Goal setting methods suggested by our IB tutor

At HKExcel, we believe that setting goals is vital to a student’s academic success. Our IB tutor have a lot of tips on how students should set goals. In this blog post, we will share a section from our best selling publication Becoming an IB Miracle about how to set goals.

Setting goals is like choosing a destination you want to embark on.

Without goals, you wander around with no real purpose in life. Your goals

are what give you motivation to fight for the better. It gives you direction

to the right path. Based on our interviews, we have found a very specific

way of setting goals that differentiates great students from average


Make your goal as specific as it can be

We found that all top students always set a specific score as their goal,

while average students just want to “do better”. Average students feel okay

about a range of scores but top students, on the other hand, only desire one

specific score.

Setting a very specific goal helps you turn your goal from a “should” into a

“must”, which is the essence of determination. If you give yourself an

acceptable range, you will lose focus and you will likely perform below

your true potential because you will be happy with achieving the lowest

grade within the range when you can actually do better. More importantly,

a specific goal will give you a sense of certainty that a vague goal will not.

By knowing exactly what you want, you will have the determination to do

whatever it takes to head towards your destination. Remember, to take the

island you must burn the bridges. Don’t settle for an acceptable range, find

a score that will truly fulfill you and go after it as if it is the only possible


All top students we interviewed were able to achieve their specific goal or

came extremely close to it. Choosing an exact destination is their first step.

Have compelling reasons to follow through

Ask yourself honestly, why do you want top academic grades? The answer

to this question differs from person to person. What motivates you is

different from what motivates others. Finding a motive for your goal is

your job. But during our interviews, we can confirm for sure that you need

to have a compelling reason to give you the drive to push yourself over

your limits. Below are a few reasons that might work for you.

Common motivating factor 1: My grade determines my future!

Your high school grades directly determine what kind of university will

accept you. Of course, for many universities, your grades are not the only

determining factor but without meeting the minimum requirement, you

wouldn’t stand a chance! Furthermore, some occupations require a specific

major, and graduating from a top university will increase your chance of

being hired by large and prestigious firms.

One student we interviewed, Henry Wong, has always aspired to be a

doctor. Saving millions of children’s lives in developing countries was his

goal in life. What a big dream he has! Of course, the first step of living his

ultimate vision is to study medicine in a top university. The university he

aimed for required him to score 45/45 in the IB Diploma Program, which is

a score that only a few top 1% students could achieve. It is obviously very

difficult to score full marks in IB, and Henry knows that. Accomplishing

your dream is never easy, but for Henry, it means he has to do whatever it

takes to get 45/45. For students who do not have a dream like Henry’s, it is

hard for them to work that hard and aim for full marks. But Henry knows

exactly what the reasons are behind his sacrifices. In the end, 45/45 is

exactly what Henry accomplished.

Common motivating factor 2: My friends and relatives would know

that I am smart and competent

If you are a high school student, people often judge how smart and

competent you are by your academic performance. Getting good grades

comes with a certain social recognition. We found this to be an underlying