Five tips to be a successful student

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Before writing ‘The Ups and Downs of Education’ in 2015, a memoir of my journey through education, I reflected on my entire journey through the years leading up to my eventual graduation in the summer of 2015 and just how much I had learned both academically and personally. Whilst I was gutted for that period of my life to come to a close because of the fun times I had with the people I had met, I was also relieved to be receiving my award for years of hard work and dedication.

It wasn’t until my late teens and early twenties that in order to be a successful student, it was just about what I had ‘upstairs’ or the score I would record in an IQ test – there was much more to it than that. There were various factors that didn’t necessarily involve your ability to solve complex queries or receive an A* in your exam. Factors such as your organisation, reliability, and determination to do well and succeed.

Whilst the achievements of postgraduate degrees and PhDs are phenomenal achievements, I’ve always believed that walking up to receive your Bachelor’s Degree at your graduation ceremony is the pinnacle of your educational journey. Everyone will have a different story of how they got to that point, but I want to share some of my tips for anyone who is currently on that journey or someone who wants to gain a qualification but is not sure what they can do to begin and succeed.

Appreciating that everyone’s needs and abilities are different, I must emphasise that these tips have worked for me and they may not necessarily suit you and work for you as a result. Nonetheless, here are five of my tips to help you be a successful student:


In anything you want to be successful at, organisation is a must. It’s essential when you’re a student. As you approach college and university life, you’re likely to be juggling several assignments, whilst preparing for exams. Being organised allows you to keep on top of your assignments and prepare well for your exams, enabling you to give 100% in both. The biggest thing I found whilst studying at University and college was that tutors won’t be chasing you asking you if the work was done, or if you were preparing for assessments or exams – that was your job.

Without organisation, you’re inviting stress, worry, and anxiety on yourself. It’s the very first element towards success in any walk of life.


Just like organsation, discipline is essential, but perhaps what many students lack. All students have been there at some point or another. Discipline is keeping focused on your task when there are countless other distractions wanting to grab your attention. Discipline is staying in the library after your day schedule is over to work on your assignment; it’s sacrificing your weekend activities with friends in order to prepare for your exam; it’s choosing to attend every lecture although some of them are pointless.

Maintaining your discipline is perhaps one of the hardest things to accomplish as a student. There are simply so many distractions to overcome. I thought it was bad enough from 2012-2015; but it’s even worse now. From online streaming, instant messaging apps, and online shopping to our absolute obsession with social media.

Discipline was one of my biggest strengths as a student. In 2009, I vowed to never be complacent again; and that single-minded approach throughout my late teens and early twenties brought me success. It’s not easy, but you need it. Get your priorities in order. If you’re paying for an education, why achieve a crap grade because of your inability to log out of an app or dedicate more time to achieving an extra mark?

Using all your resources

In this day and age, there are countless resources available for current students or anyone who wants to gain a qualification, much more than ten years ago. As a student, there will be many occasions where you’ll have to conduct research when tackling an assignment or looking for ways to earn extra marks on your exam. When it comes to resources, these can range from learning hubs in your particular establishments to reliable online sources to enhance your work.

This also includes talking to professionals, tutors, or former students themselves about their experiences. Since graduating, I have been fortunate enough to be approached by former students from Middlesex University as well as friends and family who seek advice on approaching the later stages of their education or the beginning stages of employment. I’m always happy to share my experiences.

Spend time researching the best educational tools and talking to trusted professionals or students; take on board their advice.

Always think of the end goal

You are in a slump, having to meet the deadlines of many assignments and you feel overwhelmed. What can you do to lift yourself? Think of the end goal.

Think of the reason you’re sacrificing your weekends to work on your assignment, why you’ve had to reschedule yet another meetup with your mates, why you won’t spend all your Christmas watching re-runs of Home Alone: because of the end goal. Your end goal is to receive your certificate, your reward for your years of hard work being a dedicated student.

For most people, there’s always a motivation behind most decisions we make. That’s what we think of when times get tough or we doubt we can achieve what we set out to achieve. Always think of your end goal.

Choose your relationships wisely

Relationships, more like friendships and working relationships are very important whilst studying; particularly at university. Establishing relationships is key – you can support each other. Some people you may develop long-term relationships with, whilst others you may just have to work with to complete assignments. These decisions are crucial.

You may not get along with someone compared to another, but if they’re organised, disciplined, motivated, and just a good a student, that’s who you should be looking to work with to achieve a common goal. Your best friends may be the more comfortable option, but ask yourself whether they’re reliable.

I hope these tips will be a great help to you; whether you’re currently studying or looking to obtain a qualification, whatever that may be. I wish you every success.

Thanks for reading.


Submitted: April 30, 2023

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