The iCanStudy Roadmap

See what to expect on your journey

What does baking have to do with studying?

Cracking an egg into a bowl as someone bakes a cake

When baking...

student studying buy a desk, reading a book

When studying...

And now imagine this for a moment...

Imagine baking with the wrong recipe. Even with the best ingredients, the best heat and the best oven, we’re unlikely to get a very good cake! Just like with studying, if we use the wrong techniques, all of our hard work and effort can easily go to waste, especially when our margin of error to get a top result is so narrow. Without effort, we get no result. Without the right recipe, we don’t get the result we wanted!

Now imagine baking with a recipe that 99% of other people don’t even know about. Even with the same amount of heat, our result would be better!

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Lau Tzu
Dr Justin Sung

Good grades aren't magic.

Grades are a symptom of the right processes. But exactly which processes? With over 30 years of educational experience in our team, hundreds of articles reviewed, and thousands of students assisted, we've cracked the formula to consistently allow students to achieve top 1% results with at least 50% less studying. It's not an instant fix - but it works.

Dr Justin Sung, Co-Founder of iCanStudy, Head of Learning

Understanding the recipe for student Success

Effort + System + Skills + Intelligence = Success

Flip each of the boxes below to see how every single aspect is critical. We’ve seen deficiencies of a single factor undermine a student’s success countless times.


Hard work is necessary. You can't succeed without putting in the time and effort and diligence but...

Hard Work Isn't Enough

You could easily be doing the wrong thing more! If all it took was hard work, success would be easy. Does everyone who works hard do well?


Systems are groups of techniques that work together. Without this, effort is wasted when it could be much easier.

Top 1% Systems are Rare

Systems to get you top 1% results are rare. Most people have never even heard of or thought about study systems.


Time management, studying techniques, exam techniques... Without the right skills, you rely on luck or tutoring. But...

Skills Are Directionless

Not only is it difficult to develop skills to a high level, but it's also difficult to even know which skills to develop and when.


You need to be smart enough to develop your skills and understand why some systems are more effective than others. But...

Intelligence Changes

Part of intelligence is genetics. But research into neuroplasticity tells us that we become smarter by using the right techniques.

Let's Define Student "Success"

A successful student is characterised by high grades that are achieved consistently and confidently. This creates top results without stress! But what allows a student to achieve high grades with consistency?

High Grades

Top 1 to 10% results for most or all subjects, regardless of difficulty.


Strong Time Management

Appropriate scheduling and low level of procrastination allows execution of high-efficiency tasks and revision schedules on a daily, weekly and monthly basis without falling behind.

High Studying Efficiency

Time spent studying produces higher quality learning at a higher retention, reducing the amount of time needed to study and re-revise.

Precise Prioritisation

Time spent is strategically invested in high-yield tasks.

Steady and Deep Concentration

Ability to focus and be less easily distracted. Quality of time spent on tasks is higher.

Consistent Outcomes

Predictability and confidence despite unexpected challenges.


Confidence in System

A highly personalised and refined system provides security, knowing that the tried-and-tested outcome of following the system is a top result.

Future-Proof Improvement

More efficient methods are constantly sought after. A "good enough so far" mentality is never accepted as it can catastrophically sacrifice performance in future challenges.

Even Higher Open-Mindedness

Solutions to problems are actively experimented on without fear of failure. This allows rapid, unrestricted growth despite potential short-term instability.

Very High Self-Awareness

Weaknesses and limitations in studying or time management techniques are identified quickly. Problems do not linger.

In Summary

Successful students achieve...

But to achieve these successful outcomes students must...

And to develop these processes, they need...

A man doing woodwork in a workshop
A skilled craftsman produces excellent work because his skills and techniques naturally allow him to. Grades are a natural consequence of excellent study, time management and stress management skills.

Have you ever thought about this?

If most students study in essentially the same way, how do you expect to achieve significantly better results if you use the same methods? Have you already been putting in reasonable effort? If so, how much better would your results be by only trying harder? Do you even know why the studying techniques you use work or don't work? Or how learning occurs in the brain?

In our over 20 years of teaching and educational experience, we have found that virtually all students at a high-school level study with incorrect techniques. When evaluating students achieving at the top 20% nationwide, over 80% study with a studying efficiency of under 20%, with 99% studying with an efficiency below 50%.

This means that, for most students, if they study for 10 hours, they are only getting around 2 hours of meaningful learning. This causes them to forget often, have low retention, re-learn material constantly, repeatedly revise and write notes, sacrificing sleep, hobbies and socialising in the meantime.

The Truth About Studying Efficiently

And the Lies We Love to Believe

Imagine if the way you have been studying was fundamentally wrong. Imagine if everything you worked hard to academically achieve could have been done 2 to 4 times more easily.

This is a deeply unsettling and uncomfortable thought. We are told that hard work is the key and believing otherwise challenges our perception of control. Effort is something we know. We know how to try hard and the thought that it might not be enough is scary. If not hard work, what do we have left? Hard work being the solution is a lie that we don’t want to accept because it robs us of control.

But we need to accept this to give ourselves a chance. Because there is an alternative.

