According to boffins, skills in "emotional intelligence" can make a difference of an entire grade, i.e. from B to A.
The study's scientists reckon that the reason behind the findings could be that emotional intelligence allows pupils to manage stress more easily and also to understand the long term consequences of doing well at school.
"This finding is particularly exciting because we know that there are things that we can do to improve emotional intelligence in children, such as encouraging them to talk about their feelings and to recognize emotions in others," the Telegraph quoted Dr Pamela Qualter, from the University of Central Lancashire, who carried out the study, as saying.
"What we found was that in girls having a high level of emotional intelligence made the difference between an entire grade, pushing them up for example from a B to an A.
"For boys the same seemed to be happening in most cases, although the results were slightly less clear cut, which could be to do with differing maturity levels of boys at that age," she added.
To reach the conclusion, the researchers tested 628 Year 7 students on their emotional intelligence, including their ability to identify and manage their own emotions and those of others, and their IQ levels.
The results were then compared to the student's results in English Language, English Literature, Math and Science results in their SAT exams two years later and in their GCSE exams.
"Detailed analysis of the results suggests that emotional intelligence may moderate the effects of IQ on academic achievement," Dr Qualter added.
"Faced with failure, a student low on IQ but who is emotionally intelligent will be able to manage their emotions surrounding failure, reconcile poor performance and work to improve, a student low on IQ and low emotional intelligence may find failure more difficult to deal with, which undermines their academic motivation," the expert added.