How to Be a Successful Academic

Isn't it every young person's dream to become a successful academic? Follow these steps and you'll be one in no time!


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    Stay healthy. A healthy body will lead to a healthy mind.
    • Get plenty of sleep, eight to nine hours at best. Don't skimp on it. Any results of procrastination (cramming, dash to finish a project) should be avoided with careful planning and self-discipline. You will sleep better and have better quality work in the process.
    • Exercise has been proven to stimulate the brain and it relieves stress.
    • Eat breakfast. Even if it's a little thing, like an apple, you’ll benefit from the improvement in concentration and performance. Eat healthy before a test, especially.
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    Stay organized. How can one study if they don't know where their notes are, or attend a meeting when they don't know when and where it is? Organization is the key to success.
    • Keep a planner. Short term memory can be unreliable, so write everything down. Note assignments, due dates, meetings, and a "to do" list on a calendar. Keep your priorities straight. Avoid procrastination by assigning yourself small parts of a big project over a period of time.
    • File notes, syllabi, and other works. Whether it be in a binder or an expandable portfolio, you need to know where notes are at all times to study – especially those precious seconds right before a quiz. The syllabus will be helpful in knowing procedures and the teacher's contact information. Keep your work, file it, so you can pull it out as evidence in case the teacher loses it.
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    Go to class. Attendance is part of your grade and just showing up will ensure you 10% of your grade. Also, nothing can replace the good old fashioned lecture.
    • Be on time. Punctuality is important. Studies show students learn the most in the first twenty minutes of class.
    • Sit in front where you can hear and see the teacher. You will be less distracted by friends and it will be easier to focus.
    • Ask questions. You’re there to learn, not be told things you already know. don’t care about sounding stupid. Chances are, at least three people had the same question and will admire you for your guts.
    • Behave in class. Stay on the teacher’s good side. You will be more comfortable to ask questions if the teacher doesn’t eye you with contempt.
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    Take notes. Don't copy someone else's notes. The act of writing while you take in information will increase your understanding by eighty percent.
    • Lecture notes: Make sure to take notes in class. The 90/10 scale is recommended: 90% listening, 10% writing. Anything your teacher repeats or emphasizes is likely to be on an upcoming test. Don't worry about writing everything out; as long as you can understand your notes you'll be fine.
    • Textbook notes: Keep up on your reading and read the material before going to class; it’ll help you better understand the lecture. Use sticky notes to mark questions or thoughts as soon as you think of them. Find the main idea using the headings. Experiment with different note forms (outline, bullet, and Cornell) and see which works best for you.
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    Study your notes and keep good study habits. Rule of thumb when studying your notes: study once right after you take them, once between then and the test, and once right before the test. Make sure you study them, because simply writing the notes will not guarantee you know the material.
    • Reread and summarize the material. See if you can tell yourself what you just read from cues in the headings.
    • Use flashcards. They are convenient to carry around, so you can review while standing in line or waiting for the bus. Very useful for vocabulary, foreign languages, science, and history terms.
    • Spend extra time on difficult subjects.
    • Form a study group.
    • NEVER CRAM. The best thing is to study the day before a test and let yourself off for the night. Cramming is an unreliable method that will will leave you hopelessly fatigued the next day.
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    Learn the art of test taking. Tests are often weighted heavily in your grade, so it is important to do well on them.
    • Dress comfortably. You don't want to be too cold, too hot, or have an annoying wedgie while trying to focus.
    • Be calm and don't panic. Have the mindset that you know this material (and if you have studied, you will), and instead of thinking “I don’t know this” convince yourself, instead, to remember the answer.
    • Read carefully and take your time. Do not let yourself be intimidated if everyone finishes before you; a good grade will be worth it.


  • Try some extra-curricular activities; these are sure to boost your grades, and some will reinforce what you have learned in class.
  • If you find yourself needing extra help on a certain subject, consult the Internet. There are tons of great websites full of lessons and related materials to help you catch up.
  • Still spend time with your friends. Do not lose your friends, or lose yourself, in the plight for good grades. Grades will get you through the school year; friends will get you through life.
  • If you have a friend of classmate who has good grades, try asking them for tips, notes you've missed, or to study together.
  • Read as much as you can. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, you will benefit from the stimulation and learning new words. Read books having to do with your subjects, e.g., read a book on Mexico if you find Spanish difficult.


  • Even if you find yourself struggling, NEVER PLAGIARIZE. Don’t copy someone else's work, whether it be an assignment, notes, or test. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and if caught, the consequences will be worse than getting a poor grade.

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Categories: School Stuff