help4u Mr. Charles Gimbel
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Chemistry I - Honors
Hidden Success SECRETS

More than a dozen achievers speak to you...

This document was prepared from the responses of former students who maintained an average of 96% or better.

As my commitment to my profession, I will always do what I feel is necessary to help my students succeed. But, each of you are ultimately responsible for your part of the learning process. Whenever less than eighty percent of my students are earning less than a B my attention is drawn to wondering why. I wonder why because thousands of students before you have enjoyed great success. If you aren’t succeeding, surely you must wonder why as well. In contrast to students who have dreadful grades are the students who have averages of more than 100% and the many who have an average of 96% or better. If you have a C or less, what aren’t you doing that the A students are doing? You better take charge of your preparation or nothing will change.

In an effort to deliver this information to your doorstep, I asked most students who have an average of 96% or better to address certain issues to share with you. If you want to know what successful people do to ensure their success, just ask them. So that’s what I did, and here are excerpts, some paraphrased, from what they said.

BE AWARE - each response is from a different person in each section of this document.

How smart are you?
I’m fairly smart, not brilliant...
I’m pretty smart but especially in science.
I’m only as smart as I want to be.
I don’t think I’m very smart, but others think I am.
I am very smart but I have trouble with testing.
Relatively smart, but sometimes relatively stupid.
Fairly intelligent.
Very smart; I’m in gifted.
I have average intelligence like any other.

How much time do you invest in studying each day or week, and when do you study? Note that most who responded distinguish between doing specific assignments, which they call homework, and studying - which they regard as self initiated study.

My studying varies. Weekly I’d say about 15 hours sometimes. Normally I study at night, in the car, doing dishes, anywhere I can!

I usually study in time increments of about 15 minutes per subject toward the time I go to bed.

I spend maybe five hours of study time a week. I spend far more time doing homework, but I often learn most of a subject through doing my homework. This means less study time to learn the material. I prefer to study after my homework is finished. Sometimes I find it difficult to continue studying after doing hours of homework. Those days I prefer to do my studying after dinner. On nights when I can’t fall asleep, I stay awake in bed and run over my different subject until I finally fall asleep.

I don’t think I study more than three hours a week. I study at home when I’m done with every other homework or assignment. I also study right before the test starts when everybody is coming into the classroom.

I usually invest the amount of time studying that I know I need for that particular subject and day. If I only need one hour for a subject that comes easy for me, I usually study for an hour and fifteen minutes. If I’m studying for a subject that is not very easy for me, I will put in a lot more time. So, my study time varies from day to day.

I pay attention in class. I write my assignments down. I do my assignments as soon as they are assigned in order of priority. If I have a question, I make sure I have the answer to it. If I leave any of these steps out I get stressed and my grades start to slip. But this is just what works for me.

Maybe about 2 - 3 hours a week, including assignments.

About an hour a day when I get home, or really late at night.

The amount of time I spend studying for a subject varies from day to day. I can spend about an hour with each subject. When I’m having trouble with a subject or falling behind, I try to spend more time studying. I like to study with others. My parents help, but when they are not available, I’ll study with my friends. It helps to spend the extra time between classes and while traveling to school and home.

I spend about an hour and a half each day before sports and when I get home.

The only time I ever review is on the way to or from school, but it could be useful for other people.

I spend about an hour a day studying and 1-1/2 hours for big tests. I also study when I’m on the computer. Somehow when I write things out and read messages from other people on the internet I learn a lot better.

I invest about 2 -3 hours a week for each subject, give or take depending upon the load of the week.

I study about 30 minutes for each class per day.

Then, what advice could you give to students who are not achieving as well as you are, or very poorly in the same environment in which you are enjoying noteworthy success? I asked them, basically, what they would say to you if they were speaking very frankly.

Success in academics is not really that hard to achieve. You have to give up a lot, but how important is success to you? That’s what you have to think about. Your social life may not be as active as before, but you’ll have one. The key to success is organization. If you are not organized in your notes, and any other work, you’ll have a very hard time studying. Organization is different for everyone. Another thing - if you tell yourself you won’t succeed - you won’t - that’s a fact. Do your best, work your hardest, and want it!

To get good grades you just can’t wait to the last minute to study. You need to be prepared for class. Do the homework. It will help you for the next day in class when the teacher teaches you will know what he/she is talking about. Life is not easy. That is why you have school so that you can get a little experience. If you don’t take school seriously then you, more than likely, won’t be well off in today’s society.

