Describe what you believe are the key differences between the low-performing student and the exemplary student.


Describe what you believe are the key differences between the low-performing student and the exemplary student. What is the most important thing low-performing students can do to improve their performance?

Describe one of Paul and Elder’s ideas for improving one’s studies. Explain how you plan to implement this idea in your own studies.

Sample paper

Creative Thinking

Part one

Low-performing students and the exemplary students exhibit key differences. The first notable difference between the two groups is the study habit. Exemplary students often study on their own almost daily while low-performing students often lack the will to study on their own. Another difference is that exemplary students are self-motivated or have intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, low-achieving students have low self-motivation. This category mainly depends on extrinsic motivation. Low-performing students often use the wrong methods of studying such as rote learning and memorization. On the other hand, exemplary skills have mastered the best study methods such as active learning that encourages comprehension of the contents.

Exemplary students seek to understand the contents of a particular area of knowledge and apply the knowledge learnt to real life situations. On the other hand, low-performing students are less likely to relate content learned to real life situations or to practical thinking. Lastly, exemplary students value the advice given to them by their teachers or other role models who are distinguished in the society. On the other hand, low-performing students may have poor role models in the society. The most important thing that low-performing students can do to improve their performance is to develop a positive attitude towards learning or school. Low-performing students can improve their performance by gaining intrinsic motivation, which may push them towards aiming for a particular goal in life.

Part Two

Paul & Elder (2013) developed a number of ideas aimed at improving the study methods of students. One of their ideas relates to testing oneself through, either in writing or orally, the main ideas discussed in the previous lesson. A student should conduct the test before the next lesson. Learning is said to have taken place if one is able to summarize the main ideas taught in the previous lesson. This is different from rote learning where the student’s focus is mainly on memorization of content through repetition without regard to understanding the content. In summarizing the main ideas of the previous lesson, one is simply trying to gauge the level of understanding, rather than the memorization that occurred.

The idea of testing oneself can be important in improving my studies. Testing the level of understanding can enable one to concentrate more in class and seek to understand the content as opposed to rote learning. In implementing this idea in my studies, I plan to always summarize the main points of what I learnt in my previous lesson to gauge the level of my understanding. If I am unable to summarize the main points, then it would mean I did not understand the lesson and thus the need to revisit the topic. This will require me to read the topic again and try to draw meaning and comparisons.


Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your professional and   personal life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


Describe a time in your life where you outperformed your expectations in a class or under-performed in relation to your expectations

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