Are you one of those students who loves to learn? Do you always strive for the best possible mark and aim high? If you answered “YES!” to both of these questions, then this blog is for you. Like every high achieving student, you’re most likely curious about how to help yourself stand out. Maybe you’re in the top 10% of students already, but you’d like to make it the top 1%. Well, here are some tips that you can implement in order to help yourself get over the line and make it into that top 1% of students:
Tip 1: Go Beyond what is ‘required’
You should constantly be looking for a challenge with their work and be going beyond what is required of your work. If you want to excel, instead of simply completing the homework set by the teacher, find extra work to do and read more widely about the things you’re studying. The easiest and best way to find extra homework to do is to enrol in some form of tutoring. At MWNS, we have over 10,000 resources that we can provide to our students ahead of exams, including past exam questions, worksheets and booklets. Click to find out more: High School Tutoring | Primary School Tutoring
Truly challenging questions are everywhere if you look for them. They can be found in textbooks in the library or within past papers, whether it be for NAPLAN or the HSC. Remember, challenging questions from textbooks are an excellent resource of extra practice, because they give you a chance to learn the subject more thoroughly. Sometimes you can even learn new techniques, since challenging questions often have parts to them that guide the reader to complete them.
Books by educational publishers also help a lot. At MWNS we use books from companies like ‘Excel,’ as well as test preparation booklets. They have questions similar to what you would find in exams, but the questions will have different values and solutions. Often, these books devote a great amount of time to showing how to work out a question, not just what the answer to a given question is. Buying these test preparation booklets is a great way for students to get ahead in their studies in the most straightforward way possible.
What about excelling in exams? Well, for exam preparation, past papers are an excellent source. The teacher might only give out a few papers and the homework might be just one or two of them. Going beyond what is required means finding extra past papers from other sources. Particularly as preparation for the HSC, past papers from the official NESA website as well as trial papers from various schools are excellent sources of practice. Start practising on them well before the trials, ideally months in advance (topics that have not been covered can be skipped for the time being). Set a schedule and stick to it, for example complete 3 past papers every week until exam time. Developing this as a regular habit can help maintain it. Practising on the same paper more than once is also a great idea because it helps to improve speed and accuracy. If exam stress is an issue, try the past papers under exam conditions.
Tip 2: Revise regularly
This is somewhat linked to the first point, but definitely deserves to be expanded on as it is so important. Revision is by far one of the most important study habits to cultivate because regular revision is the key to success. It is much easier to remember things in the long term if they are revised on a regular basis.
The scientific reason for this is that brains have an easier time remembering anything that is repeated to them often. Memory works in a strange way: we don’t form a full memory of something and that’s it. Instead, our memory builds up over time and individual memories are reinforced over and over again until they become second nature.
An example of a memory that would be second nature is your memory of what orange looks like. When you’re revising, you don’t have to get to the point where the content is as familiar to you as the colour orange, but the underlying principle is the same: if you repeatedly expose yourself to some piece of information, you will remember it much easier. Therefore, cramming the night before an exam is not a good idea because the memory is not being reinforced over a long period of time and so you’re less likely to actually remember what you need to know in an exam.
Any topic that you feel uncomfortable in should be your number one target for memorisation and revision because these are the topics you are least comfortable with, therefore the ones you have the least exposure to, and therefore the ones you will have the hardest time recalling when you need them. Our advice to revise regularly is not only about building good study habits, it is also because revising regularly is also much more effective than cramming the night before by any metric.
Tip 3: Make your own summary of what was taught
Nobody understands your brain better than you! That is why writing your own notes (rather than just relying on what the teacher provides) is an excellent way to revise and summarise what was taught. It forces you as a student to think about the content and also means that you can put things in terms that you understand. Reconfiguring the content that you’ve been taught into different words and managing to retain the meaning is a great way of studying.
In fact, there’s a whole study technique built around this fact wherein you teach what you’ve learned to someone who is not enrolled in your class. If you’re able to explain everything fully, that means you’ve grasped the content quite well. If you’re not able to explain everything fully, it means there are some gaps in your knowledge. One of the best ways to do this is to explain what you’ve been learning to your parents and have them ask follow-up questions to test your knowledge and help their understanding.
Making mind-maps is also a great idea because it requires students to think about the connections between various concepts. Mind-maps work especially well if you’re a visual learner who likes to see stuff set out in front of you in abstract terms. Furthermore, establishing connections between concepts can make it easier for you to understand what’s going on with those concepts and also to remember what was taught.
Tip 4: Have a positive attitude!
You may have heard of the famous actor Morgan Freeman. Other than his excellent theatrical performances, he also has a lot of wisdom. One of his many wise words of advice includes the quote: “Challenge yourself; it’s the only path that leads to growth.”
It is normal for students to feel unmotivated or want to avoid challenging tasks. However, developing a positive mindset and seeing these tasks as an opportunity for growth of knowledge is a great mindset that opens up the path to success. So, rather than avoiding hard topics as much as possible, you should jump headfirst into your studies and attempt the harder topics more often than easier topics. It is only by overcoming them that students can become better at the subject and there’s nothing quite like overcoming a huge barrier in your studies. Often, you’ll find yourself looking back and wondering if you ever found the thing you’ve conquered difficult.
While exams can be a stressful experience for many students, it can also be a chance to prove how much you’ve learnt and achieved during your time at school. This is because your mark on an exam often closely correlates to how much effort you’ve been putting in (if you’ve been putting in the right sort of effort with your studies). Therefore, have a positive attitude and think about the whole experience as a chance to show objectively all the hard work that you’ve been putting in over the term; it could even be a chance to show off!
Finally, remember always to do your personal best, engage in self-care (because brain breaks are also important for success!) and take pride in your education. As long as you know you are doing the best you can, and apply the tips provided, we are sure you will become a higher achieving student.
More about Maths Words not Squiggles
At MWNS, we offer primary school tutoring and high school tutoring in Maths and English to ensure students understand their schoolwork, meeting the requirements set out by NESA and achieving grades they are proud of. All our Maths and English tutors tailor their lessons to the individual needs of our students. By working at a pace that suits and benefits each child, we are able to maximise their learning in an enjoyable environment.
Our Maths and English tutoring is available in centre (Central Coast Tutoring, Eastern Suburbs Tutoring, Inner West Tutoring, Northern Beaches Tutoring, South Sydney Tutoring, Sutherland Shire Tutoring) and online. Whether you are looking for a Maths tutor or an English tutor, MWNS is able to help build your child’s confidence.
We are known for our mission of “Building Confident Learners inside and outside our classrooms“. We are experts in educating our students, helping them thrive at school and preparing them for life beyond the classroom. We want to ensure all lessons are related to what they are learning at school while ensuring students see the value in their education.