It may seem that developing academic skills is something that will only benefit you as long as you are in school. Learning is a lifelong process and developing good academic skills will stand you in good stead long after you have graduated.

Here are 5 tips to help you develop the academic skills you need to not just succeed in school, but in life.

Find Your Motivation

Trying to study for the sake of studying is not going to provide you much motivation. Without an overarching motivation to excel or achieve, you will probably not do so.

When you aren’t in the mood to study (which, let’s face it, will be quite often) having a larger goal to focus on that studying can often give you the motivation to push through, buckle down and just do it.

Some examples of larger goals might be:

  • Keeping your grades up to take part in extra-curricular activities
  • Making the honor roll/ graduating with honors
  • Getting college scholarships
  • Getting into a good school
  • Future career goals

Sometimes, studying may be important to help you get things you want that have nothing to do with academics.

For instance, if your parents won’t let you get a driver’s license or buy you a car unless you maintain a certain GPA, then studying will help you get those things.

Focusing on the bigger picture goals you have that studying can help you achieve will help provide the motivation you need to study hard.

Presentation is Key

The ability to present a topic in an interesting and engaging way is a skill that will carry you well beyond the academic arena. Learning good presentation skills will not only help you succeed in business and in life but can also help you develop more self-confidence and even become a better teacher yourself.

Even if you have no aspirations towards teaching, you will most likely at the least train others at some point in your career. Teachers that have good presentation skills often have the most engaged students that end up taking the most from the class.

Who knows, developing good presentation skills may one day help you deliver a killer presentation that puts you on your boss’ radar as a rising star they want to keep their eye on.


Whether you want to create a study schedule, plan out your extra-curricular activities or develop long-term plans for the SAT studying, the organization is key to academic success.

Not only that, but the ability to organize and manage your time is also a critical skill that will carry you successfully through life.

This is a great time to develop organizational and time-management skills that work for you, such as keeping a calendar, setting reminders or creating to-do lists.

While your system may evolve with time as your needs and technology change, understanding how you work best is also a key to creating an organizational system that works for you.

If you tend to procrastinate, then breaking large projects down into smaller tasks with deadlines for completion may help. On the other hand, if you rush through tasks to have them completed well before the assigned deadline, you may find yourself overloaded and stressed.

For you, time management may be all about finding ways of slowing down and pacing yourself.

Methodical Note Taking

In a digital world, it’s easy to just record lectures instead of taking notes. But taking notes by hand may actually help you learn better. It is unlikely you will go back and listen to a half-hour or more lecture again, so recording it doesn’t do you any good.

The mere act of writing information down is helping “cement” it in your brain better. Since you can’t write down everything, what you write will most likely be the most important points.

Even if a teacher hands out or posts an outline, you may still want to consider taking notes by hand.

Those are the things you are later most likely going to want to study, anyway.


Learning how to work well with others is an important life skill, but it’s not the only benefit to working on a team. Sometimes, other students have developed learning tools and resources that can help you get ahead.

Whether it’s great mnemonic tool for learning the periodic table or a fabulous way of organizing their notes, working in a team can help you pick up a wide variety of tools and resources.

In addition, we all learn differently. You may struggle until you are paired with someone that learns the same way you do but has developed skills to adapt the material to their own learning style. Sometimes, your fellow students can help you learn better than a teacher can.

Good academic skills form the foundation for developing skills you will use throughout life. Taking notes in important meetings may be just as critical for one day getting ahead in business as learning how to give great presentations.

Needless to say, staying organized and learning to work well with others are two skills that will come in handy no matter what industry you work in or whatever else you want to tackle in life.