Hard work vs Natural intelligence ( good grades without trying)

<p>How is that people who don't study get good grades without trying? My friend who is in my Ap chem class never studies for anything until the day before. He could cram two whole chapters before the test with no previous reading and I will study for days and he will still get a grade better than me. He would do his math homework (calc 3) in english class while it takes me 2 hours (calc 3 is a killer). How many of you feel the same way I do or have any experience with this? How many of you guys get good grades without trying?</p>

<p>I'm a little skeptical of the concept of innate intelligence. It's pretty clear intelligence has genetic ties, but I think it's early environmental factors and stuff that really determine what we call natural intelligence. Your friend probably just developed excellent pattern recognition skills and good reading comprehension early and has some prior knowledge without guessing.</p>

<p>It's like the woman who moved from the country to New York and had her IQ increase by 25 points. (That number of points may be inaccurate, but it was a large number.)</p>

<p>I get good grades in History and the Sciences without trying, but math is another matter.</p>

<p>Honestly, it's just easier to make a pact with Satan. I don't have time to cram for every test, so I'd rather spend eternity in a lake of fire in exchange for preternatural test-taking abilities.</p>

<p>It's not Natural, I am the type who loves to procrastinate and cram and I still manage to receive good grades on the tests. This is actually something that I've developed over time, rather than something that I am born with. The key to intellectual success (of any kind), is the ability to discern patterns from problems that you've already dealt with, whether it be Chemistry or Calculus, and learn to apply them to new problems based on certain sets of similarities (again, through pattern recognition). Those who have developed dexterity in this area will typically be faster while learning new techniques in problem solving or while solving problems that are similar to ones that he/she have seen before.</p>

<p>Jahaba speaks the truth. Satan has gotten me through so much this year.</p>

<p>Some people are just better in certain subjects than others. For example, I never study for chemistry/biology/physics etc. or math yet am still at the top of my class. However, I have to study a lot for foreign languages and sometimes for world history. </p>

<p>I think that it has a lot to do with what kind of learner you are and how you approach learning. For instance, I am more of a visual and conceptual learner. This allows me to excel in classes that require the understanding of concepts. For example, I am good at computer science and conceptual based mathematics (algebra 2, pre-calc, etc.) but am a bit worse in analytical mathematics (geometry). </p>

<p>Then again, I know people who never study for spanish and beat me while I work had and still get worse grades. Thats just how life is :P</p>

<p>I have the same feeling of my own as I've heard other people can do freaking less SAT preparation, walk in, and score an automatic 2000. However, I, on the other hand, who is also thinks am pro at such a test, can't even reach that high with just one try. I hate those people who can take a test and score high the first time without trying.</p>

<p>^^Yea, failboat is definitely right. I usually do procrastinate to the night before and usually do the work off the top of my head in class. It's just pattern recognition and application of old techniques to new situations.</p>

<p>It is also helpful when you have so much other stuff to do that you can't spend time studying every day.</p>

<p>Depends on the subject. For math/science, it is definitely about the patterns. Most problems are pretty similar. I can speak for math; if you have very strong foundations and a strong understanding of everything you have previously learned, then everything new is simply just a another step. Or in some cases (competition math), it is the ability to recognize that this problem is just a differentiated form of another.</p>

<p>When it comes to history or something requiring memorization, some people just have great memories.</p>

<p>For something like the SAT, there is a strong correlation between how much you have read and your success, which is partially why the affluent to better. I know a girl who walked into the SAT having taken the PSATs and maybe a few practice test and scored a 2390. She simply knew everything that the SAT tested and had the insight/critical analysis required to deal with the trickier nature of the test.</p>

<p>I definitely think there's a level of natural intelligence involved (get into the bright vs. gifted issue), but it's probably not what people think. I go to a non-rigorous school, so I don't study - ever - but even when it came to AP exams not only did I not study, I didn't do anything in class (our tests are open note and I took way too much advantage of that). It's not that I'm naturally smarter to some insane degree, I just see patterns, correlations, instances, and so on and so forth that other people don't see. I also have really great test-taking skills, i.e., critical analysis, insight, using the test to my advantage. Do I KNOW any more of the material than someone who crammed the night before? Nope. Am I that much smarter than everyone else? No way. Do I play to my strengths? ABSOLUTELY.</p>

<p>We don't have to be politically correct. Abilities can obviously be developed over time, but the ease of that development is determined partly by genes, and the upper limit of ability is 100% determined by genes.</p>

<p>There are kids with athletic talents who can run a 4:40 mile the first time they step on a track, and kids who can just walk on to the football team at a Florida or Texas and become starters in a few months. Similarly, there are people with intellectual talents who can score 2300+ the first time they look at an SAT test, and people who sleepwalk their way in to MIT or Caltech based on absurd abilities.</p>

