What Are the Secrets High Achieving Students Use?

What Are the Secrets High Achieving Students Use?

Strategic Success Study Hack #3 from The BRAIN WHISPERER ™ – BONUS ISSUE.

Parents, carers and educators – may I invite you to share this article with the children or students in your life to encourage them to design and maintain solid study habits that will support them throughout the year and beyond?

Students – How do you make EVERY lesson count this year when every week matters – especially if you are in Year 11 and 12?

In fact, every class matters. The secret is how to make each class and lesson count for YOU. This article includes the top ten tips from the collated research I have gathered over the last decade.

In my quest to maximise results with my tutoring students, I spoke to many high achieving students and teachers to find out what are their secrets. Plus, what are their habits and tools that really count in the classroom and ultimately in exams.

You may be surprised at the simplicity of these top ten hacks.

Brain Whisper Tip #1: Ask Questions.

Lots of them. Why? Because ultimately, the quality of your questions will determine the quality of your thinking. Therefore, the quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.

The more precisely you define the problem, the more easily you can find a solution. And that means practising and refining how you ask a question.

Always remember: there is no such thing as a dumb question.

Questions you ask in class will not only save you time later but your efforts will be appreciated by other students, even if that may not be immediately obvious. 

The more you ask questions, the more you engage intellectually and emotionally in a lesson, and this is what makes the difference. 

One thing about high achieving students is they recognise what they don’t know – and they ask questions to resolve that. How can you gain an advantage by recognising what you do not know? You need to enquire and ask questions of the teacher to help you.

A good teacher values those students who ask questions to clarify learning. You and your teacher are in the business of your education. Make the most of that idea.

Brain Whisper Tip #2: Volunteer.

Avoid being the last to offer an idea, or to help. Step up. Step forward. Avoid shrinking. Think of it this way – your teacher is volunteering what they know, volunteering to help prepare you for exams. Play your part by being at least one of the first to volunteer the answer to a question or to assist in any way.

Be willing to risk a little. Or in some cases, a lot. Showing your willingness to participate enables you to learn. Your ideas get priority, you become known as a leader and a giver, not merely a passenger or a taker. Teachers appreciate those whom are ready to participate, even at the risk of offering an incorrect answer. We are all in the business of learning – making mistakes is part of that.

It’s impossible to be involved in all situations, but there’s no excuse not to be involved in something, somewhere, somehow, with someone. – Richelle E. Goodrich

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison.

Brain Whisper Tip #3: Take Notes. Always.

Senior years are busy and demanding and you want to have a record of what goes on and record the points that may be of benefit down the track. Don’t just rely on your memory.

When you note take, you are using different parts of your brain and actively engaging in the learning process. My advice is to always take hand-written notes. Numerous research proves that note taking by hand is superior to trying to type notes. Currently, the major exams in many countries are still expecting handwritten essays. Learn to practice now and for your handwriting to be legible so when it counts, your examiner can enjoy reading your work rather than trying to decipher it.

Brain Whisper Tip #4: Keep a Paper Diary.

Keep it with you each day. Make notes in your school paper diary of actions to be taken. Preferably, one that shows a week at a glance. Why paper? Most students today are not permitted mobiles in class and you do not want to rely just on your screens where things can get lost all too easily.

Learn to jot down ideas when they come to you and learn the business of being reliable by keeping your work up to date, and do what you say you will. Plan ahead for your assignments and start earlier rather than the night before an assessment is due. 

Brain Whisper Tip #5: Sit at the Front of the Class.

Aim to sit close to the front of the room where the teacher instructs, wherever possible. Aim to be in a position where you can have dialogue more easily with the instructor. You will able to ask questions more readily in a timely manner, be part of the action and maybe a joke or two.

Be on top of things that are happening rather than waiting for things to come to you. Being at the front, means you can be more proactive and support your studies.

Fortune favours the brave.

There is a reason that the front row seats in a theatre or a concert are the most expensive and sought after. The experience is different; you see more, feel more, hear more, things are clearer, you catch the asides, are aware of the subtle humour, see the mishaps and are closer to the fun. You are less likely to be distracted from your main game of learning. And you and your questions may get priority.

Don’t be afraid to sit in the front row of YOUR life.

Brain Whisper Tip #6: Be on Time.

