There are five common attributes that can be found in good students, which cover their academic approach, attitude and lifestyle. It is not often 'intelligence' that plays as the major distinction between a 'good' student or a 'bad', although it may appear this way, it is instead the following characteristics and qualities of a good student below, that people and other students often mistake for them being simply 'smarter than me' and that being the reason why they achieve the better grades. Fortunately, this is wrong. If you aim to aspire to the following five attributes of a good student, you will too become a good student and get the top grades.
1. Organization - probably the biggest distinctive factor between a 'good' student and a 'bad' student is organization. A good student is well and truly organized from study time tables to To-Do lists they know how and what needs to be done for the day, week and even the month -- they know essay deadlines, when books are due, the lot. A bad student, however forgets such deadlines, gets surprise homework and generally doesn't know whether they are coming or going.
2. Focus - another common trait amongst good students is their resistance to procrastination, knowing that isolation is key. They place themselves away from distraction, knowing that friends, computers with the internet and even a phone are all probably bad ideas, when it comes to trying to get work done. They settle down in a quiet place and just 'get on with it'!
3. Motivation - often commonly referred to as 'hard-working', I would describe it instead as being 'driven' they know full well of what they are trying to achieve, and why they are trying to achieve it -- they are in touch with the overall objective. Whether they want to pursue a successful career and that this degree will help get them there or like me are simply scared of failure, whatever the case may be they are driven to work hard. Are you struggling for motivation or a 'drive'? Check point 7 -- 'The Secrets to Academic Success' .
4. Strategic - when they have been provided with an essay or project, they don't just dive in like most students, they actually 'THINK' about it. What is the best way to go about it? Often coming up with a detailed plan of task by task attack e.g. research X, research Y, find common grounds between X & Y, detail an essay plan, research further resources referencing both research X and Y, incorporate back into the essay plan, develop their own opinion on the matter as well as what can be gained from the overall verdict of research X and Y etc.
5. Efficiency - they assess whether what they are doing is actually a valuable exercise for them, is writing and re-writing up notes actually effective for revising for the exams that are coming up, or is there something else that they could be doing which is more effective. For example, if they know a certain essay based exam is coming up surrounding a particular topic, instead of constantly drafting notes for that topic, wouldn't it be a better use of time to write up mock essays for it, and then send them into the Teaching Assistant (TA) or Lecturer and gain incredibly valuable feedback on what aspects are good about the essay (i.e Keep) and what aspects need further work (i.e Revise), which they can build upon. Allowing them to form a model answer from which to revise from and can simply be wrote out in the exam to achieve stellar marks.
If you are serious about upping your education game and wanting to achieve the best grades, then I have to recommend you read 'How to Become a Straight - A Student' by Cal Newport, a great book on advising college and university students to get the very top grades. If you have any general comments or remarks regarding the attributes of a good student, or have any other aspects that good students often possess, then please do share them in the comments box below.