil I use is a special distillate for caprylic and capric oils found in coconut oil. These are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) of 8-10 hydrocarbons which makes their absorption faster allowing me to utilize them for energy without delay. I don’t use brands that don’t label how much of which exact MCTs it contains. I don’t use coconut oils directly because only 20% of the oil are desirable MCTs. And that’s all I have for breakfast! Sometimes, if I am outside I will order a keto-coffee instead at Starbucks. Here’s how I order mine: short flat white, replace milk with half and half (or which is permissible without extra charges). Heavy whipped cream and water. The mix in a serving of butter they use for sandwiches. There are many reasons why I have this type of ‘breakfast’. This video summarizes it. In the late afternoon, I will scramble eggs with some wild rockets. And by dinner time, a big salad I mix with extra-virgin, olive oil and coconut oil, sea salt and turmeric. An easy way to increase the fat content is to add macadamia nuts. The exam diet: know the bad fats Before we end though, I want to talk a bit about the some surprising facts about fats. This is especially important for students who want to try out the exam diet for academic success. There are many types of fats and not all of them are great. In fact many vegetable oils are really bad! Many don’t know this. Trans-fats are really awful too but many already know about it. So let’s focus on the vegetable oils. These oils are typically polyunsaturated. Unsaturated fats are those that have a C=C bond in their carbon skeleton. I compare the structure to a saturated fatty acid below for easy reference. So if there are several of them, they are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The problem with these fats are that they are really fragile. Heat, light and oxygen can lead to modification of its structure resulting in inflammatory end products. And inflammation factor into many medical diseases directly such as heart disease. And the modern diet is now full of PUFAs. Because they are much cheaper. So restaurants start using them for all kinds of cooking. If you want to know more, this video has a great overview. The exam diet: bottomline If you have read all the way through until here. It means you are really serious about your exam performance. Great attitude! It is not going to be easy but you will begin to reap the rewards the moment you go into ketosis. Because you will realize you suddenly have much more energy and clarity of mind that will in turn aid your exam performance/preparations. All the best for the upcoming prelims!