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This text is taken from Improve Your English Through Comprehension Practice by Christina Lim Cher Kee. System Publishing House Pte. Ltd. Singapore. 2001.

A professor of education who has conducted major studies of super-achieving students revealed that top grades do not always go to the brightest students. According to him, other education experts and top students themselves, it is far more important for a student to know how to make the most of his or her innate abilities.

一位研究教育的老师对成绩优异的学生进行过几项大型调查,发现成绩最优秀的学生不一定是头脑最聪明的学生。根据这位教授、其他教育专家以及全优生们自己的观点,懂得如何充分发挥自己的潜能对于学生来说更为重要。
 
The students at the top of the class attain academic excellence by mastering a few basic principles that others can easily learn. To begin with, top students know how to set their priorities right. Study time is never compromised for phone calls, television programmes or snacks. In other words, it is always placed above recreation. In addition, top students make a point of study anywhere or everywhere. A top student who is also a top athlete memorises biology terms as he works out every day. Another student learns a new word every morning while brushing his teeth. Among all the students interviewed, every one agreed that study times are strictly a matter of personal preference. Some thrive at night when all is silent. Others prefer to study as soon as they come home from school when the lessons are fresh in their minds. However, all agreed that consistency is a main factor if one is to perform well at all times.

在班上名列前茅的学生之所以学习优秀,是因为他们掌握了几个基本原则,其他学生也可以轻松学会的。首先,全优生知道如何决定轻重缓急。他们从来不会为了打电话、看电视或者吃零食而牺牲学习时间。换言之,学习总是摆在娱乐之前。另外,全优生们总是注意随时随地学习。有位成绩优异的学生同时也是优秀的运动员,每天利用户外训练时间背生物学术语。而另一位学生则利用每天早上刷牙时间记一个新单词。而在所有被采访的学生中,无一例外都认为在什么时间学习完全是个人偏好问题。有些人在夜深人静时学习效果最好,有些人则喜欢趁着自己还能清晰地记得上课所讲的内容,一放学回家就开始学习。尽管如此,所有的全优生都一致认为,如果想任何时候都表现优秀,一个主要的因素就是要持之以恒。
A student must also learn to be organised. For example, a top student who is actively involved in his school band, track and field, rugby association and debate team disclosed that he keeps his things in their proper places because he simply cannot afford time-wasting searches. Another student immediately files the day's notes in colour-coded folders so that they are available for review nearing examination time.Another technique advocated by top students is to read effectively. This includes speed-reading, improving one's memory or retention ability, and actively asking questions that will lead to a full understanding of the author's message.

学生还必须学会有条理。举个例子,有一位全优生在学校乐队、田径队、橄榄球协会和辩论小组里都很活跃,他透露,他之所以把东西放得井井有条是因为他浪费不起到处找东西的时间。还有一位学生喜欢把当天的笔记马上整理出来并放进用不同颜色标记的文件夹里,以便临近考试时能随时用来复习。全优生们提倡的另一个技巧是有效的阅读,其中包括快速阅读、提高记忆能力以及主动提出问题以便充分理解作者的意思。
It is also important for students to know how to schedule their time. They must know how to pace each assignment or project according to their daily timetable and work ability so that they might not be overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. Being able to set timetables not only allows students more time to review and polish their work, it also prevents them from procrastinating. Top students believe that a secret of their success is the taking down of good notes during lessons and using them for revision. One student revealed that she writes notes from the text on one side of her notebook and those from her teachers' lectures on the other side. This allows her to review both aspects of each lesson at once. The student also revealed that instead of wasting time whispering to friends and getting ready to rush out of the class just before the bell rings, she uses those few minutes to jot down a two or three-sentence summary of the lesson's principal points. She then scans the notes to refresh her memory before the next day's class.

对于学生们来说,合理安排时间也同样重要。他们必须懂得如何根据每天的时间表和学习能力来安排做作业和项目的速度,不至于让手头的工作压得喘不过气。能制定时间表不仅让学生能够腾出更多时间来复习和完善功课,而且还能防止他们拖拖拉拉。成绩优异的学生认为,他们成功的一大秘诀就是上课时做好笔记,供复习时使用。有个学生透露,她把从课文上摘抄的内容记在笔记本的一边,把课堂笔记写在另一边。这样,就可同时复习到两方面的内容。她还透露,她不会浪费下课铃响前的几分钟跟朋友交头接耳,准备随时冲出教室。相反,她会利用这几分钟用两三句话概括那节课的要点,然后在下次上课前浏览这些笔记,借以加深印象。
Another winning formula which teachers promote lies in a student's ability to hand in neat work. According to one professor, the student who turns in neat work is already on the way to scoring an A. In the classroom context, it is equally important for students to speak up and ask questions. This is perhaps the best way for a student to clarify any doubts. Classroom participation also demonstrates a student's intellectual curiosity. As a student concisely puts it, "Better grades come from better understanding."

老师们提倡的另一个制胜秘诀是尽力让自己的作业整洁。有位老师说,学生交上整洁作业就已向高分迈进了一步。在课堂上大胆发言和提问也同样重要,这或许是学生澄清疑问的最好办法。课堂参与还能反映一个学生的求知欲。有个学生概括得好,“成绩来自透彻的理解”。
The value of studying together was demonstrated in an experiment conducted at one top university. The study revealed that students who discussed homework and problems together, tried different approaches and explained their solutions to one another scored higher than those who laboured on their own. The experiment also illuminated the value of hypothetical tests conducted among the students and on their own. This means that students frame tentative test questions based on their notes and give each other or themselves written examinations the day before a test. Experts confirmed that students who devise possible test questions often find many of the same questions during the real examination and thus score higher.

一项在一所世界顶级大学进行的调查证明了小组学习的价值所在。研究表明,学生们如果一起讨论家庭作业和问题,尝试不同的解决办法,并且互相解释各自的方法,分数就会比那些单独用功的学生要高。研究也证明了学生间互相进行模拟测试或自我测试的好处。这就是说,学生们根据笔记设计可能的试题,在考试前一天相互之间进行书面测试或自测。专家们证实,那些能设计模拟试题的学生,往往会在正式考题中发现很多相同的试题,自然能得高分了。
Another technique employed by top students is to do more than the assigned homework. A student revealed that if her teacher gives five problems, she will undertake ten. In the student's words, "Part of learning is practising. The more you practise, the more you learn." Last but not least, all experts and top students agree that the most important "secret" of super-achievers lies in the crucial contribution by parents. From infancy, super-achievers were taught the importance of learning by their parents. The latter set high standards for their children and held them to those standards. They encouraged their children in their studies but did not undertake the work for them. Instead of pressuring their children, these parents were always loving, gentle and took pains to explain and motivate. They impressed the lessons of responsibility on their children, and the children delivered.

全优生使用的另一个技巧是超额完成规定的家庭作业。一位学生透露,老师若是布置五道题,她会做上十道。用她的话说,“练习是学习的一部分。练得越多,学到的也越多。”最后一点同样不容忽视:所有的专家和优秀学生都认为,全优生们之所以成功,父母的功劳至关重要。从孩提时起,父母就给他们灌输学习的重要性,为他们制定高标准,并且引导他们达到这些标准。在学习方面他们给孩子以鼓励,而不是代劳。这些父母从不给孩子施加压力,永远都温柔慈爱,不厌其烦地解释和激励。他们使孩子们铭记肩负的责任,而孩子们则将其付诸实践。

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