Google ‘how to perform better in exams’ and you will get hundreds of tips that look good on the screen but are really difficult to put into practice.
C’mon, how many actually have time for making elaborate flow charts or using flashcards? Talk about last-minute studying: you can’t spend it flipping through cards.
Which is why below is a list of super practical tips to amp up your exam prep. There is nothing fancy here; just plain, simple tricks that really work if you put them into practice. So whether you are appearing for a competitive exam like NEET, JEE, AIIMS, Olympiads etc., taking your boards, or taking a 30 marks’ unit test, get ready to ace it. You got this!
Here is where most students fail. This first, very crucial step is most often left undone. You won’t believe how much you can accomplish if you simply take the time to plan a little before starting your preparation for exams. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Given the date of the exam, how many topics have you studied?
- How confident are you about those topics?
- Which subjects are a piece of cake for you and which are really difficult?
- How many hours will you devote to studying each day?
- What activities will you give up on now that exams are here?
- How much will you accomplish each day for each subject?
- When will you start solving sample papers?
- What will you sleep schedule be?
Ideally, you should have the plan ready a month before the start of the exams, and then try to follow it as much as best as you can. Give up on social media apps and Netflix. Get a friend to help you with the difficult topics. Solve sample papers over the weekend and on alternate days as exams approach. Choose the right study material with a mix of printed books, recorded video lectures and e-Books to cover the syllabus.
Rest assured, though, you will stumble. You will stay up a bit late some days (and maybe not for studying), your mind will wander off, and you will not want to solve the sample paper. This is completely alright and normal. The important thing is to map a path for yourself and walk it while giving yourself grace, too.
Follow the Pomodoro technique
This world of smartphones and instant messaging has scrambled our brain cells. After studying very little (or next-to-none) during the entire semester, the thought of studying for 2-3 hours on end can seem equal to impossible. If you have the same feeling, follow the Pomodoro technique.
You first study for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Repeat this pattern for 2 more times. Study for 25 minutes again and then take a longer 15-20 minute break. Here is how the technique helps:
- You have an actual method for studying
- Your concentration stays sharp
- The short study segment allows you to achieve more
- 5 minutes break ensures that you get a refresher but don’t hang out on social media for too long either
Scan and strategize
Most students make the awful mistake of diving right into the question paper as soon as the teacher places it on the desk. This is a sure way to waste time and to lose marks.
When you get the question paper, go through it once and see which questions are asked and what the marks distribution is. This way you will be able to allocate appropriate time for each question and decide the order in which to solve questions. You see that you know all the 6 mark questions in the Maths paper and so you begin with them. You even get time to write the proofs for the 2 marks answers! You discover that Section-B in the English exam will take too much time and so you quickly go through the other questions and devote ample time to Section-B, getting it all done.
If you hadn’t decided how you would go about solving the paper, your knowledge and efforts might have been wasted. Due to improper time management, you would have lost out on marks which would easily have been yours. Don’t play lousy. Get those marks that you deserve and that you studied so hard for! And one of the best way to practice this is to solve as many online mock tests as you can. It helps you develop the right strategies for the exam day to manage your time well and score high.
Exams are no fearsome affair. Armed with the right plan, having studied the right way, and performing optimally during exam time will ensure that they are close to a smooth ride for you. Good luck!