It is disrespectful to delay a class or enter when the teacher has already begun. If you have ever given a presentation, you will know what it is like to be interrupted, distracted or be asked to start again for the late comers.

Woody Allen famously said, “80% of success was just showing up”. Do it on time to get the real benefit.

This shows your respect for others and your learning.

“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”
Lik Hock Yap Ivan

Brain Whisper Tip #7: Change Your Approach to Every Lesson.

Think of each lesson, subject, topic, task, teacher, coach, and text as ‘a way of thinking’. A way of thinking that can add another dimension to considering a problem, thinking about life.

Attend each lesson with the idea that whatever you are studying is shaping how you think and how your brain is being developedAvoid wasting time arguing about how your future life will ever use this subject or task. Approach with the view that whatever you are doing or learning is developing your brain for ideas, subjects, roles you are yet to be introduced. Each day is a building block towards that. Make it valuable. Make it count.

Problem solving is already one of your greatest life-skills. Regardless of your anticipated future title in the workforce, problem solving will be at the heart of this position. Learn to be someone who sees things differently, can give another perspective and therefore, may be able to offer options and solution others may not even consider. You will become a better student and therefore a more valuable person in your career.

Show your interest in the topic. Approach your subjects with, “Everything is interesting, once you get into it.” It may not immediately appear of interest, or benefit, but how it trains the brain to create new pathways is the key benefit. Use it well.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.

Make your approach and the variety that offers work for you in all you do. You will become more intelligent, more popular and more confident as a result.

Brain Whisper Tip #8: Develop a Cooperative Relationship with your Teachers.

Firstly, make the effort to always be respectful to all your teachers, without exception.

Secondly, develop a supportive relationship with all your teachers, not just your favourite ones. Ask polite questions and show an interest in your teachers.

Teachers are people too, and if you show an interest and a curiosity in them and their interest in your subject, you are likely to develop a superior relationship with them and learn a bit more along the way. When teachers know students are interested- they give more, they become more motivated, they will become more entertaining, and you will be the recipient and benefit from that extra effort and attention to the topic.

You and your teachers are BOTH in the business of your learning. Acknowledge that and work actively with them, not actively against them.

Brain Whisper Tip #9: Use your Initiative. Seek Opportunities. Seek to Understand. Seek to Apply Your Learning.

Good teachers welcome the students who seek greater knowledge or those who truly want to understand their learning and their concepts. Understanding is very different to merely learning a process or showing up to take some notes.

If you learn to understanda process, then you are more readily able to produce what is needed in an exam because understanding is associated with your ability to apply ideas and concepts to various situations. Understanding produces a solid base.

The good news is revision then becomes much easier. You do not have to memorise nearly as much because the laying down of learning based on true understanding gives you the edge It saves precious time and avoids anxiety in the long run.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

Brain Whisper Tip #10: Work Smarter. Make Time Work for You.

Commit to doing your work first and play later.

A clever time management expert, Brian Tracy, used the idea of “Eat that frog first” as a great metaphor for managing time. What Tracy means by “Eat that frog!” is to start your day with the biggest, most important, and most unattractive task. It may often be the one task upon which you may procrastinate. There is discipline in doing this one thing first thing in the morning every single day – and know the rest of the day will be smoother as a result.

Commit to doing your work – without distraction – including social media, online games, YouTube, Snapchat, Messenger, Text … That is play.

“To do two things at once is to do neither.”
Publius Syrus

Working smarter also means being prepared for your lessons, rather than just showing up and waiting for other students to share the prior reading or the homework task.

Consider carefully how you use your time, especially when assignments are due.

So, there you have it, the top 10 habits and tools for successful studying and learning. There is no magic formula, or secret pill to becoming a high achieving student. Ironically, what works for you in the classroom long term will work with you in the workforce. Repetition creates habits and tools which create long term academic success.

Effort + Practice = Success

And do not be discouraged…

“The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do” Chris Guillebeau

Be prepared to do what many other students may not. Start today.

For more articles by The BRAIN WHISPERER ™, Jill Sweatman, visit www.jillsweatman.com  

To download Jill’s latest eBook – ‘Tips for Homeschooling’, click here https://bit.ly/3mVGCnG

 To book a coaching session for your child, email jill@jillsweatman.com

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