The heat is on.....quite literally, what with lakhs of students across the country battling it out to shine through the BOARDS, which by and large is an exam that defines and decides their career and life thereafter. It’s not just the standard 10th and 12th students, but most of the country’s students and their Parents are going through loads of anxiety what with the exam season on. Hence we thought it was only appropriate to publish a piece NOW on how to approach the coming few days.
Needless to say, that an exam requires PREPARATION at multiple levels. Here we give you some tips which should be helpful in the preparation of any challenging exam (Boards, School exams, College semesters’, Entrance, etc). The key preparation areas are:
1. SUBJECT MATTER
As always, we share with you the Dont’s first:
a) Mugging up lots of information without understanding can lead to confusions during the exam time. You may also fail to answer correctly if the questions are slightly convoluted or application based. Using only one sense (eye/silent reading) forms inferior memory.
b) Leave big/ difficult portions for exam time. This will only add to your anxiety at the last minute, because its a proven fact that the ability to think and understand come down during stress. Also, you will not have time to revise the portion that you were earlier confident of. You should have at least gone through the whole syllabus of all subjects 40-45 days prior to exams.
c) Deferring subjects/topics that are of lesser interest and giving too much time and attention to those of interest.
d) Focussing on one “Mega Revision”, instead of re-revising.
e) “Too many cooks spoiling the broth”: consulting too much reference/study material from various sources (other than text books) may leave you frustrated and anxious of not being able to cover et al. Also, the presentation, language, questions, etc may be different in each of them and may bewilder you at the last minute, thereby negatively affecting your “Preparation”.
Do’s: Study Smartly
a) “RE”: I strongly believe in the power of “Re” words for any exam preparation: READ, REVISE, RECALL, RE-REVISE. As said earlier, it is better to re-revise your portions rather than going through it once thoroughly.
b) Even if you have to memorise a few things like data or facts, make sure you understand them well enough, so it doesn’t lead to confusions during exam time. Also, try to create a mental image/picture (even if its funny) of something associated with the topic while memorising (more so in subjects like history, Biology, etc). This will help you recall at the required time.
c) While studying, MARK the KEYWORDS. Try to make points/ tables (for comparison) of long paragraphs and remember the gist. Make notes of key points while studying and go through them, along with all headings and sub-headings during your revisions, rather than going through the whole text.
d) Oral testing of oneself is a good way to gauge one’s progress and retention of the studied portions.
e) Solving Question Papers of previous years is a good exercise to get a hang of the kind of questions asked, mentally deciding the presentation of the paper and allocating appropriate time and efforts to the topics accordingly.
- Skip Meals: It is both common and extremely unhealthy to avoid meals or eat them at erratic times. However, it only adds to the stress indirectly as hunger changes form into irritability, fatigue & lack of concentration.
- Eat in front of TV or gobble down food very fast.
- Eat oily, fried and fat-laden foods and aerated drinks, for they will make you feel sluggish and lower the concentration.
- Eat junk/ outside food for obvious reasons like indigestion, food poisoning, etc
- Start surviving on Caffeine: Excessive consumption of tea/ coffee to keep awake for longer hours causes acidity and retards normal metabolism leading to feeling of sickness, fatigue and unhealthiness.
- Eat Right: Have small servings of 5-6 meals a day. Long gaps between meals can cause fluctuation in blood sugar and pressure, causing you to feel inattentive, fatigued and even sleepy.
- Keep ready-to-eat healthy snacks accessible: Quick and wholesome munch-ons esp fruits, milk-products, whole-grain snacks should be consumed.
- Drink plenty of fluids: consume around 8-10 glasses of water in a day.
- Eat 5-6 almonds for better memory
- Have foods rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (fish, nuts, walnuts, etc that are known to improve brain performance.
- Go for sleepless nights or do all nighters, even if you have an exam the following day.
- Sleep at erratic times of the day esp during the hours when you are meant to write your exam.
- DO NOT take any external medication to get sound sleep, unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.
- Take an uninterrupted 6-7 hours sleep if the quintessential 8 hours looks difficult.
- Take power naps of a few minutes, this will lighten your mind and freshen you up to study more.
- Maintain a fixed pattern of your study and sleep hours.
c) TIME YOURSELF
- WASTE TIME in things that distract you like TV, phones, social networking sites, friends
- Spend all the time you have in worrying about the “time left”. Make the most of what you have in hand.
- Depending upon how far your exams are, make plans, allotting different number of days to different subjects, depending upon the extent of portion, individual comfort level with the subject, etc
- Synchronise you study time with your body clock. Understand and use your best study time during the day
3. EMOTIONAL/ MENTAL QUOTIENT
- Bother about marks or outcome of exam while preparing.
- Talk to people who scare or criticize you or induce negativity in any way.
- Get bogged down by your friends’ coverage of the portion or compare yourself with others.
- Discuss or think about career and future plans while preparing or taking exams.
- When anxious, study easier topics or think about the portion you have already covered.
- Remember that your friends and fellow students are riding in the same boat – the time to prepare and the toughness of the question paper would be the same for all.
- Get over your fear and or negative thoughts by talking to your family or friends; listening music, watching TV or going for a walk, for a short while.
- Lastly, if your anxiousness is not getting addressed or may force you to take any drastic step, consult a Counsellor.
Armed with your preparation and some of these tips, we wish our warriors “All the Best” and hope they come out with flying colours.