Here are 6 habits of top students that you can use to do better in school:
1) They do not “read through” textbooks
Reading through textbooks is often the least effective method for learning. Not only is it time-consuming and boring, it gives the student a false sense of learning after enduring through the whole chapter. But when asked to recall, most of the students have difficulty remembering what they just read. Top students do not learn by passively reading through textbooks. Instead, they learn actively by drawing mindmaps, practicing problems, continually testing themselves and asking questions.
2) They test themselves frequently
While learning new material, you can strengthen the retention of knowledge by testing yourself. By frequently checking on your own understanding, you uncover the gaps in your understanding and force your brain to make connections. This turns learning into an active process and has been proven to be one of the most effective learning techniques.
3) They do not complete every homework
Students have access to too many practice questions and homework nowadays. Sources of homework can be school teachers, tuition teachers, parents and even students themselves. Inadvertently, there will be gross overlaps and repetition of homework problems. Some of these work are time-consuming and of little learning value. Top students manage their own time. They use the 80/20 rule to select the work that brings them the most benefits and puts the rest aside.
4) They do not own a highlighter
Students highlight points that they deem important, believing that they would re-visit the important points again when they revise. This relieves them of the pressure to learn the material at that moment. Instead of making a point to learn the material on the spot, they give themselves the right to procrastinate the learning. Very often, students highlight larger and larger portions of the notes as they study, meaning they are procrastinating more and more.
Instead, top students actively summarize what they learn and create their own notes as they study. By creating your own notes, half the battle is already won. You force yourself to go through the notes, consolidate the important learnings and organize them into a way you understand. That itself is a great leap towards learning the material.
5) They learn by doing
The purpose of learning is so that we can apply it. One can memorize all the faces and formulas. But if one is unable to apply them, the information is useless. Top students know the importance of practicing problems, especially past exam papers.
Furthermore, professors and educators aren’t often the most inventive folks. As such, most exams are repeated in the same format year after year with some tweaks in minor details. As such, doing past year exam papers is analogous to cheating except it is fully legal.
6) They take personal responsibility for learning
Top students do well regardless whether their school teachers are fantastic or horrible. By understanding that only they themselves are truly responsible for their own education, they do not let traditional schooling be the limit of their education. They are resourceful enough to seek help from friends, classmates, external tuitions, library when they necessary.