How to become a successful student?
I attended the last graduation ceremony at our school. I am one of the instructors and professors who witnessed the success of more than 2,000 graduates.
But there was one thing I noticed on that occasion. Out of those 2,000 graduates, only a handful got the academic honors. Roughly 98% of the graduates don’t earn academic rewards. This made me wonder how the 2% differs from the majority.
However, this conception is actually wrong. Success in school does not really rely on the height of one’s intelligence.
The truth is that any students can have tremendous academic success if they want to. If you are one of those who believes in the wrong belief, you might probably think that academic honors are impossible for you to achieve.
But I’m here a little bit in your face telling you that you can be as successful student as you want to be. One of the biggest secrets in academic success is that academically successful students are not born smart. Instead, they behave differently from the majority of their counterparts.
If that so, it means that you can also be like them. There’s no reason why you can’t achieve what they achieved.
Back in my college days, I was also a straight-A student. But I know that I am not the smartest. In fact, some of my classmates were smarter than me. The only difference between me and them was that I did the right things they did not do.
In school, a habit can be everything. IQ is secondary. You can have the highest IQ level but flunk out of school.
In my case, I developed effective habits that helped me succeed in the grades that I wanted to have every end of the semester. Guess what, I never failed.
Today, I will be sharing with you the tips on how to become a successful student. I wrote this post primarily for those students who doubted their own potential and capability. It is my hope that you’ll realize how powerful you are – that there’s nothing you cannot do. So let’s hop on the following tips.
1. Develop self-discipline
You might hear this over and over again. I am sorry if I say it again in here. I have a very important reason for mentioning self-discipline in this post. The reason is that it always works. Success requires self-discipline.
You have to understand that there is no successful person who is not disciplined. It is always part of the equation. The same principle operates in school too.
One of the biggest mistakes that students can make is when they try to find motivations every day. That is a bad idea. Why? Because motivation is something that does not last long enough. If so, then it will not fuel you throughout your academic journey.
But self-discipline gives you power. It allows you and forces you to do what is necessary to be done in any given time.
If you don’t like to go out of bed, you go out of bed. If you don’t like to study, you do study your lesson. You can absolutely do these things regardless of whether you are motivated or not. Self-discipline will push you to accomplish things regardless of your feeling toward the task at hand.
2. Develop a habit of reviewing your lesson every day
What I noticed as a university instructor is that academically successful students do not just wander around the campus without a purpose. They are always busy reading and doing things. This is one of the habits of that 2 % that you don’t commonly see in the majority.
If you want to succeed in school too, you have to use your time productively. Read and study the lessons you just learned that day. Reading repeatedly allows your brain to register the information well.
On the neural basis of learning, your neurons or cells in the brain will hold the information you just learned. But it is pretty fragile at this point.
To retain the information or make it permanent, you have to transform it into a long-term memory. Long-term memory is a theoretical concept that pertains to the long-term storage of information in the mind.
The best way to store your learning into a long-term memory is reading, reading, and reading. The brain loves repetition. So always read.
3. Jot down notes
The biggest weakness of human memory is that it is vulnerable to forgetting. This means that you cannot and should not heavily rely on it.
In school, the best practice is always right down the important points during the class discussion. Academically successful students are good at writing notes while listening to the lecture.
In the world that is full of distractions, you need to have a backup plan. When it comes to remembering the concepts discussed in your classes, there is no substitute for note taking.
If you want to succeed as a student, you should develop this habit too.
4. Schedule your study sessions
One common component of success in any area is discipline. And that always involves following a schedule.
As a student, scheduling your study sessions can tremendously help you succeed in school. This is one of the characteristics of the most successful students.
Oftentimes, scheduling involves sacrifices. You have to give up some of the activities you love doing. This may include but not limited to going out with your friends, weekend camping, and watching movies.
The times that you could have spent in those activities can be used for studies. This may be too much for some. But when I was a student I did the same. I spend 90% of my time studying.
If you want to attain the same level of academic success, you need to sacrifice. You need to understand that success does not come easily. You have to be willing to pay the price.
5. Avoid distractions
This is a basic advice. But there is a reason why I include it here. Your brain is incapable of attending multiple stimuli at a given period of time. So distractions will impair your ability to stay focus.
If you are studying, turn off your gadgets or phones. Study in the conducive places like the library, in your room, or any place in your house that is free from distractions.
6. Avoid multitasking
Cramming is common among students. Multitasking seems to be the best strategy when you are being chased by time. But contrary to the common belief, multitasking is not effective. Students who cling to this strategy commonly fall short of their ultimate goal.
If you want to achieve your academic goal, you have to stop multitasking. The best way to attain that is by spending your time productively. If you have implemented self-discipline and scheduling, you will be able to avoid cramming.
7. Develop a Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck proposed the concept of Fixed and Growth Mindset. People with fixed Mindset tend to believe that their intelligence is fixed and therefore cannot be developed. Their self-defeating belief detriments their performance.
On the other hand, people with the Growth Mindset are creative and always optimistic. They always find ways to achieve their goals. People with Growth Mindset believe in their ability to improve their talents and overall potential.
Carol Dweck found that students who have Growth Mindset outperform those with a Fixed Mindset. If you want to succeed in school, you need to have a growth mindset.
Be optimistic. Know that you have what it takes to succeed. You just need to be creative and optimistic. Use all the resources that you have. Be different.
8. Review your lesson intermittently
The common belief is that studying long hours boosts academic performance. This is not true. In fact, studying for long hours may only impair your cognitive performance. In one study, students who review their lessons for 3-6 hours a day had failed in their exams.
The reason for this is that mental focus only lasts for about 25-30 minutes. So studying for more than 30 minutes simply not effective. The best way instead is to divide your study sessions by having short 5 to10-minute breaks.
9. Exercise or engage in physical activities regularly
Studies found that physical activities boost focus and concentration. Daily exercise, for instance, could boost brain functioning resulting in better cognitive performance. Aside from cognitive benefits, exercise could also boost physical health.
10. Stay organized
Being organized is a key to success. The lack of organization may result in cramming. Students who are organized are able to manage and use their time effectively.
There are many ways to be organized. Planning is one of them. You need to plan your activities and assignments. Put everything in their respective time.
I hope that these tips on how to become a successful student will help you attain your academic goal. Good luck!
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.