This alternative is much safer, increases your chance of success, and actually even increases how much control you have over your grades and academic confidence.

Study Efficency = Study Skills + Intelligence

Good study skills mean that we can spend very little time studying, but learn a high amount to a high retention, then apply the information to solve problems.

Students with "high" study efficiency should be able to study at least 1 month of school content in at most 6 hours of self-study to at least 90% retention.

Study Skills = Techniques + Systems

Techniques are what you use when you are listening, reading, writing notes, revising and everything else we call "studying".

Systems are how all of your techniques come together into something consistent, adaptable and bullet-proof.

Intelligence = Cognitive Habits + Genetics

Part of intelligence is set by genetics. This is the hand you are dealt.

The other part is what you do with that hand. Research shows that you can train your brain to become smarter over time with the right techniques and systems!

The problem

1. Challenges increase exponentially

Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12

Content quantity (based on number of concepts) x Exam difficulty (based on subjective survey of students) – scaled as a percentage to the maximum score

...especially for competitive careers like medicine

Year 12
Year 1 Med
Year 4 Med
Surgical Exams (Similar to all years of med school combined, or around 40x year 12)
Year 12
Yr 1 Med
Surgical Exams (Similar to all years of med school combined, or around 40x year 12)

Clearly, the techniques that are good enough right now won’t be good enough for very long! Unfortunately, improving your skills is harder than it should be.

2. Common techniques are ineffective

Techniques and systems that are popular tend to be ineffective, while techniques that are highly effective tend to be buried in the research, difficult to use or heavily theoretical.

Sort the below table by priority vs effectiveness to see the stark difference between popularity of learning techniques compared to their relative total effectiveness.

Technique Popularity Effectiveness
Pomodoro Technique
Very High
Low to Moderate
Spaced Repetition
Reasonably High
Low to Moderate
Active Recall
Very High
Very High
Inquiry-Based Learning
Extremely Low
Very High
Constructivist Revision
Reasonably High
Cornell Note-Taking
Relational-Priority Mindmapping
Extremely Low
Very High
Structural Priming
Low to Moderate
Very High
Syntopical Reading
Low to Moderate
Reasonably High
Reasonably High
Practice Tests and Papers
Very High
Low to Moderate
Chunking-Based Techniques
Very High

Techniques based on inquiry-based learning can be complicated and technically challenging, however can increase retention and reduce the time needed to study by 4 to 10 fold! But virtually no one knows about these techniques outside of those heavily involved in educational research and theory.

Meanwhile, most students think that teaching or flashcards or active recall are the pinnacle of studying efficiency when they are only the most basic or superficial level of techniques. This is why students often find flashcards to become unsustainable and overwhelming, active recall to reveal depressingly low retention and teaching to be unfeasibly time-consuming.

Our Solution

We teach evidence-based techniques, used by top 0.05% students and backed by modern neuroscience research, packaged in immediately applicable systems for students to use and tap into their brain’s true learning potential. Using these systems, our students are able to study at least 50 to 75% less, while achieving 95% and above for all their assessments. These results have been consistently replicated across hundreds of students in multiple countries, across at least 7 different curriculums.

In short, it works and it works for most students.

How we solve...

Research on procrastination and willpower shows that most people fall into a trap of "ego depletion", otherwise known as "willpower exhaustion". This willpower dependency can effectively be reduced through environmental design and "Nudge theory".


Our Solution

We introduce an easy, 5-step system for building high-productivity habits to permanently reduce or entirely remove procrastination. Students report significantly reduced levels of procrastination as little as one week into the course.

We have identified that students fail on time management due to a combination of ineffective scheduling techniques and inconsistent prioritisation frameworks.


Our Solution

The course teaches multiple different frameworks and models of time management, combining techniques used by Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and some of the most productive people in the world. Students report an increase in time management, overall productivity and consistency within 2 to 4 weeks, with improvement continuing for up to 9 months.

Both modern learning psychology and current neuroscientific research shows that low retention is often a side-effect of poor "deep processing". Students who spend lots of time re-learning material they previously studied characteristically use studying techniques that are repetitive, use less "active learning", and do not facilitate deep processing.


Our Solution

Our famous Bear Hunter System is a full studying system derived from the field of "inquiry-based learning". Correct execution of this technique improves retention to over 90%, while reducing the time spent studying and re-revising by as low as 50%, up to 500% in some instances. Students report positive results within days of using the technique, with continuous improvement up to 3 years.

Our analysis of student performance, as well as research into the field of recall, memory and concentration related performance reduction tells us that poor performance during exams is often multi-factorial. It can be influenced by depth of focus, practice and revision technique, actual level of retention and even amount of sleep.


Our Solution

Our Bear Hunter System naturally increases the level of retention, while the combination of increased studying efficiency and better time management improves student's sleep quality and consistency. We also introduce exam execution techniques used by doctors, pilots, competitive athletes and special forces agents to consistently perform at their optimum under high-stress. Students report increased consistency in exam performance after as little as 3 weeks of practice.

