The first position is not a post reserved for some caliber of students or academicians. Rather, it is for those who work really hard and supercedes all others. I'm sure you will agree with me that the amount of your input ito your work doesn't 100% determine your result. This is why two people from the same reading group might not get the same scores even if they spent quality time reading together in the same place. Have you ever imagined why this often happens?
THE INDIVIDUALISTIC READING RATE
The rate at which student A reads and absorbs what he had read might be very different from the way student B reads ie student A might be able to absorb 5 pages of a text book in 1hr while student B might just be able to cover 2 pages in the same 1 hour. This isn't some kind of malfunction in the reading ability of Student B. It is called the Reading rate. The rate at which student A reads under normal circumstances and circumstances is faster than the rate at which student B reads.
THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE STUDENT
Another reason why the two students who studied together might not get the same score is the bridge in the seriousness of both of the students. One might have studied all through each and every line of the book trying to get all the points while one might have still read but without the extra reading again and all.
WRONG READING PATTERNS
Some people read wrongly. Reading from the conclusion of the book, then to the middle before beginning with the introduction, poses a wrong reading arrangement. There's a particular line of thought that the writer wants you to witness before the next paragraph, then the next, all before the conclusion. Reading wrongly doesn't make you get what the writer has in stock for you. Now relate it to a lesson not from your teacher or lecturer. You might miss out more points you would probably have needed a lots more.
LACK OF CONCERNTRATION
This can't be more emphasized. The student that doesn't concerntrate while reading would not be able to reproduce what was in the book when he or she is asked.
Many of these and more are reasons that cause one student to be better than the other. And trust me, you can be that better student. Sme of these issues might not affect you if you're able to manage your distractions and increase your reading. Follow the right rules that work for you and it will be all great. Cheers!