5 Traits of Highly Successful English Students

5 Traits of Highly Successful English Students

When you think about doing well in our different school subjects, it is important to keep in mind the different skills and habits that will make you particularly successful in the classroom. This week, we kick off our Successful Student series, in which MEK Review teachers will tell you what traits and habits will lead you to success in the English, Science, Math, and History classrooms.

Michelle Sinno starts us off by telling us what it means to be a highly successful English student. Michelle is the Chief Mentor of Teachers at MEK Review, and has been a public school teacher for over 20 years. She was awarded the West New York Teacher of the Year Award in 2020.

Michelle also writes a weekly posting based on her observations of general education and her experience, which you can find on our Facebook page.

5 Traits of Highly Successful English Students


In addition to outside obstacles, we are often bogged down by bad habits including procrastination, stress, and poor time management. But in the presence of additional obstacles, most relevantly the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning, the implications of these bad habits multiply in magnitude.

To combat these bad habits, highly efficient, successful readers and writers use the following strategies to attain their goals.

Make Connections

Whether you are reading fiction or nonfiction, activate your own schema: your prior knowledge of the event or perhaps a character’s dilemma. Making connections brings you into the experience and allows you to more readily remember what you read.

Making connections will also allow you to enjoy what you read and help you identify what you do or do not understand.

Ask Questions

Always read with a pencil, highlighter, and sticky notes on hand.  Annotate as you read and pick out what you understand as the most important aspects of what you are reading. Constantly ask yourself, “Why?” and read further to answer your own questions.

As you read and ask questions, you will be forced to “dig” deeper into a text to uncover deeper, below the surface meaning.

Make Inferences

Read between the lines. Look beyond the printed words to determine the author’s meaning. Keep in mind that there is almost always a deeper meaning that you need to identify.

Write down what you infer, and don’t be afraid to bring it up to your peers during class! By communicating your understanding, you can determine whether your conclusions are correct and start a conversation that will help you understand literature in different ways.

Find the Gist

After reading, synthesize what you read. Reflect on the author’s message and purpose. Ask yourself why this work is important. Ask how you can use the information, and what did you learn.

Test yourself by summarizing the reading in a brief paragraph and pick out the important points. Write down the main message.

By training yourself in this way, you are not only setting yourself up for classroom success, but also success on standardized tests, as you will be training yourself to be a critical reader.

Time Management and Planning

Set goals and stick to morning, daytime, and evening routines. Decide which tasks take priority over other work. This strategy can be applied to any content area and is one of the key skills to achieve academic success across all of your classes. Avoid the temptation to procrastinate or go onto social media. Aimlessly wandering the Internet is a guaranteed way to stray from your plan and lose your concept of time.

But also, don’t let yourself spend endless time on a singular task. While putting in your full effort is definitely important, setting priorities and knowing where to end is much more important. Set deadlines for yourself, even if it means that they are by the hour.

This habit is not specific to English! Good time management and planning will make you a successful student in all subjects.

Next Steps

Remember, the first step to classroom success is breaking bad habits and making new ones. The more bad habits you allow yourself to have, the more susceptible you are to periods of slump and stagnant learning. Don’t let yourself fall into these traps!

Feeling lost, or just want a little individualized guidance? Our expert academic counselors are ready to help you find your direction. Contact us today to speak with our counselors and start your path to academic success!

Our School Support Tutoring Program is also specially designed to not only build concept mastery, but also ensure that students build the mindset that they need for high achievement in the classroom. Fill out the following inquiry form if you would like to learn more about our Tutoring Programs and how to get started.

My colleagues and I are looking forward to working with you!

Michelle Sinno

Michelle is the Chief Mentor of Teachers at MEK Review. She initiated our Writing Lab and College Essay program and serves as a mentor for our teachers. For over 10 years, Michelle has led countless students to success in the College Test Prep and H.S. Test Prep programs. She helped create many of the standards for our English programs and still oversees and reinforces those programs today.


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