13 Essential Strategies To Be A Successful Student

How to be a successful student

Achieving academic success can be a challenging and overwhelming task, here’s how to make it more attainable.

If you’ve landed on this article, you’re probably yearning for academic success. Many students are searching for effective strategies to reach their full potential. While there is no single formula for success, there are several key ingredients for being a successful student. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the most essential strategies to keep in mind as you work to succeed academically.

Research shows that both intrinsic factors (motivation, personal skills and self-directed learning) and extrinsic factors (content and support structure) influence academic success.

cachia, et al., 2018

1. Set realistic goals and break them down into smaller, manageable tasks

Setting realistic goals is important for becoming a successful student.

When it comes to planning, breaking down your objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks is key. Keep things structured and focused so that you don’t become overwhelmed or feel too pressured by what lies ahead.

However, it’s important that you allow yourself the flexibility to adjust your goals as needed so that you stay on track and motivated. Goal setting is a crucial skill to develop for personal, academic and professional success.

Read also: Thinking About New Year’s Resolutions & Goals for 2023? Read this!

2. Make a study schedule and stick to it

Developing and sticking to a study schedule will allow you to identify and prioritize the tasks. This habit forces you to plan ahead, allowing adequate amounts of time for completing assignments and studying for exams.

Remember to reserve some free time in your daily schedule to take breaks, relax, get some exercise, or spend time with friends – these activities will help replenish your mind and body.

Read also: 11 Tips To Stay Motivated To Studying That Actually Work

Essential Strategies To be a successful student
“A good education is a foundation for a better future.” – Elizabeth Warren

3. Get rid of distractions to be a successful student

When it comes to tackling homework or preparing for an exam, it’s hard to remain focused when distractions surround us.

To maximize productivity and ensure you’re making the most of your time, be sure to eliminate any potential obstacles that stand in the way – well at least the ones that you can.

This can include turning off your phone, closing the door, and silencing all notifications – even if only for a short period of time.

When routine disruptions are eliminated and we are free from distractions, our minds are more efficient in problem solving and decision-making tasks.

Read also: 24 Tips To Study Smarter Not Harder

4. Take breaks when needed, but don’t procrastinate

Breaks are important. Taking the time to rest our minds and bodies keeps us productive and motivated. If you’re already fatigued or overwhelmed – then breaks are an absolute necessity.

That said, it’s easy for breaks to become too lengthy or even spiral into a wider procrastination. So consider setting a timer.

Read also: Unravelling the Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

5. Find a method of studying that works best for you

Finding a method of studying that works best for you is essential for making sure that your study sessions are productive. Depending on the material and the subject, some people might prefer listening to soft music while they study, as it can take the focus off of monotonous topics and help break up the pace.

On the other hand, complete silence could even be beneficial for more difficult or challenging material since it provides an environment free from distractions in order to maximize focus and concentration.

Ultimately, experiment with different techniques and find what works best based on your particular preferences as well as the material you are attempting to cover.

Be sure to be impartial and not make excuses. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you study best whilst watching movies as an excuse to do so.

Read also: 11 Tips To Stay Motivated To Studying That Actually Work

6. Reading is important for achieving academic success

Reading is an integral part of any successful academic career. Reading can be used to understand concepts more deeply or cover a greater range of material – but it’s also important that we remember what we read.

To do this effectively, there are many different methods that can help us commit information to memory.

Taking notes, highlighting key points in the text, or even summarizing the main ideas can all be great strategies for increasing comprehension and retention.

According to research, for students who are underprepared in reading, their college success is directly and significantly related to them taking and passing a reading skills course.

cox et al., 2003

Read also: 16 Simple Tips To Make Reading A Habit

7. Take advantage of available resources to be a successful student

Taking advantage of the available resources is a great way to become a successful student. Many colleges and universities offer tutoring centers that are designed to help students understand the material they are struggling with.

Additionally, forming or joining a study group can be beneficial for the discussion of ideas and concepts that may not have been fully understood from just reading the text alone.

Online resources such as websites and videos dedicated to specific topics or concepts can also be great aids when studying.

