In the formal school situation, students all perform in widely varying ways. Some students learn faster than others, some students develop academic skills at a younger age, some students have enhanced skills of memory, creativity, analytical thought as well as performing exceptionally well in all kinds of practical skills including the creative arts and sport. There is a real problem in meeting the needs of such diverse ranges of abilities. In many countries, steps have been taken to identify those seen as having exceptional abilities and then providing them with extra learning opportunities This study looks at some cognitive characteristics which were thought to be of particular importance in relation to high achievement. Information processing offers helpful insights into the processes of learning and these models are summarised critically.