The hidden secret of academic success

This article is a collection of views from different students on the keys to academic success. It is easier to replicate success when you study or hear testimonies from people that have succeed in their academic pursuit. All you need to do is to think through the article and devise a means that will help you to also succeed academically. Success is for everybody if only you can be diligent enough, you will also join the league of the successful.

What then is the big secret?

This is a question that isn’t alien to anyone the world deems successful. I don’t think I can justly call myself that. Yet. Just a few things are worthy of note though, or more precisely, three words: DESIRE, CHOICE and FOCUS. What is it that you wish for? What is it that your heart yearns for, present circumstances be damned? What do you dare to dream? Perhaps an A? Or might you settle for a B? Or perhaps you dare to dream of an A*? What do you dare to choose? What do you dare to pull out of dreamland and into reality? You must want something before the wheels in your brain start turning in order to get it. It’s not enough to want something however, you have to choose it, and you must make it your goal if you are to achieve anything tangible. Making that choice is a way of giving direction to an otherwise diffuse mind. Do not give yourself an out; do not put it out there that there’s a second best thing. Do not say to yourself, ‘I want an A but I wouldn’t mind a B’. You see, when we set out deliberately to be less than we can be, when we put it out there that we wouldn’t mind falling a step lower than the zenith, then 9 out of 10 times, that’s exactly where we end up. At the same time, we should not drift to the other extreme where it literally becomes a ‘do-or-die’ affair, where failure ceases to be the opportunity to try again and do better and becomes a suicide prompter. Be the person that failed 99 times and got up 100 times, doing it better every time he got back up. All these, focus makes you realize. It makes you realize that without the right attitude to people and things in that order, we’d burn fuel without actually moving forward. It makes us realize that we must put ourselves and our petty desires aside and do what needs to be done- disconnecting the cables of the television, relinquishing your social media rights- whatever it may be, insofar as they do not oppose right reason and morals.

Above all, focus makes us realize that whatever we do will amount to nothing in the long run if we forego He who is the maker of all that is. It must be our top priority that we seek to achieve a three-fold goal in relation to God- to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him in spirit and in all truth, holding nothing back that we may obtain the greatest treasure- being with Him at the end. A mantra I held dear, ‘Pray as though everything depended on it; study as though nothing else mattered’. In all you do, be you. As Dr. Seuss would say, there’s only one you in the world that is truer than true. Have role models but never be a blind copy machine. Do not seek to tread the paths of others. Go instead where there’s no path and leave a trail. May you have success, good success. (Amaji Obinna Charles)


Academic Success is not an overnight achievement, just like how Rome was not built in a day. It is a gradual process like a growing plant needs to be watered every day. It requires constant and consistent effort to bring about a desired result. Below are keys to academic success that have proved to be effective and I testify to it.

  1. Put God first: Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed”. The ‘God Factor’ is the ultimate and most essential element in our academic journey and as such we have to involve Him in everything we do. Talk to Him, tell Him your aspirations and what you want to achieve. Keep Him very close and trust in Him and as a loving Father that He is, He will surely reward you.
  2. Set a target or goal: Having a set goal is like having a map to a particular place. It gives a focus as to where you are heading to; if you have a map, you can’t get lost. Your set goals should be achievable, more of a challenge that pulls you out of your comfort zone. Once this is in place, make efforts to achieve it. Reach for the sun so that if you don’t make it, you fall among the stars.
  3. Avoid negativity: There will always be people to discourage you that such goals are impossible or they have never been done or they are extremely difficult. Do not yield to them, and never give them listening ears. You are capable of anything and everything as long as you put your mind to it.
  4. Learn something new every day: Do not let a day pass by without learning something new. It could either be a topic, a chapter of a book, the meaning of a new word or anything at all. Remember that no knowledge is a waste.
  5. Carry out every task, work or assignment given to you diligently: Take seriously every assignment, project or work given to you. Do not ignore anyone because it was given for a reason which is to achieve a purpose, either to help you acquire a skill, to enhance your knowledge or get rewards in form of marks. Everything worth doing ought to be done well!
  6. Understand yourself: By this i mean you should understand how your body and mind works. Are you an audio, visual or tactile learner? Do you assimilate more during the day or at night? Once you know how your body works then you are good to go. The use of study aids such as flash cards, tutorial videos, past questions etc have proved to be really effective in learning.

By consistently making use of these points, you are sure of academic success. I know it’s easier said than done but whenever you feel like giving up remember the smile you would put on the faces of your loved ones and how proud you would make them feel when you come home with wonderful results. (Adrian Onyia)


Academic success is the fruit of intense sacrifice, in other words, there are vital keys to succeeding academically. Personally, I have some principles which have helped me in achieving great heights academically.
First of all is the God-factor. As a Christian, I’ve grown up with the understanding that good success is from God so I rely on Him to crown my efforts with good success by praying. But please take note, this is not a substitute for your hard work. As a matter of fact, God will only reward those who work, but as for those who are slothful, their latter end is failure. So this leads me to the next point -Hard work.
Hard work is a vital key to academic success. You cannot enjoy the glory of the day if you do not burn the candle at night. Your hard work, channeled in the right direction goes a long way in making you an outstanding student. So it is in your best interest to work hard, for the glory of the hard working is his/her success, but the demise of the indolent is their failure.

