1. Rely on systems, not motivation.
Students who do well in school don’t wait until they’re in the mood to do a focused study session before they get down to work.
Neither do they wait until they feel motivated before they start preparing for an exam.
Instead, successful students rely on systems to ensure that they get the work done, even when they don’t feel like it.
(Keep on reading to find out what some of these systems are.)
2. Review any new information you’ve learned on the same day.
This daily review won’t take long to complete, but it’s a vital step that ensures you stay on top of the material.
Applying this tip will also help you to move the information to your long-term memory more quickly.
3. Write everything down.
To be an effective student, write everything down.
This includes homework to be completed, test and exam dates, project deadlines, competition dates, school and family events, etc.
Don’t assume that you’ll be able to remember anything; write it all down to stay organised.
This tip might sound extreme, but life only gets busier as you get older. So this tip will serve you well for the rest of your life.
4. Create a rough weekly schedule.
Writing in planner
It’s impossible to follow a schedule down to the minute, but it’s still helpful to create a schedule.
Write down your rough weekly schedule based on your recurring commitments, e.g. school, extracurricular actitivies, family and social events, religious activities.
Then block out regular time each week for homework and studying.
For example, your rough weekly schedule might state that you’ll do work on:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 7pm to 9:30pm
Tuesday and Thursday: 4pm to 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2pm to 5pm
5. Develop good posture.
Good posture improves your mood, and also enhances your memory and learning.
So sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and lift up your chin – and you’ll perform better in school.
For more tips on improving your posture, check out this detailed article.
6. Don’t multitask.
It’s a fact: There’s no such thing as multitasking.
Whenever you’re multitasking, you’re actually just switching between tasks. This reduces your studying efficiency.
So don’t multitask when you’re studying or doing your homework. Instead, focus on one task at a time, and you’ll find that you’ll get more done in less time.
7. Cultivate the belief that intelligence isn’t a fixed trait.
Research has proven that students who believe that they can become smarter actually do become smarter.
Belief is that powerful.
In other words, intelligence is a trait that you can develop over time.
Don’t ever label yourself as “dumb” or “not academically inclined”, because with the right mindset you can become more intelligent.
8. Work in short blocks of time.
I’ve found that most students can’t maintain a high level of focus for more than 45 minutes at a go.
As such, I generally recommend working in 30- to 45-minute blocks, followed by a 5- to 10-minute break.
Working in shorter blocks of time is more effective for the majority of students, rather than struggling to focus for a couple of hours straight.
9. Exercise regularly.
Exercise to be a better student
Regular exercise helps you to remember information better, enhances your concentration, and makes you more creative.
This is in addition to the other health benefits of exercise.
What does this mean for students who want to be successful in school?
Make exercise a fixed part of your weekly routine. Exercise three to four times a week, for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time.
10. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Students who perform well are effective learners. As the research shows, sleep is a vital part of becoming an effective learner.
Sleep boosts memory and enhances learning. So go to bed at roughly the same time every day, and make it a priority to get 8 hours of sleep a night.
If you do this, I’m sure you’ll see an improvement in your academic performance.
11. Ask lots of questions.
Asking your friends and teachers questions about what you’re learning is a great way to stay engaged. It also ensures that you understand the new material.
Don’t be afraid of asking silly questions. Besides, if you pay attention in class, your questions will likely be logical and insightful.
12. Take a few minutes to prepare for each class.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Preparing for class is something I encourage every student to do.
Every night, think about the classes that you’ll be having the following day in school.
Take a few minutes to skim the textbook or notes, so that you’ll be familiar with what your teacher will cover the next day.
In addition, do a quick recap of the previous topic, because the new topic will likely build on what you’ve already learned.
This process won’t take long, but it will pay off in the long run.
13. Make time to relax.
Doing well in school isn’t about getting good grades and outperforming your classmates. It’s about leading a balanced life that’s focused on contributing to others.
To lead a balanced life, it’s important to set aside time for relaxation.
Block out time for relaxation in your weekly schedule to ensure that you don’t burn out.
14. Use memory techniques.
Students use memory techniques
Memory techniques are powerful ways to learn information more quickly.
Here are some of the most useful ones I’ve come across:
15. Take practice exams under exam conditions.
It isn’t practical to do too many practice exams under exam conditions, because it’s time-consuming.
But before every exam, I recommend that you do at least two to three practice exams under exam conditions.
This will help you to prepare adequately, and will train you to deal with the time pressure of the exam too.