The amount of research on motivation is staggering. Current modern understanding of motivation psychology shows that much of what we consider as motivation is actually pre-programmed habit combined with heavy influences from peers, societal norms, and our environment. Most research concludes that our own willpower and intention actually has a surprisingly small role in motivation and actual behaviours!


Our Solution

After years of experimentation with different systems, our course involves a hybrid of motivating peer-interaction and community (aiding in accountability and setting behavioural norms), as well as teaching systems for exploiting your own psychological biases and tendancies to trick yourself into becoming more motivated. If willpower isn't as important as we thought it was, we might as well use that to our advantage! Students report improved motivation and consistency within hours!

The outcome of our system

Within the 8 weeks of progressing through our course, students consistently report:

Students also often report feeling much more confident, much less anxious and enjoying studying (sometimes for the first time ever)!

Timeline of Development

Study skills, efficiency, time management, procrastination, motivation and mindset – each stage develops these in the optimal pace, allowing you to create a system that you can start using immediately for instant results that only improve and grow further over time.

Pre-Course - Diagnostics

Study efficiency diagnostic results after filling a form

Identify which areas of studying you are strongest and weakest in with our comprehensive diagnostic quiz., including a thorough breakdown and interpretation of your results and the symptoms you may see as a result of your score.

15 Minutes

Stage 0 - Fundamentals

Justin explaining some of the fundamentals of effective studying

Cover all the bases quickly. In this introductory mini-course, we go through basic skills for exam execution, note-taking, in-class technique, memorisation, study scheduling and revision technique.

2 Weeks | +10% Efficiency Fundamentals of spacing, interleaving and retreival
Multistore model of memory
Law of marginal gains
Basic studying skills across the board

Stage 1 - Briefing

Briefing Thumbnail

Proper planning prevents poor performance. Learn the basic fundamentals of study efficiency growth and the common mistakes that cause students to plateau or fail.

1 Week | +5-10% Efficiency How to improve quickly
Effective studying guidelines
How to take notes efficiently
Effective revision basics
Fundamentals of improving focus
Common studying and productivity traps/myths

Stage 2 - Technique Training

Technique Training Train your critical first set of intermediate study efficiency and productivity skills. We will build on these in the stages to come.

1 to 3 Weeks | +30-70% Efficiency The neuroscientific theory of learning
How memory really works
Basics techniques of inquiry-based learning
Techniques to improve retention
Guidelines for sustainable scheduling
System for reducing procrastination
Common mindsets that limit improvement

Stage 3 - Ascent I

Ascent Stage 1

By this point, we have a solid foundation of scheduling, time management, not procrastinating, effective studying and revision. We can start to turn up the efficiency by learning the Bear Hunter System. In this stage, we learn the "aim" step in detail with subject-specific examples, common mistakes, and pro-tips to save time.

2 Weeks | +20-30% Efficiency Part 1 of our full inqury-based learning system
Curriculum matched examples for different subjects
Reducing distractions
Maintaining extended focus

Stage 4 - Ascent II


Ascent Stage 2

Carry your aim into the "shoot" step with powerful note-taking techniques and subject-specific examples.

2 to 4 weeks | +40-70% Efficiency Part 2 of our full inqury-based learning system
Curriculum matched examples for different subjects
Advanced note-taking techniques
Making studying more strategic and time-efficient

Stage 5 - Ascent III

Ascent Stage 3

Take your knowledge to the next level with the "skin" step, and as always, subject-specific examples. This step massively boosts retention and protects against "curveball" exam questions.

1 to 3 weeks | +30-50% Efficiency Part 3 of our full inqury-based learning system
Curriculum matched examples for different subjects
Advanced mind-mapping

Stage 6 - Base Camp

Base Camp

Put "aim", "shoot" and "skin" into a fluent, cohesive system, as well as developing some key mindsets and behaviours that characterise successful students.

3 to 6 weeks | +30-100% Efficiency Full system consolidation
Growth mindset development
Reducing anxiety and over-analysis
Creating productive habits
Training to remove procrastination
Advanced time management and prioritisation
Maintaining flow and focus all day

Stage 7 - Camp I

Camp 1

Augment your Bear Hunter System with high-efficiency memorisation techniques and active flashcard management strategies.

1 week | +5-10% Efficiency Ultra-high efficiency memorisation techniques
Active flashcard management
Correct flashcard usage guidelines
Rote-learning techniques for 100% in tests

Stage 8 - Camp II

Camp 2

Complete your studying system with advanced revision strategies and techniques that are near impossible for most other students.

2 to 4 weeks | +10-20% Efficiency Advanced revision strategy and timing
Revising for unexpected questions
Increasing speed and quality of recall
Advanced time management strategies

Stage 9 - Summit


Nail in your exam day with test-strategies and exam techniques that allow the top students to perform consistently under pressure.

1 week | +5% Efficiency Performing under pressure
Reducing exam day anxiety
Preventing so-called "silly mistakes"
Routines for consistent excellence
Adapting to curveball questions

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We've already had our third UCAT Progress Class on Verbal Reasoning on Sun 6/9

Over 600 2021/22 candidates attended the event!

Make sure to enrol before our next UCAT Progress Class on Sun 20/9!

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