I find learning easier when you know what kind of learner you are. Do you learn by hearing, seeing, or doing? If you learn by hearing, you may wish to record important information so that you can listen to it when studying. Try having someone read your notes to you. When you are reading a textbook, you may wish to read out loud. Try coming up with your own way. If you learn by seeing you may want to see examples or have your notes out in front of you. If you learn by doing then you need to open up that book and do some math problems or reenact a historic battle. Try becoming an element for science or living the story in English. Now start studying the fun and effective way.

Studying becomes extremely easy when you pay attention during your class. Sometimes you copy down the notes and read it, but don’t really understand what the concept is about. If you pay attention during class, studying becomes a simple review.

Tests don’t come easy for me so I work extra hard on my homework and study as well. Because I have a lot to do (activities) I make a schedule out in my head, write down what I need to do and then stick with it. I also have a lot of determination and don’t like to quit.

If you are having a problem, figure out what works for you and then follow those steps diligently. Try explaining the material to someone else. If you can make them understand, chances are you’ll understand it too. The most important thing is that you not only recognize that you have a problem and come up with a plan that works for you, but you make a commitment to try hard to succeed.

If you truly want to make good grades in school you need to pay attention in each class and if you can’t remember all that you need to - TAKE NOTES! When I get home each day, I make a list of my priorities from greatest to least and follow it as it was written. For big projects and such, I start those right after they are assigned so that I don’t have to throw it all together the night before. To keep good grades, you need to stay on task when you get home and wait to call friends and watch TV until you are done with your homework. Earning good grades can be easy if you put the effort into it.

The easiest way to avoid failing is to know the material. Memorize the facts and formulas, it isn’t hard, there are always tips and tricks. Look at your ions and periodic table; find patterns and you have to memorize less. It’s more logic than memory, once you memorize the basics.

Before you can start learning things, you have to find out what’s your best learning method. After you have accomplished this, use your knowledge on how you learn best and try studying that way. Pay attention in class, take notes, and study alone or with friends - whatever works for you. Be motivated - that’s the one best piece of knowledge I can give you. If you want to succeed you must study and work hard. You must also be prepared to face everything as a challenge that you will solve or complete to the best of your ability. I learned from my dad that success is a choice. If you aren’t motivated, get motivated. You must be driven if you want to succeed. Do all you can to prepare even if you don’t have a test or quiz, and you will succeed. But, you have to choose that path for yourself. Nobody but you can make you succeed.

The best way to achieve your goal to become an A student is basically just studying. If you don’t know what to study, just look back and think of anything that you might have had a problem with and try to figure out what went wrong and why you didn’t understand what was discussed. Getting tutored might also be helpful. Sometimes you think that even though there is no homework there is still something that you must study. Otherwise, you might forget something that is very important to know. If you prefer not to study alone and you find that studying alone is not working for you, you should try and make up a study group. These simple things will help you become a better student and you will start to see better results. If someone tells you that studying is pointless, don’t listen to them because chances are they are the ones who will struggle later on and you’ll be proud of how well you have done. This is what has made me a better student and it shows.

A commentary from your teacher

There are some common themes among all of the A students, and maybe this is enough.

If you really want to succeed, each of them is telling you that success is a choice and you can do it. If you want to succeed then make the choice. If you don’t, after reading the above, then you are still making a choice - a choice to be unsuccessful.

The A students are also telling you that you have to give your quest for success TIME. You may have to give up some goof off things that you now enjoy and spend a lot more time studying and doing assignments. If you don’t, you are making a choice, aren’t you?

They also tell you that you have to find the right way for you to study and accomplish. Well, get going! You’ll never figure it out unless you get started and note what works best for you and what doesn’t.

Planner, time line, schedule, call it what you want, but recognize that successful people develop a plan and stick to it. How many times was this mentioned in some way?

I was inspired by what I read because these are the traits of successful adults. Remember that half the college freshmen don’t make it to their sophomore year. The students interviewed will because they already know what it takes for them to succeed academically. They are establishing a pattern of behavior that will keep them moving in the right direction while others will perish.

The ball is in your court. What choice will you make? Nobody can do it for you. The missing element here is you.
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Last updated  2008/09/28 06:17:11 EDTHits  346