Perhaps you have a future Stephen Hawking in your class, who always finds a way to bag in a 94% while you struggle with a 50%. It is easy to blame good genetics for your failure instead of revisiting your study habits. Here are some of the study habits that top students implement.
While this may seem slightly obvious, very few students have and use a study plan. You need to allocate time to all the subjects you are taking, and allocate more time to those that you have trouble with. An excellent study plan should also include time for assignments, rest and sleep to keep you going.
Instead of lightly perusing your textbooks and highlighting all the sentences, try reading small portions intensively. Top students study by ensuring that they cover each topic extensively for maximum understanding, and also to save time in the future. Remember that studying is about what you understand, not the number of pages you turn within a few hours.
Surprisingly, top students do not force their brains to take in more than they can. Instead of sitting for three hours staring at the same page, take breaks after 30 minutes, and take even longer breaks after several hours to improve your memory.
This point is particularly painful if you are too lazy to make your notes. However, if you want to improve your test scores, learn how to make summaries of the topics you study, and instead of cramming the textbook before exams, read your notes. Personal notes are easier to understand and also remember.
If you think that staying up day and night is the key to getting better, then you are greatly mistaken. Your body needs rest for normal operations to occur at their optimum. When you are exhausted, anything you read is mostly forgotten. Get yourself enough hours of sleep, and also keep the pattern consistent to avoid confusing your body.
Cramming your notes will not help you get to the top, understanding them will. After reading your notes, create questions to test yourself. It is only through regular testing that you realize what you know and what you do not. Top students go further by gathering past papers and revising the questions in an exam setting. Treat your studies as seriously as you would an exam.
Unfortunately, you may not have control over all the subjects or units the curriculum expects you to take. However, at one point, you have a chance to choose the units you would like to take. Follow what you enjoy and put effort into it. It is easier to pass subjects that you are passionate about.