How to study and prepare for exams effectively
A student fails or gets less marks in exams because he does not know how to study and take exams. His study methods, exam taking tactics and strategies, making good and helpful notes, time management, concentration and confidence are the factors which help him succeed in the exams. If he fails or gets less marks in exams, he is weak in one or more of the above factors. Sometimes a student studies a lot but he gets less marks in exams because he may not be aware of test taking strategies which tells him how to express his learning in the best way in exams to impress the examiner. He should know how to give a good presentation on the answer sheet with the help of headings, sub-headings, quotations, diagram, charts, tables etc. and secure good marks/grades.
It is usually heard that a student is intelligent or dull. I say, “Every student is brilliant or no student is dull. If he knows all the factors for success in exams, he can definitely secure good marks/grades in the exams.
The first thing study demands from you, is your interest in it, your willingness or more exactly your thirst for learning. It is the desire or love of student for study which enables him to sit for hours and learn more and more. You should have the desire to learn. If you don’t have the desire or the thirst for learning, you study just to pass the exam, such study is of no use because you take it as a burden on you. With such study you can just pass the exam with low grades/marks or sometime you even fail. Aim of study is to get distinction in exams with high grades/marks, that is only possible if you have love or thirst for learning. Some students have this quality by birth. Others adopt it by practice.
Here are the following ways you can take up your studies and improve your result both qualitatively and quantitatively:
1. Your study room: Make sure that your study place is well-lit, properly ventilated, peaceful and neither too hot nor too cold. You should have all your study books and pens on table in your room so that you may not go frequently to fetch books. There should be a clock on the wall which shows you the time.
Never study in a bed or on comfortable sofa. If you lie on a bed or sofa, you are likely to fall asleep.
2. Best Time for Study: Study time varies for different students. It depends upon the routine activities of students. Some students like to study in night till morning. Some students prefer early in the morning or evening time. You should be able to study anytime. Select the best time according to your routine activities and follow a time table to utilize your time more productively.
3. Set the priorities: Set the priorities what should be done first and what should be done next, is very important for having full concentration in your work. Make a time-table for your subjects and follow it honestly.
4. Start preparation from the beginning of the session: Start your study and preparation from the beginning of the session, do not wait until the exam starts. If you are fully prepared for exam, you would have no fear during exam. So to avoid exam stress you should start your efforts from the first day of session.
5. Avoid selective study: Selective study is a risk-taking activity for a student. Sometimes, student thinks that some topics are more important than the others. He usually considers those questions important which were frequently repeated in the previous exams. He prepares those topics only, which he thinks are important and skip the others. Consequently, he gets low grades in exams because he is also asked those questions which he skipped thinking them not important. Remember, exam is given in entire course not in selected areas of your course. Every lesson and every topic is equally important. You should be fully prepared. It is the will of test-maker that he can select any part of the course for giving questions in examination.
6. Practise sample papers: Sample papers give you an idea about the format of the question paper. You come to know what types of questions are given in the paper. It is very important for you to know the format of the question paper as it rectifies the direction of your study for examination.
7. Have stress free mind: Throw off your mind all the irrelevant thoughts while you study. If you are obsessed by a certain idea, try to find a solution to your problem first. Otherwise it will be difficult to concentrate on your studies.
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8. Concentration: Irrelevant thoughts are likely to interrupt the process of your learning. If you are studying as well as thinking about a movie, you watched the last night, you can’t study properly. Similarly, if you are studying as well as using cell phone for texting to friends, you can’t study properly. When you study, think only about what you study.
9. Avoid multi-tasking: While you study, avoid playing with other things. Like you are studying as well as chatting to your friends on cell phone or making hair styles or keeping one eye on television and the other on your book. Similarly study only one subject at one time.
10. Take short breaks in long study: If you study for a long time, you get bored and can’t concentrate on your work. You should refresh your mind by taking short breaks during long study.
11. Take regular exercise
Brain takes its nutrients from blood for functioning properly. Physical exercise speeds up blood circulation to brain and brain gets well-nourished as well as brain gets rid of waste products. Physical exercise is necessary for enhancing power of concentration.
12. Try to get full sleep: Take at least six hour rest to relax and refresh your mind. A fresh mind can concentrate more easily.
13. Have good breakfast: Your breakfast should contain items with high protein content, carbohydrates and low sugar content. When you get up from sleep, have good diet though normally you should take light diet.
14. Don’t take too much tea or coffee: Tea or coffee has caffeine that gives you more strength for some time but soon leaves you sluggish.
15. Making study notes: Making good notes is an open secret of success for a student. It is a part of preparation for an examination. Good Notes ensure high grades/marks in the exam. Answer sheets of successful students show that 80% students attribute their success to good notes.
16. Asking questions: A successful student has the habit of asking questions in the class. If you don’t understand anything during teaching, note it down and ask the problem immediately after the teaching is over. Asking questions in your lesson and finding their answers eliminate ambiguity or uncertainty in your learning.
17. Learning from discussions: Discussion with others on what you learn makes your learning more effective. When you study a topic and you discuss it with your classmate or a friend, you learn more because you use your learning in terms of words. When ideas are exchanged on a topic, you come to know if there is some weakness in your learning and you try to improve.
18. Revision: Revision is an indispensable part of preparation for exam. Revision helps learning to mature. You complete your course and you learn well but it is not the end of it. You should revise it again and again. It’s a fact if you study a chapter well and don’t revise it, the learning you have in your mind from first study will vanish with the passage of time. If you don’t revise for a month, it is more likely you may forget it after a month or two. It needs to revise it again and again for keeping it in mind for a long time. Revision does not take much time because you have already learnt it but you revise to refresh your learning.
19. Relieving Exam Stress: It is natural that students get stressed in the days of exam. Exam stress varies for different students. Usually those students are less stressed who have made full preparation throughout the whole session and are confident of their success. While the students who are not well prepared for exams, he may be more stressed in the days of exam. This stress will not let you study in exams and affect your study adversely. You should know how to cope with exam stress. A little stress is good that keeps you motivated but don’t let the exam stress overcome you.
20. Be positive and optimistic: Always hope for success. Never think of failure during the days of exam. If you are thinking about failure during the exam, it means you are inviting stress to overcome you. Have positive thoughts and say to yourself that exam is very easy and I will do well in exam.
21. Don’t ask your friend about his preparation: Usually students call their friends to ask about their preparation during exam. It is not good because if you ask your friend and you come to know that he has revised and prepared more chapters than you, you start thinking, “oh I am lagging behind, I may not be able to complete the chapters before papers”. It increases your stress.
Similarly, if your friend is more stressed and you come to know about, his stress influences you as well. Think about the time you have utilized for study not about the time you have wasted. It will give you courage and stress will not overcome you. Start preparation for coming paper.
22. Take things lightly during exams: If thought of failure is disturbing too much, don’t lose temper and think “No one is going to shoot me if I fail in exam. Think I am trying my level best no matter if I fail. Think that many other students are also appearing in the exam, if the paper is difficult, it will be equally difficult for all, not for only me. Take things lightly during exams and start your study rather paying attention to things which increase your stress.
23. Have faith in God: Don’t disappoint and have faith in God. He will do well to you.