I'm looking for a word that describes practical/helpful knowledge that one should have, but doesn't, — due to the knowledge being less accessible than it should be. Something along the lines of trivia, but more helpful and not, well... trivial. Another similar word was life-hack, but I was looking for something that denoted knowledge more significant or substantial than novelty.


"Here's some [practical knowledge that you don't have] that'll make your student life easier."


13 Answers 13


Inside Information

Taking offset in the knowledge being 'inaccessible' or 'unknown' - I'd borrow a term from trading/business and use something like:

Inside information
"Here's some inside information that'll make your student life easier."

information known only by those most involved with the issue; secret information relating to an organization.

  • 4
    But this isn't a single word. Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 14:02
  • TIL what "inside information" meant.
    – reddit
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 5:14

Tricks of the Trade

This sort of information is often known as Tricks of the trade.

Useful tips that insiders know but are not normally known by those outside the circle.

With this idiom, trade is used loosely. It doesn't apply to a specific profession but just whatever activity is relevant to the situation.

  • Similarly 'Trade Secrets'. Same sort of thing but rather more carefully hidden from outsiders.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 15:06
  • 5
    see how Chenmunka got upvotes with one simple trick
    – jk.
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 15:16
  • 1
    A trick in this sense doesn't entail "knowledge that you should have", though. It's more of "something you may find useful but don't actually need" Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 15:36

I would suggest tips or secrets.

Here's some secrets/tips that'll make your student life easier.


tip noun
2 A small but useful piece of practical advice.

‘handy tips for decorating a small flat’

Well, now here are some tips for keeping on top of everything.

secret noun
1.2 A valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something.

[mass noun] ‘the secret of a happy marriage is compromise’

‘A star student revealed to me the secret to doing this properly.’


Protip or Pro Tip. From http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/protip:

Internet slang term commonly used in online communities and social networking platforms to preface a piece of advice or suggestion that may either be genuinely helpful or self-explanatory in nature.

So for example:

  • Here are some protips that'll make your student life easier.
  • 3
    One caveat I might add is that most people outside of internet communities will not know this. Otherwise, a good answer. Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 16:37
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Agree. In the sample sentence the OP was addressing students so I was hoping I was safe.
    – AllInOne
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 18:11
  • 1
    @BladorthinTheGrey What makes you think this term isn't main stream at this point?
    – jpmc26
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 0:50
  • Its worth emphasizing that 'protip' has negative connotations. Especially in the common form 'Protip: ...'. In which case its equivalent to 'Hey idiot: ...'. Granted, mainstream usage ignores this history (for example in the Discord app).
    – jmathew
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:57
  • @jmathew As far as I understand, that's how the term really gained traction (see "Doom PROTIP Parody").
    – Rhymoid
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 22:37


The term insight(s) roughly matches your desired purpose.

Insight: an understanding of the true nature of something

I think it makes more sense as a plural written as

Here are some insights [I've had] that'll make your life as a student easier.


Additionally, if you want to emphasize the hidden nature of the knowledge, revelation(s) could work well.

Here are some revelations [I've had] that'll make your life as a student easier.

In both cases I think the addition of the phrase 'I've had' sounds better, but attributes the speaker as the source of the information in a way that might not fit your intent.

All citations from the online Merriam-Webster website.



What about lowdown meaning the inside facts per Merriam-Webster.

So for example:

  • Here's the lowdown on class scheduling that'll make your student life easier.

I like lowdown because it kind of implies insider knowledge or info that isn't known to everyone but requires some experience to get. Also tip or advice may fit here; it’s hard to find a single word rather than a phrase.

  • I do like lowdown, and it does fit the description just enough to pass. I'll wait for other people to suggest answers before selecting this one.
    – hamish1467
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 12:09

Wisdom, specifically in the sense of knowledge gained through experience.

  • Before I left for college, my dad bestowed this wisdom on me: “Never eat pizza from a chinese buffet.”

Tribal Knowledge

The term tribal knowledge fits your description. Per Wikipedia’s article on this:

Tribal knowledge is any unwritten information that is not commonly known by others within a company. This term is used most when referencing information that may need to be known by others in order to produce quality product or service.

While typically used in a business sense, if said by a college senior to a freshman it fits your example.


The devil is in the details : intricacies.

details, especially of an involved or perplexing subject. –Google

"Here's some of the intricacies that knowing will make this easier."


1 : characteristic peculiarities or technicalities –MW

The devil is in the details

1 : the details of a matter are its most problematic aspect. –Google


Unwritten Rules

How about unwritten rules (also unspoken rules)?

From Urban Dictionary:

unwritten rule: a rule, usually concerning social behavior, which is known by all but spoken by none. This rule is neither official nor written down. It just is.

As per the question, an unwritten (or unspoken) rule "describes practical/helpful knowledge that one should have, but doesn't — due to the knowledge being less accessible than it should be" (because it's neither written nor spoken).

Also see The Free Dictionary.



"Pearls of knowledge" (more than "pearls of wisdom") are more formal, important and difficult to attain than "the skinny," "the scuttlebutt," and "the lowdown," which are cool, casual, and a bit transient or gossipy. ;-) "Pearls" may be used straight up, or in jest. A quick Amazon non-fiction books search would reveal that hundreds of technical and software programming fields, medical sub-specialty boards, as well as more general topics on parenting or self-help, have published concise compendia of "Pearls." Pearls are a career's checklist, a getting started guide, or a "Cliff's Notes," to a field of study's "Encyclopedia Britannica" or Department Library.

Aptly quoting: Managing Software Engineering Knowledge - Page 89 https://books.Google.com/books?isbn=366205129X Aybüke Aurum, ‎Ross Jeffery, ‎Claes Wohlin - 2013 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions The knowledge “dust” evolves over time into well-packaged experience in the form of knowledge “pearls,” a refined form of knowledge. An example is captured dialogues regarding technical problems (knowledge dust) that are analyzed and ...

Usage: The chief resident handed each of the anxious new interns a laminated pocket guide with important extensions on one side, and a few ventilator algorithms on the back, "A few pearls. We don't want to kill any more patients than necessary in the MICU this month..."



Previous answer for esoteric was voted down, but seemed to be on the right track. Esoterica, the neo-Latin noun form of the word refers to subjects or items of knowledge that are themselves esoteric. As in:

"Here's some esoterica that'll make your student life easier."

Although the colloquial grammar does clash somewhat with the word. Perhaps something more like:

"Here are several items of esoterica that will help you in your student life."

  • 1
    I find it very unlikely that the students would understand "esoterica" since it is itself very esoteric. Also, your second sentence sounds super awkward, though "several items of esoterica" would be a great name for a trivia book
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 16:41
  • Esoterica denotes something which is of limited availability or awareness, but also connotes that it is of limited value to those not specifically interested in the field. Whether peanut oil or lard is the best thing to fry chicharrons in is only advice of interest to people who make their own chicharrons, whereas a little-known source of cheap food is something many students could benefit from.
    – barbecue
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 17:33

The term became politically loaded after it was first coined, but you might mean 'cultural literacy' - the set of common knowledge, metaphors, and concepts that people in a particular society have in order to communicate effectively with each other.

The culturally literate person is able to talk to and understand others of that culture with fluency, while the culturally illiterate person fails to understand culturally-conditioned allusions, references to past events, idiomatic expressions, jokes, names, places, etc.

The part in your question of "more substantial than trivia or life-hack" is what prompted me to suggest this...

  • 5
    So "Here's some cultural literacy that'll make your student life easier"? Not only does that sound awkward, but it sounds condescending, as if implying that the reader is culturally illiterate. Not a very good fit imo. Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 14:00

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