5 Ways to Be a Master Student


By Staff Writer Published on June 17, 2016

Being a master student is about far more than good note-taking, effective time management, and good grades. Mastery is often not awarded by others, but it does offer a sense of profound satisfaction and well-being. Mastery cannot be taught, only learned.

Below are a few characteristics of master students.

1. Inquisitive

Are you curious about everything? Do you ask questions that generate interest in a boring situation? Look for connections between your coursework and your life, or one subject and another. Ask all your questions, even if you think they’re stupid questions (chances are, someone else is wondering the same thing).

Faced with a new and challenging statement in class, a good student may write it down to think about later. An inquisitive student will ask the instructor to explain it, and keep asking questions until they understand.

2. Focused

Are you able to focus on the here and now? Mastery requires the ability to shut out unrelated information and give all your attention to whatever you’re learning, whether it’s physiology or how to build a better website. As multi-screen use increases, it’s harder and harder for many of us to pay attention to only the conversation we’re having or the book we’re reading. But it’s important.

To focus, put your phone on silent while you’re in class and studying. Stay off Facebook and out of email while you’re working on the computer. Write down unrelated thoughts that come up so you don’t get distracted in the moment.

3. Willing to Change

Are you willing to accept changes and roll with the punches? Master students know how to let go of what’s not working, adopt new ideas, and confront their emotions around change. If you truly want to do better in school, you’ll need to learn from your failures.

Think about the last time you didn’t do well at a task, whether it was an exam or a group project. What went wrong? How did you approach it, and how can you approach it differently next time?

4. Competent

Learning the skills backward and forward is important to the master student. When you learn, you’ll study until the material is second nature. You’ll take the time to practice until you know it cold. You’ll be able to teach your fellow students. You can apply what you have learned to other situations.

As a master student, you’ll test yourself on the material an extra time, do the extra credit, and help your peers when they need it. Remember, to teach, you have to first understand the subject, so tutoring is an excellent way to test your competence.

5. Insightful

What are your strengths and weaknesses? By being realistic about your skills, you’ll know where to focus extra effort and when you can relax a little. The learning process is all about bringing your A-game, but when you know what you excel at, and what’s a little harder, you’ll be a more effective student.

Say you always get As on tests, but you aren’t doing well with essays. Ask for writing help—you’ll only benefit by being honest with yourself about what you need to succeed.

Are you ready to become a master student? Check out all our online degree options to get started.