Many of the highest-scoring students attribute their success to some surprisingly simple habits. Here are some tips to keep up with school work and maintain a regular work ethic:
Top students brook no intrusions on study time. Once the books are open or the computer is booted up, phone calls go unanswered, TV shows unwatched, snacks ignored. Studying is business; business comes before recreation.
Study times were strictly a matter of personal preference. Some worked late at night when the house was quiet. Others wake up early. Still, others study as soon as they came home from school when the work was fresh in their minds. However, consistency is necessary. “Whatever I was doing, I maintained a slot every day for studying,” says Ian McCray, a Middlebury College student from New Jersey.
Next comes organization. Even students who don’t have a private study area remain organized. A backpack or drawer keeps essential supplies together and cuts down on time-wasting searches.
Procrastination is the root of all devils. But even the best students procrastinate sometimes. But when that happens, they face up to it. “Sometimes it comes down to late nights,” admits Christi Anderson, an athlete, student-council member and top student at Lyman High School in Presho, S.D. “Still, if you want A’s, you make sure to hit the deadline.”
Lastly, neat papers are more likely to get higher grades than sloppy ones. “The student who turns in a neat paper,” says Professor Olney, “is already on the way to an A. It’s like being served a cheeseburger. No matter how good it really is, you can’t believe it tastes good if it’s presented on a messy plate.”