Another key factor is time management. Allocate specific periods for specific activities, know when is most comfortable for you to read, when to rest, when to pray etc. Time management is a vital key in succeeding academically.
Furthermore, your self-belief  also matters a lot. I try as hard as possible  never to belittle myself at the sight of a challenge. I take to heart that “I can, and will” overcome-even when sometimes, the challenge seems overwhelming. So, for a guaranteed success academically, never shy away from challenges nd difficulties rather, guard up your loins, embrace the challenge with a “YES I CAN” mindset.
Please take note, in the pursuit of success academically, there may be times when you’ll experience an overwhelming success, and also times when you’ll experience pitfalls and disappointment. But what makes you outstanding is your ability to continue pressing on, never relenting. Do not get too excited about what you just achieved, rather strive for greater heights and do not get discouraged in a pitfall, rather climb out, clean off the mud, and continue the race.
So, these are some of keys necessary for academic success and I’ll leave us with this saying- “A focused effort is the gap between the masterful and the mediocre.” (Kowe Samuel)


Everyone wants to be a star, a champion, a boss, a hero & even a god in his own time. But looking on the sunny side, academic excellence has got a great deal in view of these. In achieving this I’ve got motivations. I am motivated most importantly by my dreams; my quest for greatness; the past & present stars; my colleagues who have achieved excellence & are making it in life; my competitors in school & not to forget, my family. We’ve all got motivations to achieve excellence academically and otherwise. I’ve so far been a success in my field of study and I’ll love to share with you “The keys to my academic success”.

My parents would always make this clear to me”Remember that you alone are responsible for your academic achievement, your success & your failure in life. Your parents and your tutors would only be a support for your quest for greatness”. I never forgot these words for one day and they have thus kept me going so well in my academic pursuits. The dividends of our labor towards our academic pursuits is enjoyed by us alone and no one else.

A very close study of the great men we know would give us an understanding that every one of them had a focus and a target. Targets are set for various reasons,  whether to make a name , or to come out tops, or even to make an impression. One’s goals gives him/her an edge to success & an idea to meet its ends. As far as possible, eliminate negative influences and distractions that may prevent you from reaching your goal. In the course of my study I got to know that studying without a goal ends up a waste of time.

A successful course of study in school requires alot of discipline. Setting a study time table is one thing and diligently following it is another. It all requires discipline to stay put and make a progressive success in all your tests and exams. It only takes discipline likewise to ward off some irrelevant activities such as partying which would only be a distraction & a big setback.

Manage your time well, so that you allow time for your personal responsibilities and time to study. Remember procrastination is a subtle thief that will steal your academic success. Learn to be smart in your dealings when it comes to time because it counts alot. A very smart student would limit the number of hours he/she sleeps in a day & maximize them in more of studying.

A smart student would stay one or more chapters ahead in reading your textbook. It makes learning easier for you.
If you are not keeping up in class, do all that you can do to help yourself to improve your academic performance. Use all support services available to you, for example: increase your study time, form a study group, study with a partner, and use the internet for research purposes. If you continue to experience difficulty, make an appointment with your instructors to talk about your academic performance. Don’t ever feel shy to do so, it’s your life on the line here.

Avoid being absent or tardy. You are required to attend classes from the first day that classes begin for the semester. Good attendance will give you first-hand knowledge of your instructors’ comments and responses to questions. Good attended really pays alot.
If you cannot come to class because you are ill, notify your instructors. Try to make arrangements to make up your missed assignments.

Any student who wants to do exploits puts everything else aside. Having a boyfriend or a girlfriend would only break your focus. You automatically add to yourself an extra responsibility which will only initiate competition in your academic life. Emotional problems could arise between you and your partner, check out what disaster that’ll do to your grades.
Only your best is good enough. Strive for “A’s” and “B’s,” & it works so well when you’ve got no boyfriend or girlfriend to rack your brain for.

It’s not like God should come in last in your academics; in this case “the last shall be the first”. The scriptures would teach “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Prov 16:3. And just as we know also, the strength of God prevails in the weaknesses of man. This is why we need God alot in our studies. In as much as we work hard we ought to PRAY HARDER. (Charles Michael)



Success is defined as achieving your aim or purpose, but I personally think you can’t be successful without achieving your set goals or purpose. You can’t say a millionaire is successful because his goal is to be a billionaire. I feel your set goals should be unrealistic, something you feel you can never reach but equally work hard to reach, look at Donald Trump as an example.

Well, I have no idea when one can say he has achieved academic success. What I know is it involves a lot of hard work, sacrifices and resilience. I know you have heard these over and over again and it really hasn’t helped much but it also has to do with personal determination. The amount of hard work you put into your academics determines the level of success you attain. If you want your name known, you give a little extra, do research, be vast and read wide. It may not come in the test but your time to shine will come.

Another very important key to academic success is your motivation. It should be something tangible, something that actually drives you. My brother once told me his motivation is fair of poverty. I actually did not understand at the time but now I have better understanding. Let take a look at the economy of the country and the situation of average Nigerians and tell me poverty doesn’t scare the life out of you. Another great motivation of mine is my mum. I look back at how much sacrifices she has made for me. She is more than deserves a daughter she can be proud of. (Brimmo Farida Olubukola)


What has really helped me is proper time management. Using every possible, available time wisely is very essential in a way that you can achieve more than when time is wasted. I had a plan outlined for each week, it had all my goals per subject each day and I made sure I accomplished them. Although, there were times when I couldn’t finish them, which is normal though, because most times during week days, after coming back from school, I’m usually very tired. Then, I’d put some of them in the goals for next week. The only key to success, that i know of, is hard work. I had to study very hard because of the outcome I wanted which was AAA in physics, chemistry and biology in the Cambridge A level examinations but thankfully, I ended up getting A*A*A. That happened because of my level of determination, because I had to sacrifice some things, but not necessarily everything, as long as I knew had to manage my time well. So success depends on how much you sacrifice for it, your diligence, dedication, determination and particularly, discipline. (Ayomide Owolabi)

Bolarinwa Olajire

A tutor with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the icon below to ask questions.

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