Every class has students who excel and those who don’t. The reasons behind academic performance are myriad, but when Douglas Barton and his team at Elevate Education set out to study and benchmark the most effective practices used by top students in Australia, the U.K., South Africa and the U.S. they found three common practices. The company has used its findings to coach students on the most effective study strategies.

Barton says 50 – 90 percent of students say IQ has the biggest impact on their ability to get good grades. Barton says his team found 13 other variables more important than IQ to predict academic achievement including things like self-discipline and self-motivation. So his first piece of advice to students is to stop worrying about IQ.

The other reason students often give for not succeeding at the level they want is that they aren’t working hard enough. Barton quibbles with that assessment, saying it’s not just about working hard, but rather about working hard in the right ways. Few of the top students don’t work hard, but many students who work just as hard as the top students don’t perform well. The reason is that they are working hard at the wrong things. Poor study skills zealously applied won’t lead to better results, but are likely to lead to disengagement.

One of biggest differences between top students and everyone else was that when they study, they take practice tests. Only 11 percent of students do this, but they perform better because they are studying in a way that goes beyond memorizing material. On the flip side, most students report studying by making notes, re-reading notes, writing out notes or cramming. All these ways of studying emphasize rote memory.

Lastly, Barton says when the best students make studying schedules for themselves they first include things they like to do on their schedule and then work study time in after. This method naturally ensures that students are doing things they like to do every day in addition to studying, so they don’t burn out. These balanced schedules are easier follow. In contrast, most students cram their schedules full of study times, intent on doing better, but quickly abandon the plan when they’re unhappy with how little free time they have.


Three Things Top Performing Students Know That Their Peers Miss 11 November,2016MindShift

  • Gabo Diaz

    I’m curious if the schedule method may have impact in workers instead of kids at school?

  • Angela Aloro

    balancing schedule is the best way, we must give time for studies and give leisure time for ourselves as well so that we may not be deprived but to feel that we have a social life too.

  • Angela Aloro

    truly, students have different ways and techniques in studying their lesson 🙂

  • 1Robert

    Actually! I learned that I was bored more than anything of their subject material. They were turning us into robots to repeat the same garbage everyone else learned before me. There was no challenge or room for creativity. In high school, my IQ was 99. Three years ago, my IQ was 129. Last month, my IQ was 160. I am older, and I can now work on subjects that challenge my mind.

    I invented, but yet to patent:

    “If I only had the money.”

    A new trailer hitch

    A new electric generator that powers its self. (Yes, it does go against the Laws of Thermal Dynamics)(NASA just came out with a new rocket engine that I designed years ago that could take us to Mars in less than 3 months)

    3 new Epinephrine injectors which will sell for $50 ea.

    A new pistol and rifle

    A new automatic tank cannon that can fire five a shells per minute

    A new caterpillar thruster for ships.

    In the end, education can be more of a hindrance to learning.

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