September 25, 2020

7 Characteristics of High-Performing Students

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you can build the below qualities of high-performing students then you too can become one within a relatively short period of time.

BTW. I’m not referring to geniuses or exceptionally talented students here. Instead, I mean normal everyday students who tend to consistently perform better than the rest.

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Are you one of those students who wonder why that classmate of yours is performing so well in their academic work?

I have often seen some average to unsatisfactory performers and even some teachers put the sterling academic achievement of top-performing students down to supernatural factors.

You know what I mean.

So you will be approached for exclusive access to your SECRET if you happen to be a perennially high academic achiever or one of those high-performing students in school.

I saw this funny attitude among my colleagues while I was a student and even when I became a teacher.

But is there any secret to high academic performance? Maybe yes. But they are not secrets, really.

The qualities that high-performing students possess are learnable. In fact, you too can start building the below qualities of all high performing students.

1. Follow your instincts

Are you the type of student who takes his or her studies seriously? Then it is highly probable that you will keep having “exam topic revelations”.

To become a high-performing student, you will need to remain alert to the flashes of certain topics across your mind.

I don’t know if this has a supernatural angle to it or not. What I know, however, is this. Quite often, every serious student gets this revelation as they make frantic efforts to prepare for a test.

Personally, I can count more than a few occasions that I lived to regret my inaction on these topic flashes.

I’m not saying that you will have all the coming exam questions flashing across your mind’s screen days or months before the test. NO.

But do not ignore a topic or question that keeps coming to your mind. Take notice and prepare for it. It could be there on that day.

2. Act fast and spend time efficiently

Another hallmark of most high performing students is that they are wonderful at taking action when it matters most.

Anybody who managed to obtain a very high grade in the SAT, WAEC/WASSCE, JAMB, NECO, GCE or any other examination will tell you that they never procrastinated action on their studies.

How WAEC Set Their WASSCE Questions

And when it is time for the test, you must be able to start quickly rather than waste time on frivolities just because the invigilator is “KIND”.

It’s a pity many high school students and WAEC/WASSCE candidates think a permissive invigilator is the one who has their best interests at heart.

Let me tell you an unpleasant truth. All you suffer from that unfortunate attitude of lax invigilation is wasted precious time.

3. Go the extra mile

What most people consider as sheer luck or some kind of wizardry on the part of high performing students is, in fact, a strong desire to work much harder than their colleagues.

It is this hard work that rewards them handsomely at the end. So if you want to become a high-performing student, do the things most of your friends will either shy away from or will not even imagine doing.

For example, read all manner of books. I love to read books and other written material not directly related to my field of study.

The secret is that I am able to pick solid ideas from strange places. You can’t get these ideas from your regular teacher, but they can make the difference between you and the other candidates.

Thanks to the internet, today you need not go to a library before doing your own research to discover more about a topic in your examination syllabus.

With a good computer or laptop or just an inexpensive smartphone, you can browse the internet from anywhere for all the extra info you want to prepare for that examination.

4. Pay attention to little things

One reason why some students perform poorly is that they are too careless to know that every little thing counts in an examination.

You can’t hope to perform well in an examination when you cannot write complete sentences in an essay.

The kind of shorthand stuff you write in WhatsApp chats will kill your ambition to obtain a good grade in your WASSCE subject.

Learn to correctly spell common words, especially those looking in your eyes from the question itself.

Don’t you think it is unpardonable for you to misspell a word that is sitting down there on your question paper?

Also, label your answers in the same manner the questions are labeled. Do not use 1,2, 3 … when the question paper has a, b, c. ….

And just make sure your name is on that answer sheet, okay? Great.

5. Build self-confidence.

One other important characteristic of high-performing students is self-confidence. They are those few students who don’t panic or get nervous just because they are about to take a test. In fact, for high-performing students, an examination is just like a normal classroom exercise.

How are they able to do this while others develop goose pimples long before the question papers arrive?

Keep reading to find out.

The best way to build your self-confidence in readiness for a school examination is to prepare extremely well.

How do I prepare in order to build self-confidence for an examination? You may be asking right now.

Here comes your simple, direct answer.

Get the examination syllabus early. Then go ahead of your teacher to cover almost every topic in there.

Whether it is the WAEC/WASSCE History syllabus or the Literature-in-English syllabus or even the WASSCE Govermment syllabus, just make sure you cover the greater part of it.

It is best to cover everything but I know and appreciate the fact that not everyone can do that.

It is enough to do the best within your power. Simple.

When you are able to study according to the syllabus and have adequately practiced how to answer key questions long before the exam, you will not experience the nervousness many candidates go through.

Indeed, your high level of self-confidence makes you a winner even before you have started the examination.

6. Read motivational books

Reading bestseller motivational books like Larry Winget’s Get Out of Your Way or Mills Carnell Roger’s You Can Win Being You will make your self-confidence shoot further up.

Trust me, even exceptional students experience self-doubt. The difference between them and the rest is that they find time to read a lot of inspirational stuff. This is what keeps them going at the time every other student seems to be scared out of their skin.

So read more of these motivational books and you will be on your way to becoming a high-performing student.

7. Have time for entertainment

Students who know how to strike the right balance between study time and fun time are mostly the ones who become high academic achievers.

Personally, I spend more time enjoying a good story, listening to my favourite musicians, watching a movie or simply taking a walk than I spend with my textbooks.

The mind is able to understand and absorb more academic stuff when you allow it to rest and refresh at regular intervals.

It’s never true that the more time you spend studying the higher your performance will be. Balance and proportion are the key watchwords here.

So, now you know.

Remember that it is possible for anyone to become a high-performing student according to their natural abilities. All you need to do is take action on the tips I’ve outlined above.

I wish you good luck in your coming examination.

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Ralph Nyadzi

"We are each the authors of our own lives, ... We live in what we have created. There is no way to shift the blame and no one else to accept the accolades." This quote from Barbara Taylor Bradford's novel, "A Woman of Substance" sums up Ralph Nyadzi's world-view, what he stands for and why he is passionate about sharing with his readers the power behind this universal truth: The choices we make today determine what we will become tomorrow.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

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