It's kind of irrelevant whether this "innate" intelligence is truly predicated on genetic factors or unconscious training in pattern-recognition. The point is: some people do well without studying, while others have to work very hard to do as well. The question I think we should all ask ourselves is the following:</p>

<p>If we were a college admissions officer, would we rather admit someone who was intelligent and did not have to try, or someone succeeded due to a strong work ethic and hard work? They both have the same grades and are taking the same classes in the same high school; the only difference is how they're getting those grades. One has a knack for critical thinking, pattern-recognition, and writing, while the other struggles with it on an intellectual level but has studies his heart out, learns concepts, and does just as well. Which student would you prefer?</p>

<p>^ It became relevant when the first reply called the concept of "innate intelligence" in to question. </p>

<p>As for your second paragraph, the thread didn't ask about college admissions, but I'll respond anyway. Top colleges look for natural students. If you read "A is for Admission" by a former Dartmouth admissions officer, she explicitly states that they try to differentiate the "grinds" who work hard but lack ability from the truly bright. They're looking for the students with the highest potential, not those who wanted to go to Dartmouth the most.</p>

<p>I don't study at all. In a class like Calculus (BC) or AP Physics, I just briefly learn the concepts and formulas (which takes no time at all) then use logic to apply them on the tests. However, in a class such as History, the tests are based on brute memorization of numerous facts- something that I struggle with as I do not study or pay too much attention in class.</p>

As for your second paragraph, the thread didn't ask about college admissions, but I'll respond anyway. Top colleges look for natural students. If you read "A is for Admission" by a former Dartmouth admissions officer, she explicitly states that they try to differentiate the "grinds" who work hard but lack ability from the truly bright. They're looking for the students with the highest potential, not those who wanted to go to Dartmouth the most.


<p>I couldn't agree more..I think the grinds should be a step below the truly bright.
Our sal is a grind..she stresses more than anyone I know and is a grade grubber
I'm lazy and i'm 3rd....and I do better on most tests than her(I just didn't do as many APs)
grinds drive me nuts</p>

<p>Like proletariat, I think it's often difficult to figure out to what extent natural ability is a factor. Your friend is highly likely to be naturally smart, yes, but he/she also may have gotten certain favorable aspects of education while growing up (such as pattern recognition). I'm not denying genetics, though. But it's probably more than that.</p>

<p>Like the guy who scores "2400" without studying once, yes, he's naturally gifted, but I'm pretty sure he's either been exposed to standardized tests before and done well on them, and/or has been reading/developing logical skills for a while that he's used to it. I got a 221 on PSAT (which isn't the best, but good enough IMO) without trying much, no studying and making careless errors like misbubbling; I just intuitively understood the logic of the test for the most part. I'm not sure when (since I can't remember the last time I've studied), but I probably developed some skills as I grew up. </p>

<p>Don't worry too much; I guess I'm one of those "really lazy but decently intelligent" people, but I'm definitely not as doing well as the people with both hard work and talent. My grades aren't very good (by CC standards), and I'm slowly realizing the importance of effort as I'm progressing. Most likely (esp. later years in life), you probably need both, and many I know have stated that effort becomes more important as you move on. Obviously there are exceptions.</p>

<p>I rarely study. I just read what needs to be read then try my best when I have too and get good grades. A good memory definitely helps. And I guess it also depends on what classes you're good at.
I've met quite a few people who doesn't study but get great grades. I also know someone who constantly studies whenever she can but doesn't get the grades that she want.</p>

<p>And there's people out there who devote 125% of their effort and become at the borderline of making into most of the top schools.</p>

<p>It's sad.. all the hard work you tried to pay off becomes effortless. =/
(Not generally speaking that I'm one of them, but it's disappointing to such people like that).</p>

<p>I feel special everytime I hear this.
I just hope I'm not one of them.</p>

<p>Here's a quick chart on the bright vs. the gifted:</p>

<p>Bright</a> vs Gifted</p>

<p>Those who are bright and those who are gifted can achieve the same goals (and I'm not being politically correct here, it's just true), but it usually happens differently. I just absorb information, whereas others have to study it. I wouldn't say I'm lazy but intelligent, just unmotivated but intelligent. So, I get the same grades as my hard-working peers, but I tend to test well and do poorly on assignments. Eventually, I believe that my hard-working peers will surpass me because I have absolutely no study skills (having never studied for anything in my life, with the exception of the SAT) and will eventually fall behind. But hopefully I'll catch it in time to prevent disaster (i.e., the first quarter). That's one of the reasons I sought an academically-challenging institution.</p>