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How to be a good student

High school students are expected to have learned certain math skills by the end of grade 8; they will use these math skills in this course. Additional math skills are introduced throughout the year.

9 Habits of Highly Successful Students, by James Kennedy {Excerpted}


Neil DeGrasse You Can Always Become Better At It

All classes contain students of mixed ability levels. However, performance is more dependent on how hard a student is willing to work than on any measure of innate ability.

Student learning correlates much more with “grit” than with talent. In other words, the more hours you study, the higher your grades will be.

In this article, I’m giving you my observations from a teacher’s perspective of what students in the top 20% (in terms of grades) tend to do.

1. They don’t play games on their iPad/phone.

Students with low scores tend to resort to picking up their iPads/phones at every spare moment. That addiction is a sign that a student doesn’t spend their free moments reading or thinking.

2. They read handouts/packets/notes at home, highlighting and annotating as they go.

{I suggest a study guide such as Barron’s SAT Subject Test Physics which they can highlight. You can pick up used copies $10}

VCE Chemistry annotated textbook Heinemann

…Reading the textbook before class is much more effective waiting until after the subject was taught.

3. Good students write neatly, and colour-code their notes.

{and they also don’t waste time with perfection: no need to use white-out, or recopy the notes to make them appear perfect. Better to spend your time thinking about the material.}


4. They have a designated homework diary, agenda, or app.

Successful students always remember to do their homework. They record their homework tasks in their diaries with due dates.

5. They do all their homework on time

Even if the teacher forgets to ask to see students’ homework, the most successful students will actively hand it to their teacher because they’re proud of the work they’ve done.

Even if there’s no homework set, they’ll still spend time reading the textbook (or another relevant book) or watching YouTube videos to supplement their understanding of what’s been taught. The most successful students are self-motivated.

6. They pay most attention to their teacher during the lesson

From experience, students who chat to each other too much tend to get low grades… They miss crucial instructions, homework, questions and information…

7. They ask questions after class and email their teachers
at evenings/weekends with questions regarding the homework

Most days, I receive emails from students. However, these emails are usually sent by the same 30% or so of the students I teach. The students with the habit of asking more questions—both inside and outside the classroom—tend to fare better in the end-of-year examination.

8. They understand that we learn primarily through reading,
and that the classroom is just a place to discuss
what they’ve read and put it into practice

Successful students learn more outside the classroom than in. They read the relevant  section before class; they come to class with questions about what they’ve read. They re-read the textbook section after the lesson as well. They know that the more times they read the textbook, the more they’ll learn and the better their scores will be.

They know that their success depends more on how many hours they put into studying than on how ‘good’ their teacher is.

9. They know when to say, “I don’t get this.” 

Successful students have the confidence to admit to things they don’t understand – and are thus more receptive when their teachers explain them. It’s a pedagogically dangerous habit to pretend that you understand something – better to ask a question.



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