Want to do brilliantly in exams? Don’t stay up all night revising! Academic ‘grit’ seen as more predictive of success than IQ

Posted on July 24, 2015 · Posted in Blog, General, How to Study, Personal

It is traditionally seen as the sign of a dedicated student.

But according to a new study, staying up all night revising may not be the best way to ace this summer’s GCSEs and A-Levels.

Researchers said those with true academic ‘grit’ are actually less likely to deprive themselves of sleep and food than their less resilient peers.

Rather than giving the body a hard time, a better measure of determination is to see how well students manage their time and adapt their learning techniques.

The study, by the Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty, examined the characteristics and performance of 4,000 UK teenagers.

It found that exhibiting ‘grit’, which is more predictive of academic success than IQ, does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with pushing oneself at all costs.

This dispels the widely held notion that developing grit requires unhealthy behaviours such as sacrificing sleep or adopting poor eating habits.

In the research, ‘grit’ described a set of desirable qualities such as determination, courage and persistence.

The findings show that children who exhibit grit are also likely to look after themselves, and cultivate healthy emotional regulation skills, rather than behaving in ways that are bad for their health.

The study also found a link between grit and metacognition skills, which are higher order thinking skills involved in effective learning strategies, such as setting goals, monitoring progress and reflecting on one’s own learning.

Researchers said the evidence suggests grit can be developed in children through specific interventions in the classroom, and is not just an innate aspect of temperament.

The study also examined pupils who had a ‘growth mindset’ – one in which they believed they had the potential to improve rather than having fixed abilities.

These students were more likely to help others, possibly because they believed others could also improve.

The study also looked at pupils who had a ‘growth mindset’ – one in which they believed they had the potential to improve rather than having fixed abilities, who were also found more likely to help other succeed

The study also looked at pupils who had a ‘growth mindset’ – one in which they believed they had the potential to improve rather than having fixed abilities, who were also found more likely to help other succeed

The new study comes after education secretary Nicky Morgan announced schools across the country will be visited by rugby stars into the classroom as part of a drive to develop strong ‘character education’ in schools

The new study comes after education secretary Nicky Morgan announced schools across the country will be visited by rugby stars into the classroom as part of a drive to develop strong ‘character education’ in schools

The study, of children aged 11-18, was conducted during 2014 and 2015 with four UK independent and state schools in the Wellington College Teaching Schools Alliance.

Dr Christina Hinton, neuroscientist and faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said: ‘Our results suggest that grit does not require pushing yourself at all costs, but rather cultivating healthy emotional regulation skills and effective learning strategies.

‘In addition, the finding that students with a growth mindset are more likely to help their classmates is very exciting.’

Carl Hendrick, head of research at Wellington College, said: ‘We’ve become very good at measuring performance in terms of exam results but very bad at measuring more difficult things like learning, self-perception and mindsets.

‘This project is an attempt to measure the more unmeasured aspects of student progress.’

It comes after education secretary Nicky Morgan announced schools across the country will be visited by rugby stars into the classroom as part of the Government’s drive to develop strong ‘character education’ in schools.

More that £500,000 will be allocated to the project, which will see coaches from 14 professional rugby clubs drafted into schools to instill character and resilience in disruptive pupils.

The scheme is one of 14 projects set to receive funding from the Department for Education’s £3.5 million character grants scheme and will reach 17,000 pupils in schools across the country.

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