How to Be a Successful Student
- Developing the Qualities of a Successful Student
Successful students know how to focus on their studies when it matters while also taking breaks when they need them. They can manage their time wisely, stick to meaningful study schedules, and make the most of their time in the classroom. In the process, successful students also know how to have a good time, and love gaining knowledge as much as they enjoy getting stellar grades.
- Make your studies a priority
Successful students know how to succeed because they’ve made their studies their top priority. Though it’s important to make time for friends, family, extracurricular activities, and even some solo down time, you should never neglect the time you need to spend studying. If you have an important exam coming up and don’t feel prepared, then you should probably skip the big party two days before it. If you’re really behind on your French, then you may need to skip that new episode of Criminal Minds for the time being. This doesn’t mean that you can never do the things you want to do, but that you should recognize when studying should be at the top of your list.
- That said, you can’t ignore everything in the world just so you can study. If a friend or family member is having a crisis, you can’t ditch him or her just to study, either.
- Be punctual
Develop the habit of judging time and learn how to arrive where you need to be on time. In fact, you should plan to be a bit early anywhere you go so you have time to get situated, focused, and ready to learn when you get there. Whether you have to take a test or have a study date with a friend, it’s important to be on time if you want to be a successful student.
- Work honestly
This means you should do your own work, avoid copying, and avoid cheating at all costs. Cheating won’t get you anywhere, and what may seem like a shortcut one day can actually get you into a lot of trouble the next. It’s never worth it to cheat on a test, and you’re far better off not doing well on an exam you’re not prepared for than getting caught cheating. Even if you’re not caught, cheating makes you think it’s okay to take shortcuts when it comes to life and studying, and it can lead to some bad habits down the line.
- Don’t fall into peer pressure, either. In some schools, cheating is considered the norm, and it seems like so many kids are doing it that you might as well join in. This kind of group thinking is very dangerous and can keep you from reaching your potential
- Stay focused
Successful students stay focused on the task at hand. If you have to study one chapter of your history book for an hour, you need to commit to doing so instead of letting your mind wander. If you need a break, take a short 10 minute one, but don’t let it run over into an hour long break with only 10 minutes of studying. You can actually train your mind to concentrate for longer and longer periods of time, so even if you feel like you can’t focus for more than 15 minutes straight, just work on building up to 20 minutes, and then building up to 30 minutes and so on.
- That said, most people really shouldn’t focus or do one task for more than 60 or 90 minutes. Getting a 10-15 minute break in between those times can help you regenerate your energy and commit to focusing again.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Successful students succeed on their own terms. They don’t care what their brother, neighbor, or lab partner does in school because they know that in the end, all that matters is their own success. If you get too bogged down in what other people are doing, then you’re bound to be disappointed in yourself or to become so competitive that your mind gets poisoned. Learn to brush the others aside and to focus on doing the best that you can do.
- Don’t compare yourself with anyone. With this, you are insulting yourself.
- Work on making incremental progress
If you want to be a successful student, then you shouldn’t aim to go from a “C” to an “A” average. Instead, you should work on going to a “C+” and then a “B-,” and so on, so your progress is manageable and so you don’t get disappointed. Successful students know that it’s hard to improve by leaps and bounds and focus on the details instead of jumping ahead to the final product. If you want to be a successful student, then you have to be okay with improving little by little.
- Get excited about the material
Successful students aren’t just machines who work to get “A”s no matter what. They actually care and are interested in the material that they study, and their passion for knowledge helps them improve. Of course, you can’t get excited about every little thing you’re learning, from photosynthesis to linear equations, but you can try to find something that you care about in every class. This will keep you focused and will make it more fun for you to learn.
- If you really find something you’re passionate about in class, then you should do some outside reading to get even more excited about the topic. For example, if you loved reading The Sun Also Rises in class, try reading A Movable Feast or some of Hemingway’s other works on your own, too.
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