Rendering students resilient and intellectually rigorous is a primary objective of education in Malaysia. The Education Ministry has emphasised the enhancement of problem-solving and critical thinking skills, but reported that the skills performance of students in secondary schools and higher education is below the targeted proficiency level. According to the Ministry, the educational institutions are responsible for the lack of optimal performance. However, the unsatisfactory result might also be ascribed to the students' overall experience of adversity. Some students, against all odds, are academically resilient. How Malaysian secondary and higher-education students construct, develop and demonstrate academic resilience has yet to be investigated. This review of related literature is, therefore, aimed at explaining how the academic resilience approach relates to cognitive task performance of the students. Further investigations can provide guidelines to help students who are not academically resilient. This would facilitate achievement of the objective.