How to be a straight-A student?
Most students struggle at school. As a teacher, I see a majority of students fail and have problems with their courses.
On the other side, there quite a few who really succeeded in attaining high grades. So the fundamental question is: what separates a few highly successful students from the majority who fail?
Of course, you may argue that intelligence is one big factor in academic success. But it is not always the case. In fact, not all straight-A students have high IQ.
However, when you look at highly successful students, you’ll get a clear idea what makes them successful. Generally, the common thing that defines academic success is a habit.
Like in real life, habits play important role in achieving goals. Good habits lead to high success. And the negative habits will lead to negative and undesirable outcomes.
Here are the eight habits which are common among highly successful students.
1. Straight-A student plans ahead.
If you are a student, try to observe what your fellow students are doing. Chances are you’ll notice that many of them (may include yourself) spend so much time talking things that aren’t related to their academic subjects.
That’s the common scenario. Have you found a single student who stays in one corner reading a book? I bet, you can’t always see a student like that? Why? Because they are rare.
But what makes successful students different? Why are they seem to be so busy all the time? Well, it is because they don’t waste their time doing unproductive activities.
They always make plans. They follow schedules for all of their activities. Observing time is part of their habit.
Whereas the majority of students just roam around without purpose. They don’t pay attention to their schedules. As a result, they end up cramming when the final exam and deadline come.
Academic success involves planning ahead of time. It allows you to monitor how much you’ve done already and how much work left to be done.
If you want to be a straight-A student, a list of activities and a calendar are your important tools. Observe time carefully and follow schedules strictly.
But this does not mean that you should forget all your friends and loved ones in order to stay focused. A successful student is well-rounded. This means that s/he can do other extracurricular activities too. When you follow your plans properly, you’ll have more free time that you can spend on other activities.
Through advance planning, students can achieve more than academic success.
2. Straight-A student quickly adapts adulthood.
Another quality or habit of successful students is that they are flexible to growth. They make their own decisions and they do their stuff independently. This is a sign that they grow older. In other words, they learn to become responsible for their actions.
Growing older is not always related to chronological age. It’s more of a mental age. In fact, some adolescents have better decision-making capability than adults.
Being a student, there’s a big possibility that you live in an apartment away from home. You cook your own food, wash your own clothes, and buy your food supplies. It can be scary at first. But if you can be able to adapt to the new environment and new lifestyle, you’ll easily get used to it.
3. Straight-A student solves his/her own problems.
Highly successful students find solutions for their problems. They seriously find ways to solve the obstacle.
However, they don’t try to be boastful by not asking help. Of course, they need suggestions and help from others. In fact, finding help from other people is a sign of intelligence.
What successful students do is that they will try to figure out how to solve a problem at hand first. Some companies call this the 15-minute rule. What this means is that, if you encounter a hard problem, do not ask for help immediately. Instead, spend 15 minutes trying to solve the problem. But if you can’t fix it, you can now ask for help.
But before asking somebody’s help, you need to list down the “bits and pieces” of the problem. Specify what you already did and what area you did not able to solve.
This process will help the helper to figure out the problem and make effective actions.
If you are given a project on which you don’t know what to do, try to do it by yourself first. Make an online research. Read references and other materials that can help you proceed.
But if you can’t still make it, it’s time to ask help from your teacher. Tell him/her what you did and what aspects of the project remain a problem to you. Doing this indicates that you are interested in your studies.
As a teacher, I will be gladder and willing to help students who show interest.
4. Straight-A student builds interpersonal relationships.
Yes, successful students are busy. But not to the extent that they couldn’t have friends and social connections. In fact, they have better social interactions than the average ones.
Relationships are helpful in building self-growth not only in school but also in real life.
Building a relationship with the people you regularly encounter on campus is essential to your success. Your friends could become your great source of help.
A relationship you can build is not limited to your fellow students. You can also establish a firm connection between you and your teachers or professors. But, of course, maintain a professional one.
One way to do this is by introducing yourself to your teacher from the very start of the semester. Have a warm handshake and share your interest in the subject. Share your personal interests if possible.
Know your teachers’ interest too. It is easier for you to communicate if you have something in common. For example, if you find an interesting article online which you think your teacher might also interested, share it. Ask questions about the article. This process could strengthen your relationship.
5. Straight-A student learns more than necessary.
Successful students do not rely on class discussions alone. They find another way of learning outside of class. For instance, they make an online research on the subject and gather as many information as possible. As a result, they become equipped with wide range of information even before entering their classes.
The good thing about learning outside of class is that you can expand your horizon and be able to discover things that might also interest you.
The more you explore, the more you’ll notice the vast opportunities. You can also develop a skill that later on becomes an asset when you apply for a job after graduation.
6. Straight-A student always looking for opportunities.
Successful students are not only successful in school but also in real life. They always get ahead of the competition because they are good at anticipating situations.
While you are in school, there are many opportunities that surround you. Unfortunately, most students don’t see it.
Have you noticed a bulletin board on campus? Try to look at brochures and flyers. Because internships and career opportunities are often posted on those boards.
Successful students don’t just plan for their academic journey but also make an advance plan for their career. They tend to browse job opportunities even before graduating from college.
In my experience both being a student and a teacher, I could say that any student can succeed in school. A straight-A student is not better than students who have average grades.
What defines academic success is a habit. Successful students have better habits than others. If you want to be a straight-A student, develop a habit that you need to achieve your goal. You can do it too.
I hope this will help and inspire students. If you want more like this, just let me know by leaving a comment below.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.