What are the secrets of toppers?

Scoring top ranks in exams is the dream of many students. Toppers are often seen as super-achievers who are naturally gifted. However, the truth behind a topper’s success is more than just about intelligence. Toppers have certain habits and follow proven strategies to help them excel in studies. Understanding these secrets can help other students also perform better in exams.

Developing a strategic plan

The first key habit of toppers is that they strategize and plan their studies well in advance. Toppers analyze the syllabus, note down important topics, and make a timetable. This helps them not waste time on less significant content. It also allows them to allocate more time for complex or skill-based topics. Systematic planning ensures optimized use of time and resources.

Toppers set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) targets. For instance, a topper may set targets like “I will finish these 3 chapters in 10 days” or “I will solve the last 5 years’ question papers in 15 days.” Having a study plan with clear goals helps toppers stay focused and motivated.

Studying with concentration

Toppers understand the importance of focused studying. They try to minimize distractions like social media, TV, music etc. when studying. Toppers know their peak concentration hours and maximize productivity during that time. For instance, early morning studies may work best for some toppers.

To improve focus, toppers take short but regular breaks in between long study sessions. The breaks refresh their mind and improve retention. Some toppers use techniques like speed reading or the pomodoro technique to boost their attention span. Eliminating distractions and promoting focused learning is a key habit of toppers.

Understanding concepts thoroughly

Many students make the mistake of mechanically memorizing facts without understanding concepts. On the other hand, toppers focus on comprehending the reasoning and fundamentals behind each topic. This foundation helps them apply concepts better in different contexts like exams.

Toppers read their textbooks thoroughly and note down important points. They research concepts online, discuss them with peers and teachers to clarify doubts. Toppers summarize concepts in their own words, draw diagrams and teach friends to check their understanding. Their rigorous and multi-pronged approach helps cement concepts in their minds.

Practicing effectively

Toppers learn not just from books but also from extensive practice. Solving problems and previous years’ papers helps toppers master the application of concepts. It makes them comfortable in dealing with different types of questions and improves speed and accuracy.

Toppers also take mock tests which are critical for exam preparation. Mocks help assess one’s true preparation level, identify weak and strong areas and improve time management skills. Keeping track of performance in mocks also builds confidence and reduces test anxiety before the final exam. Toppers leverage practice to convert theoretical knowledge into exam-winning abilities.

Learning time management

Time management is an indispensable skill required for exam success. Toppers prepare a daily schedule and stick to it diligently. This includes allocating time for self-study, tuitions, revision, breaks etc. Making timetables and checklists ensures optimal use of 24 hours in a day.

During exams, time management becomes even more critical. Toppers precisely plan how much time to allocate for reading questions, thinking, writing answers etc. They also attempt questions strategically in order of difficulty level. With good time management, toppers usually utilize the entire exam duration productively.

Maintaining good health

Exams are demanding not just intellectually but also physically. Hence, toppers pay attention to fitness along with studies. Getting enough sound sleep of 6-8 hours rejuvenates the mind and enhances focus. Eating healthy home food maintains energy levels during the exam period.

Toppers also make it a point to exercise for 30-45 min daily. It could be yoga, walking, cycling etc. Regular exercise reduces stress and keeps them alert. Some toppers also practice meditation to improve concentration. Taking care of health is essential for toppers to perform at their peak potential.

Avoiding social media

Social media addiction is a major obstacle in exam preparation. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok can waste precious hours every day.

Toppers exercise restraint in using social media during exams. They either delete these apps from their phones or allot very limited time like 30 min per day. This helps prevent distraction and save time for studying. Staying away from excessive social media is key to succeed like a topper.

Seeking guidance from teachers

Despite being studious and hardworking, toppers are not shy about seeking guidance from teachers. They clear their academic doubts by asking questions in class without hesitation. Toppers also approach teachers privately for help whenever required.

Teachers provide critical inputs regarding effective study methods, exam strategy, time management etc. Their years of experience and specialized knowledge helps shortcut the learning process. Leveraging teachers’ expertise gives toppers an added advantage.

Collaborative learning

Self-study forms the bulk of a topper’s learning process. However, toppers also learn a great deal from peers. They actively participate in group studies and discussions to gain diverse insights. Teaching friends also reinforces their own understanding.

To foster team spirit, toppers form study groups with serious and motivated students. Group study improves knowledge sharing and keeps them motivated. Healthy competition within groups inspires toppers to perform better. Collaborative learning thus complements their self-study efforts.

Smart exam writing skills

Scoring well is not just about knowing concepts but also about exam writing skills. Toppers learn effective strategies to write fast and accurate answers. For instance, underlining key points in questions, framing answers with proper structure and sequence etc.

Toppers also focus on presentation – writing legibly, highlighting/bulleting important points, diagrams etc. Neat and organized answers fetch more marks even with partial content. Furthermore, toppers master time management during exams by prioritizing more scoring questions.

Learning from mistakes

Failing and making mistakes is part and parcel of one’s academic journey. However, what sets toppers apart is learning quickly from their mistakes. Toppers carefully analyze where they went wrong – concepts, exam technique or time management.

They work systematically to improve in these areas by putting in more practice. Toppers have the humility to learn from failures and the motivation to bounce back. This self-analysis helps toppers steadily raise the bar on their performance.

Staying positive

Preparing for competitive exams can be stressful both physically and mentally. Hence, it is critical for toppers to maintain a positive attitude despite struggles. Having faith in one’s efforts goes a long way.

Toppers avoid negative emotions like fear or panic during exam time. They also take failures in their stride as learning experiences. Scoring well is simply a byproduct of their optimism and passion for learning. This mental resilience provides an edge to toppers.

Managing family expectations

Students often deal with high expectations from parents, relatives and neighbors. The pressure to fulfill these can affect exam performance. Hence, it is important for toppers to have open channels of communication at home.

Toppers have honest discussions with family, explain their goals and convey the need for space. Getting family onboard and managing expectations reduces external pressure. This gives toppers the right environment to perform without stress.

Believing in oneself

Despite ticking all other boxes, some students lack self-belief. This affects their motivation levels during preparation and performance during exams. On the other hand, toppers build strong self-confidence right from the start.

Toppers stay motivated by concentrating on their own progress rather than comparing with others. They recognise their talents and play to their strengths. Regardless of circumstances, toppers have an unshakeable faith in their abilities. This self-belief is the foundation of their success.

Dealing with exam stress

Exams create immense stress even for the best students. Toppers are adept at managing this stress productively.

They identify early symptoms of stress like lack of sleep, fatigue or irritability. Toppers use techniques like meditation, deep breathing and listening to music to calm the mind. They also make sure to get regular breaks and connect with friends to ease stress.

Consistent hard work

Last but not the least, toppers consistently put in hard work throughout the year. Their success is a result of daily discipline rather than just pre-exam nights. Toppers realize there are no shortcuts to scoring well.

Hence, they consistently wake up early, follow a tight schedule and toil for 8-10 hours daily. This persistence and determination eventually helps them prevail over the competition. Consistent hard work over a sustained period is the hallmark of every topper.


In summary, there are several habits and practices that distinguish toppers from average students. Developing a strategic study plan, learning concepts thoroughly, practicing regularly, managing time efficiently and maintaining good health are some essentials.

Toppers also leverage guidance from teachers, learn from peers, analyze mistakes and stay positive. Managing family expectations, believing in oneself and dealing productively with stress are also key. However, at the foundation, it requires tremendous passion, discipline and persistence.

While some students are gifted, toppers are made. With the right strategies and attitude, many more students can achieve academic excellence.

Leave a Comment