Top students share their study secrets

When a group of high-achieving Year 13 students were asked for their secrets to achieving super study habits, effective time management was their top tip, followed by good organisation and not being afraid to ask teachers for help. Compiled in a new book, their study and lifestyle advice could help your kids have their best year yet.

Every year, about 40,000 Kiwi students complete Year 13 assessments and competition is intense. Top students from New Zealand and Australia were asked to share their tips and advice for a new book, Max Your Marks, which was written to help Year 13 (formerly known as Form 7) students do their best. Here are some of their secrets for success.
Make what work you do count - when you're doing it, do it well. Don't spend laborious hours doing millions of things that aren't necessary.
Make sure you know you've got enough time to finish all your assignments by their due date. If you've got five assignments due in the next four days that are going to take 12 hours to finish, you've got to make sure you've got 12 hours in the next four days to finish them. Concentrate your study in small blocks when you have the energy for it.
Make effective use of time - do as much work as possible in class. And when you are studying, actually do the work, don't just sit staring at the paper or into space. Really concentrate, and use that concentrated time.
Even though I didn't necessarily start assignments early, I always made sure I understood them. So when I got them, I would read through the questions and make sure I knew what they were about. You don't want to get to the last couple of nights before the assignment is due and realise you have no idea how to approach the question.
Being prepared for everything was essential, no matter what it was - a big class test or just a little piece of work. A lot of people would go into a test and think, "I've done pretty well this year, I know how it is," instead of going through everything and making sure they understood the night before. If I was prepared, I always did well.
I had a whiteboard and a huge calendar on my wall with all the due dates and exam dates and everything on it. I had a diary running, I had a big folder for each subject and each folder was divided up into topics. I also had miniature folders with zips that I could take to school. The system was absolutely priceless when it came to revision because there were always people who would find they had lost some tests and assignments, while I had everything perfectly labelled and I knew where everything was.
I used my school diary all the time. I was always writing everything down, then crossing it off when it was done - that was something I found really fulfilling. At the end of the year, I flicked through the diary and thought, "Whoa, that really is a lot of work that I did!"
Here's my big tip: Ask the dumb questions. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions. I would always ask questions in and outside class. If you don't understand, don't just sit back and go, "Maybe I'll figure it out later." Ask straight up. Even if it is trivial there's going to be someone else in the class who wants to ask the same question, so be the person to ask.
I asked for a syllabus statement from every teacher. They would go through each point through the year, so I would just tick off one of those each time

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