5 East Asian Studying Secrets Which Can Change Your Life

“She’s Asian, so she’s supposed to be smart.” That’s a stereotype. It originates from the highly selective immigration policy in the USA, which started prioritizing highly skilled and educated applicants since 1965.

But when we take a look at assessment studies, such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) or TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), we’ll see that East Asian educational systems really rank better. That’s not a stereotype. Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan prove themselves as countries with strong and effective schooling systems.

What’s different?

how to motivate yourself to study

It’s mostly about the system, but let’s face it: the students are an important aspect of it. What is it with these over-achievers? Can we learn something from their practices? If you’re wondering how to motivate yourself to study, you’ll benefit from this list of practices that are typical for East Asian students.

5 East Asian Studying Secrets Which Can Change Your Life

  1. Understand the Purpose of Education

We’re talking about a life-changing method for school motivation here. It’s not just about studying. The students from these countries are not focused on excelling in a particular topic. They understand that education itself is priceless. The teaching methods may seem too disciplined and harsh for westerners. But behind that discipline, we see the subtle message of educational value.

These students see education as their passport towards social mobility. They understand the purpose of writing each essay, no matter how irrelevant the topic is. They see the point behind mastering each chapter, no matter how challenging it seems.

It’s all about moving forward. It’s about getting the most out what the educational system is offering you. You’re paying for college, and you’re attending the classes anyway. Why not benefit as much as possible from that?

When you approach education that way, you’ll be more motivated and committed.

  1. Embrace the Expectations

When East Asian families are observed in a foreign setting, it’s easy to see that the cultural background is an important factor behind the consistently superior results of these students. Parents from western cultures have more flexible expectations regarding academic results.

That’s a good thing. All students are faced with expectations from their professors, parents, and peers. But instead of being intimidated, successful students embrace these expectations as a motivating factor. They set goals for themselves, and they try hard to achieve them.

  1. Do More Than Expected

Speaking of expectations, these students always strive to exceed them. They are not just good performers; they are over-achievers.

You want some advice? When you’re asked to solve five math problems for homework, solve ten. When you’re expected to read a particular book by Hermann Hesse, read three or even more of his books.

Most important of all: when you’re studying, don’t limit yourself to the textbook. Textbooks can be outdated. If yours was published five years ago and you’re learning about gender roles, you should be aware that things have changed since there. You’re looking at statistics and other data that’s no longer relevant.

Always do your research, even if you’re not asked to. That’s the most effective secret on how to study in college effectively.

  1. Focus Is Essential

What does an average student do when they make an attempt for studying or writing a paper? They start, but lose attention somewhere along the way. They think: “Okay; I’ll just check what this Instagram notification is about, respond to that comment, and that’s it.” But they never stop there. They end up scrolling through their feeds, wasting at least half an hour to that activity. Then they decide to watch a YouTube video, which turns into a long session of watching videos and reading comments.

A highly focused student is different. When they start studying, that’s the only thing they do. They use YouTube just to put the best study music on, and that’s it. They spend hours over the textbook, with short breaks in between.

It’s all about discipline, and let’s make something clear: anyone has the power to develop it.

  1. Study, Repeat!

“Repetition is the mother of learning.” That’s a Latin proverb with a lot of wisdom in it.

Are you used to studying just by reading? You go through a chapter and you think that was enough? No. It wasn’t enough. No one likes to read something repetitively. But that’s the ultimate secret to mastering studying material.

When you repeat what you learned and you’re doing it multiple times, you’re sending information into your long-term memory capacity. That’s the only way.


East Asian students are successful mainly because they how to concentrate on studying. They don’t get distracted, and they are highly motivated to learn. You can learn from their methods, but you can learn even more from their attitude towards studying.