In Higher Education, Does the 80/20 Rule Apply?

Have you heard about the 80/20 rule in business? It’s simple. Select the 20% of the work you do that yields 80% of the results. Focus on that work first to ensure that you are moving things forward, maximizing productivity, and gaining profits. However, does it work for other areas of your life, such as education? Let’s look at the “yes” and “no” answers.


80% is a passing grade. It’s a B, which isn’t too bad. I just need to focus on the 20% of my education that will get me 80% on my tests, and I’ll do great. After I graduate, I’ll get a job, prosper, and live the life I always hoped for.


Does anyone really think that by only focusing on 20% of what you learn, you will gain a valuable understanding of the topic? Even if someone could get an 80% score on the test, they will not be able to apply that education in real life. The goal of learning is to actually learn, not to simply pass a class. A student must learn 100% and shoot for perfect understanding; the good grades will follow.

I’ve asked around and most people agreed that “NO” was the correct answer. So, if you’re a student, you really need to have a desire to learn and want to invest your time in your future. You maybe even have to trade things like television shows, nights out on the town, and days of doing nothing for time in the books, discussions, and nights on the computer (which can be fun, too). Through your hard work, you may even meet teachers who inspire you, thrill you, and make it okay for you to skip “fun” activities to learn. If teachers do it right, learning will be the fun thing you want to do. Don’t believe me? I would have loved science if this teacher taught me in high school.

Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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