"Learning is not attained by change, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence." - Abigail Adams
“Learning is not attained by change, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams

8. Do not procrastinate to be a successful student

Procrastination has a negative effect on academic success. No matter how challenging the subject or task may be, procrastination will likely lead to a decline in performance and results.

The longer you wait to complete an assignment, the smaller your window becomes for understanding and perfecting it. By avoiding procrastination through setting deadlines, scheduling activities and breaking projects down into manageable chunks, you put yourself in a better position to achieve academic success.

Academic procrastination refers to pushing back the completion of assignments or delaying studying for examinations.

Unfortunately, procrastination is on the increase with some scholars citing that 50%, and others 80-95%, of college students commonly procrastinate.

A met-analysis of 38,529 participants proved that procrastination negative correlates to academic performance.

kyung & eun, 2015

9. Improve your memory and brain power

Having a strong memory and solid brain power are key to achieve academic success in any field.

There are many tricks and techniques that can help you improve your memory and cognitive function such as exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, meditating, learning something new, challenging yourself intellectually, using mnemonic devices for memorization, and reducing stress levels.

All of these habits will help keep your mind sharp and allow you to become a successful student.

Read also: 19 Easy Ways To Increase Your Brain Power

10. Work on your critical thinking skills

Developing strong critical thinking skills is essential for becoming a successful student. This includes being able to reason clearly, question underlying assumptions and analyze information in a structured way.

To hone such skills, you must be prepared to set aside pre-conceived notions. Doing exercises like playing strategy-based games can both be useful in improving your critical thinking abilities.

Read also: 11 Tips To Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Believing in their own competency was the single most influential factor for achieving success, even in persons with similar intelligence and academic performance.

steinmayr et al., 2019

11. Identify the reasons for academic challenges

Academic challenges can come from a variety of sources and hinder an individual’s ability to achieve academic success. Common issues can range from a lack of focus or understanding to an unhealthy lifestyle that does not foster a suitable environment for studying.

In some cases, the student may not be able to adjust to the learning environment or have difficulty with time management when faced with multiple assignments at once.

While the reasons may differ, identification is essential so that the root cause could be addressed.

Read also: 22 Main Reasons Why Students Fall Behind Academically

12. Get prepared for exams to be a successful student

Preparation for exams is essential for academic success. Taking the time to fully understand the material, review notes, and review exam questions are just a few of the steps needed for successful preparation.

Get ahead of the game by starting early: do not wait until the last minute when it comes to studying. Ask questions and consult your class or professor if you have doubts.

When the time comes and it’s finally time to take an exam, remain calm and focused. Get a good night’s rest before an exam and have confidence that your hard work will pay off.

Read also: 28 Proven Tips To Study Effectively For Exams

13. Ask for help when needed to achieve academic success

It can be easy for us to become overwhelmed and feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness. However, this is far from the truth. Asking for assistance when we need it shows strength rather than surrender and reveals resilience in the face of struggle.

No matter how difficult a concept or idea may seem, admitting that we don’t have all the answers can bring us one step closer to becoming a successful student.

Seeking advice allows us to develop our skills and refine our tactics.

Achieve academic success
“Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” – Oprah Winfrey

Final words on essential strategies to be a successful student

If you follow these steps, you should be well on your way to achieving academic success. However, in your quest to become a successful student, remember to take care of yourself both physically and mentally.

Related topics

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Whatever the reason, there are some simple strategies you can use to give the impression that you are smarter than you actually are. Read more

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Kim, K. R., & Seo, E. H. (2015). The relationship between procrastination and academic performance: A meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 2633. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.038

Moira Cachia, Siobhan Lynam & Rosemary Stock (2018) Academic success: Is it just about the grades?, Higher Education Pedagogies, 3:1, 434-439, DOI: 10.1080/23752696.2018.1462096

Steinmayr R, Weidinger AF, Schwinger M, Spinath B (2019) The Importance of Students’ Motivation for Their Academic Achievement – Replicating and Extending Previous Findings. Front Psychol. 31;10:1730.

Steven R. Cox, Daniel L. Friesner & Mohammed Khayum (2003) Do Reading Skills Courses Help Underprepared Readers Achieve Academic Success in College?, Journal of College Reading and Learning, 33:2, 170-196, DOI: 10.1080/10790195.2003.10850147

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