Worried about upcoming exams? Keep calm and read on!
Very often, exams invoke the same fear in students akin to deer in front of headlights. As an experienced educator and an anxious parent, I’ve gone through many years of “exam tension” and witnessed a range of emotions involved with it. Yet, instead of me sharing tips, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from an ex-student, who was a topper, to share a few study techniques and tips.
Here is a step-by-step guide to acing any kind of examination:
Plan it out: Like everything else in life, create a plan and stick to it. Some of us may thrive on last minute “cramming” but it isn’t the best approach for an exam. First, note how many days you have before the exams commence and then create a study timetable, taking into account the number of hours needed to prepare for each subject.
Setting short term goals works best, so start by creating a weekly timetable. Remember, create a timetable that is customised for you and ensure you follow it.
Set your preferences: You will easily do what you like but struggle with what you don’t. Sadly, this is reality. Maybe you love organic chemistry and dislike physics or you love maths and dislike history. The truth is, there will be some favourite subjects and others that are not.
The ones that we like we don’t need much time to study for but the others can take very long to learn and understand. Make sure your timetable has a balance of both these subjects. Try and balance a preferred subject along with a less preferred one so that your interest and energy levels do not fizzle out.
The environment matters!: Though it is imperative that you must protect the environment, the term used here points in a slightly different direction. Here, the environment refers to your study environment and the area where you will be spending most of your time preparing for your exams. The study area must be welcoming without any clutter. Clutter affects our concentration and hinders productivity. Make sure to organise your work area well.
Your study room must be well lit – with natural light during the day and bright lights for studying after dark. A comfortable chair is imperative as you will spend a lot of time sitting. Bad posture may lead to fatigue or, even, worse, severe injury. We must not have things around us that are likely to distract us. Keep the electronic gadgets away during the study time! Remember, focus is your primary weapon in this marathon of the mind!
Take a break!: Any successful person will agree that what you do when you’re not working is as important as what you do when you are! Remember, take regular breaks while studying and get enough sleep. A good thumb rule is to take a break of seven minutes for every hour of study. Research confirms that taking a break at regular intervals helps in long-term retention of knowledge. Also, get at least 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure you’re fresh and healthy each day.
When in doubt, hydrate: You can’t win a race if your tank is empty. So, drink plenty of water. Being hydrated helps the body and brain to work best. Apart from water, have citrus juice (lime or orange), buttermilk and coconut water. Regular, healthy meals are also necessary. Healthy food helps maintain high energy levels and focus. Stay away from aerated drinks and junk food.
Be wise, revise: The two greatest common factors in all successful exam results are – revision and practice. Planning beforehand allows plenty of time for revision. Revision is essential as it ensures that information is reinforced and confidence is built up. Let’s face it, no one is going to be able to remember everything but your chances of remembering information increases multifold when you revise your entire portion at least twice. It is also a good practice to make notes using mind maps, graphs, charts or diagrams. These are very useful during revision.
Next, is practice. Every exam is a race between accuracy and time. Practice ensures a perfect balance between the two. It is not only important to revise but also important to practice taking an exam in a mock setting. Practice past exam papers and adhere to the time while attempting these papers. Reviewing the papers after practice is a great activity that will help you improve. Remember, learn from your mistakes else revising and practice will bear no fruit.
The friends that study together, win together: Forming a like-minded study group is a great idea. The key word here is like-minded as it shouldn’t end up as an excuse to have fun and enjoy. Each of us have an area of expertise, so we can help our friends with topics we are good at and learn from them on others.
Along with the ideas and techniques mentioned above, it is important for us to stay calm, confident and positive. Your attitude and approach matter most when preparing and giving an exam. Follow the steps above diligently and be rest assured that you will ace the exams!!
Apart from being an educator, I’m also passionate about reforming the education system. So, I apply my skills and expertise to creating products of great value for all kinds of learners. My role as academic advisor at Luma has helped me develop creative games that are perfect for acquiring a wide range of skills yet well aligned to all educational boards and syllabi. Check out all of Luma World’s products here.