The state of mind for achieving academic success

As every modern child today will be put through an education system considered necessary for his or her future success in life, achieving academic success becomes a very important goal for families. Different cultures will have different approaches to helping the child achieve this success. Culture of the parents after all is one of the determining factors of the state of mind of the child ie. whether it will be optimal for learning or not, noting that each culture has its pluses and minuses in their methodology. You can read about the difference between eastern and western education due to differences in philosophies in the following two studies archived here and here.

What is common in the academic world is that examinations are an important part of grading the student that reflects his or her competency in the area studied. The rigidity of exam questions and the subjectivity of the assessment on the other hand by graders due to their varying moods/emotions when marking papers do raise questions if the examinations method of education should be abolished as published here.

The wisdom I employed, when I was old enough to have wisdom, about the time when I transitioned to secondary or middle school, was to do my optimal best in order to keep my parents happy, gain more freedom from parental control which came with good grades and a futuristic thought that getting good grades would maximize my options at the time when I would need to make a choice for my career advancement. So I was determined to succeed academically as the following photos portray :








So how did I achieve a state of mind that would give me the academic results that was desirable?

There were several factors in my personal life that I feel were helpful. Firstly I had a father who believed in education as he raised himself from poverty to become a  man of success through education by receiving scholarships from the British government to qualify as a professional surveyor in England. He worked till optional retirement age with the government as the Chief Surveyor and later started his own professional survey company that he closed at about 88 years of age about less than a year before he passed away. He left behind the imprint of the importance of diligence or hard work and shared with me how much he suffered and endured learning advanced mathematics in his land surveying course of even sitting on the toilet bowl memorizing the formulas. From my early years of struggle in mathematics, I soon realized I needed to develop self-discipline to study, practice and apply the theories and formulas I was learning. Soon what was difficult and impossible soon became miraculously easy and I learnt the advantage of the ability to score maximum marks in mathematics as you only need to derive the right answer and you get full marks. It was different with essays and subjective questions where you tend to lose marks for every question you attempt as the grader is reluctant to give you a perfect score. Not so with mathematics.

As a developing country, the government had always emphasized on Science and Technology. This influence together with that of my father in scientific or logical thinking made me focus on these subjects of the academic world. I soon developed the habit of logic and reasoning thus accelerated the development of my analytical and logical  left brain. Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Modern and Advanced Mathematics became my pet subjects to score top marks but not without a focus or concentration in understanding every class or lesson that was being taught. I had always made sure that whatever lessons that were being taught to me in a day in school, I would be able to understand it enough to recall it again when it was time to study and memorize for the dreaded examinations. If I missed something or couldn't understand what was being taught, I would readily raise my hand with a question to seek an answer. With good teachers that I had, they were able to help me get the understanding that I sought for. Revision of what you already understand in class is therefore so much easier during the preparatory time for examinations. I therefore rarely needed any additional tuition classes or special tutors for the subjects in school except for mathematics when I wasn't getting it in my early years in secondary or middle school.

With focus attention, exercising my logical and analytical mindset to learn and maintain a self disciplined working style at school and at home, I soon got the habit of learning that helped me to excel in any institution of academic learning. I learnt that repetition helped to strengthen my memory to be able to reproduce the information when questioned in an examination paper. However it is understanding and logic that helped me know how to apply the right theories or formulas to the relevant questions that can sometimes be tricky to intentionally confuse the student who only memorized the answers but did not understand the underlying logic and reasoning behind the question.

In summary, to achieve academic success is nothing more than developing a system of learning in your mind. Self disciplined focus or developing good habits of the learning process therefore becomes crucial to the aspiring student for success in examinations. I must add that positive energy that comes from motivational teachers or mentors from family or friends is an important ingredient to provide an optimal climate for the student to have the initiative to make right choices and follow up on acting on their choices. Without the positive energy or motivation, the foundation necessary for optimal learning may never be built at all in one's mind and the student will find continuous learning a struggle while others will never stop learning with or without examinations.

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