How do some students score very well without studying much?

May 28, 2015
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In school, we always have that one classmate who always appear relaxed and  still get good exam results. Is their success due to extreme work ethics? Is it because of good genes? Or is it due to some kind of study strategy which most of us don’t practise?


1. They don’t cram during exam season


Cramming for an exam is a time-honoured practice but students who perform well in exams usually do not cram for exams.

These students usually give 100% of their attention when doing homework, reviewing notes and  doing some extra reading. They then reorganize that information in a way that supports long-term memorization

By the time exam season starts, these type of students just review the lessons with ease ’cause they have already understood the subject so well. These students usually end up having enough sleep before the exams hence explains why they don’t look stressed.

2. They have prior knowledge of this subject before attending this particular class

eye roll

Remember Hermione Granger? She’s a classic example of a student who has prior knowledge of a certain subject.

Some students perform very well in exams because they may have probably taken the subject previously – not necessarily in the classroom.  Since learning happens everywhere, it is easy to retain information when you get to apply knowledge in actual life situations. In an art appreciation class, for instance, students who draw or frequently visit art galleries are more likely to learn the the elements of art faster than those who have never been in an art gallery.

3. They learn and absorb more information efficiently than you


Not all students have good memories but some students know how to retain information, better.

Concept mapping, colour coding schemes, mnemonic device and other techniques all exist to help a student memorise, better. Some students know the things (Facebook, leaving the smartphone or the television on, etc.) that can easily distract them so they avoid them when their studying. Students who know how to use these techniques can optimise their studying time and still have extra time to do other fun things.

4. They paid attention in class


Lectures provide info that’s necessary for the mastery of the course material. Examples, statistics and other details help support the topic and help clarify your understanding. Students who take note of the main points covered find them useful when it’s time to review.

5. They focus on the fundamentals and avoid getting overwhelmed by data


Cramming could lead to retaining unnecessary information. Some students focus on understanding the basics or the fundamentals first before moving on to the complex concepts. This learning technique applies in mathematics and science. This quote just sums it up: “The faster science and technology advance—the more important it is to teach and to learn the basics of math and science and the less important it is to teach and to learn the latest developments.”

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