Want to be a competition champion? Practice these 10 skills to up your game!

Posted September 28, 2020 by Jessica Fahrenholtz

Academic competitions are an excellent way for students to learn the crucial life skills missing from the school curriculum. Skills like teamwork, collaboration, and risk management are at the forefront of academic competitions. With the life skills taught and the scholarship money awarded, it is no surprise that academic competitions have become a popular enrichment activity among teachers and students.

Here are ten skills students can master now to help them succeed in their next academic competition and in life.

Get Organized

Organization plays a huge role in being a top contender of an academic competition. From organizing your research to creating a cohesive theme for your finished project, organization skills are key. You will also find that having the ability to stay organized will help you focus on the task at hand and use your time wisely.

Stop Multitasking

With so many projects to complete, you may be tempted to multitask. This, however, is a recipe for disaster. We may think we are conducting multiple tasks, but studies have shown that when multitasking, our brains are switching between smaller tasks rapidly. This can decrease your performance and speed on both tasks in the long run. Learning how to focus on one task will help you perform better and complete work faster.

Build Good Study Habits 

Understanding how you learn will help you retain more of what you study and get the most out of your time. Most people can only focus on a task for 30 minutes to one hour without taking a short break. It may be tempting to pull a 3-hour cram session but giving yourself smaller chunks of focused time and then breaking for a few minutes will improve your retention.

Figuring out what medium you best learn from will also increase your study abilities. If you are an auditory learner, try listening to the audiobook version of your textbook. If you are a hands-on learner, try creating a project or a mind map. With technology today, there are many ways to find the option that best suits your needs.

Communication Skills

Communicating with teammates and adult professionals is a huge part of academic competitions—practice speaking with confidence and listening to understand rather than to respond. Excellent communication skills will allow you to make a great impression on the industry leaders you may work with someday, but it will also allow you to collaborate with and lead your team.

Set Goals

Learning how to set SMART goals is a big part of any success. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed. Applying this strategy to your daily life will motivate you to keep going and give you the data to restructure when needed.

Analyze and Take Risks With The Actuarial Process

Learning how to assess the risks involved with daily life will make you a natural when it comes to academic competitions. You inevitably make decisions like taking your phone to the beach or not, daily. Having tools like the Actuarial process to help you make those decisions will help you act and lead in an educated manner.

Find a Mentor

Find someone in your dream role that can be your mentor. Having a person you can interact with is best, but even just reading the material of a leading industry professional can help you make smart decisions and achieve your goals.

Learn How to Set Boundaries

Learning how and when to say no and not take on too much is a life skill, many adults still struggle to implement. Managing your time and knowing what you can realistically take on will help you scale your projects for academic competitions and complete a finished project you are proud to present.

Divide Up Your Work

Learning how to divide up your workload and delegate tasks to others will allow you to focus on what you excel at and put your best foot forward. It can be hard to trust others to do their part, but learning this skill early on will help you win at academic competitions and at life.


Academic competitions are a terrific way for students to gain valuable real-life skills and experiences while also earning college scholarships. Learning these ten skills will help students to excel in whatever academic competition they decide to participate in and set a strong foundation for success in life.

Head to our competitions page to see what academic competitions are coming up. Set up your account to follow competitions that excite you and stay up-to-date on all the news with academic competitions.

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