10 Ways Successful Students Think


Students just don’t know how to study.

Studying in the age of information overload and constant digital distractions isn’t a skill that’s taught in school, because teachers haven’t learned to respond yet to everyone trying to study while they’re Snapchatting about studying..

In order to be a successful student, you have to have the mindset of a successful student.

Here  are some helpful mindset shifts. . Use them to develop the mindset of a successful learner, and you’ll notice you’re able to learn more without studying harder.


1) If you believe that learning comes naturally to some people and not to others, and you’re one of those people who are just ‘not cut out’ for getting good grades, you are less likely to set high goals for yourself and therefore will study less and understand less.


2) Time and effort are required ingredients for learning a subject, but putting in time and effort doesn’t guarantee learning.

If you’re using ineffective study techniques, then you won’t learn no matter how much time and effort you put into studying. Learn effective learning strategies to prevent wasting time and effort on methods that don’t work.


3) Master the basics before moving on to more complex skills. All learning builds on prior knowledge.

You wouldn’t take a calculus class if you didn’t understand how to add, so don’t do that when you’re studying, either.


4) Don’t overestimate how prepared you are. Students think that because they spent 10 hours studying for a test, they know the material. In reality, if you’re using the incorrect study methods, you didn’t retain that much information, and wasted those study hours.

Test your knowledge at the beginning and end of study sessions. If you set out to learn all the material from a chapter during a study session, take the end of chapter quiz or complete review questions before you begin, and again at the end of the session to gauge your learning, and see what needs to be reviewed again.


5) Effective preparation requires your total focus. Don’t multitask; trying to do multiple tasks at once is more difficult than focusing on one task at a time. Eliminate all distractions.

Turn off your phone, television and music, remove your phone and anything you might fiddle with from your study area. Only have the items on your desk that you need in order to study.


6) Successful learning requires planning ahead. Set goals for yourself, such as the deadline by which you want to have all the material covered so you can begin reviewing. Ideally, you should understand all the important concepts before you start preparing for the exam.

Set short-term goals for each study session, and measure the results. This can be something like understanding all the material from a certain chapter by the end of the session, or scoring 90% or above on the practice exam, or any other measurable result.


7) Good students welcome feedback from their peers, coaches and teachers. If you get back a paper with red corrections all over, or a less-than ideal grade, you might feel disappointed.

Instead, try re-writing the paper, and ask your teacher to re-mark it (explain that you know it won’t impact your grade, but you’re trying to improve your skills., This will make your writing better, and make you look good - win/win!)


8) Take advantage of all learning opportunities.

Learning opportunities are any times or activities where you can learn and master the material. Ask questions in class or during remediation hours and get clarification on topics you’re struggling with.

Go to class, take notes, form or join a study group, and attend office hours if your teacher or professor has them.


9) Improvement involves dealing with challenges, difficulty and uncertainty.

Be open to new ideas and taking risks. Expose yourself to uncertainty. You must persevere through difficulties in order to be successful.

For example, this might include challenging yourself to not be shy to raise your hand in class in order to get your questions answered, and volunteering your answer to the teachers questions, even if there is a chance it’s wrong.

These are strong learning opportunities to take advantage of, even if it’s uncomfortable.


10) Find the value of learning what you’re studying.

Successful students find ways to take interest and find value in courses that may not be inherently interesting to them.

In every course, there are things to learn outside of the curriculum. If you’re taking an Ancient Art course but aren’t interested in art, perhaps view the course from the perspective of a sociologist, learning how the ancient people behaved, or maybe from the point of view of a historian, and play out a visual in your mind of how these people came to be and what events may have taken place.

Try to find out why some people, like your teacher, take such an interest in the topic, and you will probably find an aspect that interests you as well.


Developing the mindset of a successful learner is the first step you must take in order to study efficiently.

If you can master these 10 principles and use them in your studying, you are well on your way to becoming a successful learner.