Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Secrets of a top-scoring student... SECRET 1


  • adopt a mentality of starting exam preparation from the first day of the school year, with every lesson being treated as a training ground for the future exam
  • by starting early and understanding instead of memorizing, you may be able to improve your grades dramatically
  • you don't need to be naturally gifted to excel and be a top scorer. What is more important is consistency and diligence in your preparation.
  • "slow and steady wins the race"
  • your thoughts have direct influence in your academic performance (Thinking positively)
  • "Outstanding students are often equipped with an extraordinary level of self-belief"
  • "Je pense, donc je suis." - Rene Descartes (French Philosopher and Mathematician)
  • Whether or not you succeed is dependent on whether you believe you can do it. And the level of success which you attain is commensurate with the amount of confidence you have in yourself.
Persevere and learn from mistakes
  • "Many of life's failures are often who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison
  • Top students leverage on their mistakes to bring success closer to them.
  • examine your mistakes carefully and to concentrate your revision on your weaker areas
Learn from the best
  • choose the best people in the field as your role models, drawing lessons from them
Solicit Criticism
  • Top scorer always believes that his knowledge is lacking and that there is room for perfection. He does not sit back and relax. Instead, he continually seeks to understand where the knowledge gaps are.
  • drive for knowledge refinement and perfection inevitably leads to distinctive results
  •  maintain an open mindset to criticism
  • criticism and feedback contain many treasures and lessons that we can benefit from
Self-responsibility and purpose
  • responsibility for ones actions and assuming the consequences
  • success belongs to those who take responsibility for their future
  • it it important to have a purpose that motivates you
Understanding with consistency
  • taking notes and constant revision are important in the process of information retention
  • memorization is useless unless students are able to use the existing knowledge and apply it appropriately in each situation
  • the secret is in understanding (comprehension)
    • to be able to comprehend
    • to have good sense coupled with discernment; which is also the ability to analyze information critically
  • "The point of studying is in studying smart."
  • "No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding." - Greek Philosopher
  • divide and conquer concept
    • reducing the problem into smaller pieces and mastering each piece separately before reassembling the knowledge base
  • find the central message in every concept
    • understand it before moving on to the particular cases
    • makes everything much clearer
  • examples in textbooks
    • categorize into easy, average, difficult
    • start with easy
    • understanding easier chapters helps to build up your confidence, which in turn gives you extra motivation to work on the more difficult parts of the subject
  • replace concepts and represent them in simple sentences
Time management and Self-discipline
  • good time management = prioritizing important tasks
  • prioritizing is directing your efforts to where the needs are
  • self-discipline is about doing something because you need to do it and not because you feel like doing it
  • "Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward." - Napoleon Hill (American Author)
  • put your real needs above your feelings
  • Good students know how to sow the seeds which lead to the good harvest, even if it would require much sweat and tears.
Tips to implement self-discipline
  1. remove the bad habit from our habit cycle
  2. practice makes perfect (becomes part of subconscious)
  3. your central purpose can be a very powerful motivating factor
    • paste motivational posters in front of your study desk
    • make sure you are reminded of your goals everyday
Get to the core
  • top scorers use the "key facts" strategy to filter the content and identify the important points that can be tested in an exam
    • can this concept be tested in an exam paper?
    • is it relevant?
  • "chuck the frills, go for the essential"
3 levels of information
  1. The CORE info - where all the important information lies. Central to the subject. Would definitely be in the exam
  2. The SUB-CORE info - related by less important concepts. Case studies and examples
  3. The OUTER LAYER - unimportant information. Rarely tested
  • importance of selecting the important bits of information to study in order to maximise time efficiency
  • importance of thoroughly understanding the content, instead of resorting to memorization
Retreat in order to advance
  • choosing to put aside the books and study a different subject... or to put studying on hold to pursue some leisure activities
  • by moving to another activity, top scorers allow their concentration levels to be regenerated. And since they are engaging in another activity, another part of the brain is being used, so this would not affect the concentration regeneration process
Retreat to sharpen our saw
  1. do regular exercise - highly effective way to recharge energy
  2. change the subject matter being studied regularly. Variety helps to stave of boredom and to keep you interested in your studies.
  3. stop and pursue your interests. It will introduce an equilibrium to your life and make it more fulfilling.
Final part of the learning cycle
  1. application of information for problem solving
  2. evaluation and judgement of the acquired information
Go beyond the theory, understand the practical.

Source: Secrets of a Top-Scoring Student (by Linus Tham)

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