Have you noticed how some students just seem to thrive in school? They understand every concept that’s taught, never miss an assignment, and are– all-in-all– great students.
The truth is, no one is born a perfect student. Instead, they learn certain skills and habits to help them study more effectively. By building these skills, they are working smarter and not harder.
Here are 9 habits that have helped me become an A+ student and might help you do so, too! If you want to become a top student this semester, you’ll want to read this post until the end! Let’s get into it.
P.S. Looking for a planner that will keep you organized and stay productive? Check out my printable Ultimate Student Planner!
Use the Internet
The Internet is MAGNIFICENT.
If you ever come across a confusing concept, theory, problem, event, or literally anything, simply search it up on Google and millions of results will pop up.
My favorite resources are YouTube and Wikipedia (Wikipedia is awesome for factual and historical research), but so many other sources on Google are relevant and informational. Here are a few of my favorite YouTube channels:
- Bozeman Science
- The Organic Chemistry Tutor
- Marco Learning
- Heimler’s History
- Khan Academy
Along with information, online resources can also edit your work for free, especially for English essays. For example, Grammarly. Grammarly is the only essay editing tool I use. It’s simple to use and has intelligent detectors that can find the tiniest errors.
However, it’s bad to completely rely on the Internet. Don’t cheat off of it or believe everything you see. After all, the Internet isn’t your only hope!
Use a Planner
Or you can print your own planner like my Ultimate Student Planner.
During school, I have a school-issued planner for homework and due dates. I also write them down on my desktop sticky notes.
During summer break, I don’t have homework (except long-term summer work). But every day, and especially during quarantine, I write down tasks I’ve planned for the day on my calendar with time blocks.
For example, I may complete a mock exam at 11 am and write a blog post at 3 pm. In the evening, I’ll spend some time practicing my instrument and doing some blog maintenance.
Time-blocking helps me stay on task during the day and by filling up the day on my calendar, the day feels fulfilled. I do this on a digital calendar (I use the Apple default.)
RELATED POST: 7 Terrible Study Habits To Quit Immediately
Go to the Library
Every school day, I would head to the school library with a couple of friends and do my homework. I could often finish most of it, actually! The atmosphere the library provides is great for studying and focusing. It’s not as sullen as the school campus, but it’s not as distracting as your own desk.
Of course, if you’re stuck at home, you should make use of your desk. Keep it organized and clean, and minimize distractions by removing things like phones, gaming consoles, etc. You can also play some ambiance or music to fully simulate the library experience!
You may have tried to explain a concept to someone before and realized midway that you just found a new way to understand and apply the concept. Or you may have realized that you were wrong in your understanding.
Either way, you’ve benefited from this exchange. Teaching someone else is different from teaching yourself; you often have to clarify points you understand easily and answer questions you’ve never thought about before.
Therefore, teaching someone else is a valuable experience. It helps you review the things you understand clearly, identify holes in your knowledge, and make new connections to remember the concept better.
So whenever you’re hosting a study session, don’t be afraid to offer to teach someone else something (or help them review a concept). You’re helping them, but you’re also helping yourself. It’s a win-win!
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Although practice might not make perfect, it can help you gain insight into what you usually do wrong and how to improve.
Flashcards are the most direct method of memorizing vocabulary and concepts, for it’s a simple way to practice active recall (a process where you consciously try to recall information, usually by answering questions). You can add a little more fun to it by using Quizlet to play memorization games.
If you are an AP student in high school, know that practice makes a difference.
In the usual College Board style, the AP exams’ multiple-choice questions are more nuanced than the ones you may be used to. They are not simple knowledge questions (such as “What are proteins made of?”) but rather application questions (such as “Which piece of evidence best describes how this mutation caused the tumor?”).
In my experience, the only effective way to fully grasp the “tricks” of these questions is to do more practice. As you get exposed to more similar questions, you’ll gradually find it easier to immediately identify the idea in question and find the best answer.
Similarly, FRQs (free-response questions) take time to master. These are usually more essay-like, and it’s important to practice under time constraints and fully memorize the structure the College Board is looking for.
You can find reliable practice tests on AP Classroom (a branch of College Board, directed towards AP students). Note that your teacher must be verified and assign you the tests before you can actually access them.
You can also find released FRQs for each AP subject on the College Board website. Test prep books also have tons of full practice tests, which means you can practice taking the multiple-choice section, as well.
In my experience, the most helpful and popular test prep provider is Barron’s. They provide books for AP World History, APUSH, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and all the other subjects that you might need practice for.
Find Study Buddies
Study buddies make everything better. Well, they at least make studying better.
In this post, I talked about the importance of study groups in AP classes. Studying in a group was one of the reasons how I raised my grade from a C- to an A+! If you’re also an AP student, check it out for some extra help.
Find a couple of friends who are in the same class(es) as you and head to the library/café to have a study session once in a while! You can discuss and therefore refresh everything you’ve learned, create study guides together for an upcoming test, and exchange notes and even what you’ve heard about the curve.
Teaching others is a great way to learn, and if you can’t do that, talking about it is almost just as effective.
Listen to the Right Music
Unless you’re part of the really really special and unique minority, stay away from rap, rock, pop, and other party music while studying. From my experience, listening to soft music such as indie, lofi, and classical are the best for studying. Even indie can sometimes get distracting!
There are many popular YouTube channels that specialize in study music.
There are even online communities on Discord or other platforms that are solely for study-lofi fans. You can join these and find motivation or a study buddy to be more successful while studying.
Turn Off Social Media Notifications
Or go to the extreme and delete it entirely. Just kidding, I can’t either.
But if you have active social media, especially Snapchat, it’s best to turn off their notifications while working.
It’s tempting not to. I’ll just snap them back real quick and go back to work. Repeat that a couple of times and suddenly it’s 8 pm and your essay still hasn’t written itself.
Therefore, it’s essential to try to break your phone addiction. Start by turning off your social media notifications!
Now, this is a tricky one. I only multi-task when the task at hand doesn’t require much attention.
If my math teacher starts going on a tangent (which is often), I may change my tab from the online math textbook to my history notes, and start doing other homework. If it’s not a busy day at my workplace, I’ll take out my phone and start reviewing my online notes and preparing for the next day’s tests.
While you’re feeling like the task at hand does not require your full attention and you truly have other work to do, don’t chain yourself to the task! Time is precious, and if you have the opportunity (and the permission) to multi-task, do it!
Multi-tasking is not always a bad thing. Just be sensible about it!
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I hope this post helped you determine how you can become a better student! With the right practices and habits, you’ll reach your goals in no time.
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