People who are good at what they do always make it look easier than it really is. The same goes for top accounting students. However, those who perform best in their studies do not sit on their hands and wait for the A’s to roll in. Instead, they put in the work and follow some of these study habits to reach the top of their class:
1. Make sure you can solve every type of problem illustrated in your textbook
A top student doesn’t ‘spot’ for exams (only learning the things they think will be asked). Instead, they make sure they can solve every type of problem they can possibly encounter.
Not knowing how to approach and solve a certain problem can have the following detrimental effects during an exam session:
- Struggling with questions you are unsure of can cause you to run out of time during the exam.
- Encountering a question you don’t know how to answer can make you panic and ‘blank out’ during the exam.
2. Test yourself after each lesson
A top student knows that the best way to truly internalise course content is to test yourself after each lesson.
It’s not enough to just ‘go over’ your notes again. You have to make sure you have comprehended the lesson, and that you are able to do the work on your own (without consulting your notes) afterwards.
3. Work hard from Day One
A top student knows that they can’t succeed if they only start working hard when a deadline is approaching, or when the exams are nearing.
Working hard from the start doesn’t only apply to your academic year, however, but to each day of your course as well. A top student starts working as early in the day as possible, and not only at 22:00 at night.
4. Rely on discipline, not just motivation
A top student knows that they won’t always feel like studying. Motivation is fickle and can often disappear when your mood changes. Discipline, on the other hand, means studying even when you don’t feel like it – even when you don’t feel motivated.
You have to force yourself to do the work you need to do, no matter how you feel. And you have to stick to your schedule, despite everything else going on around you.
5. Participate in class
Students who participate in class are more involved in the work, more present during lectures, and more likely to develop a sound understanding of the work. It is no coincidence that you’ll often find that the students failing a course are sitting in the back of the classroom.
You have to ask questions and volunteer answers. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
6. Try to understand patterns
The human mind loves categorising information and looking for relationships between the different things we encounter. This is how our minds make sense of the world around us.
Top students use this way of thinking when it comes to studying as well. They look at the bigger picture and they look for patterns in the work that will help them make sense of different—yet usually interrelated—topics.
Understanding the bigger picture, and how different topics relate to one another, will help you comprehend, memorise, and recall your work better.
7. Try understanding ‘why’
It isn’t just enough to know ‘how’ to solve a problem or approach an assignment. Top students also know ‘why’ you have to do things in a certain way. Understanding ‘why’ will help you attain a deeper understanding of the work, and will consequently help you to internalise it more effectively.
Moreover, understanding the theory behind certain things will help you answer unfamiliar questions – not only in your exams, but in the working environment as well.
8. Compete with yourself
Every student wants to do well. But those with clear goals are the ones who manage to push themselves a bit further each time.
For each semester and each exam, you have to create a realistic goal for yourself regarding the mark you want to achieve. And each goal should be a just little higher than the previous one.
You can be a top student too!
Don’t think for a second that there is any real difference between you and a top-achieving student when it comes to what you are capable of.
The only thing standing between you and much better marks is working harder, and working smarter. So if you want to get to the top of your class, and pass your course with distinction, you just have to cultivate better study habits.
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