How to study for an Exam.

How to study for an exam

In the life of a student, there are few words that can strike more terror than the word ‘Exam’.

What is it about a test or an exam that induces nightmares in the mind of most students? Why do students dread the E word? What is so horrifying about exams that some students actual suffer from actual physical ailments at the very mention of the word?

While the reasons for the fear may be many, it is not that tough to be well prepared for any exam – be it regular unit tests or national level entrance exams.

1. Know the exam

The first step towards preparation is always knowing the exam. It is important to know the syllabus that is expected to be covered in the exam. How long will the exam take? How many marks is this exam worth? What type of questions will be asked in the paper? Is it multiple choice questions based paper or does it include subjective questions? What is the marking scheme of the paper? Does it have negative marking for wrongly answered questions? Is there any penalty for leaving a question? These are some of the questions that must be answered before hand.

2. Know the resources

Once the syllabus is known, it is also important to know the amount of time one has in hand for preparation. Knowing both the amount of work to be done and the amount of time available is very important to help in scheduling the study plan.

Break down the syllabus into micro level topics. For each topic, identify your competence level for the same. Is the topic easy and not requiring any revision? Are you comfortable with the topic and just need to practice a little? Are you totally unfamiliar with the topic and need to master the fundamentals?

3. Prepare a sensible schedule

Once this micro level analysis is complete, you can start preparing a daily schedule.

The common mistake that most students make while preparing a time table is that they do not allocate time properly. While it is tempting to allot slots of 2-3 hours at a stretch, it may not be advisable. Divide the available time into slots of 30 minutes. It is okay to take a break of a couple of minutes between two slots. It is easy to study in smaller chunks of time with a few minutes of break in between. While the written time table should be followed as closely as possible, sometimes, if it gets violated, one must not get upset. Rather, one should simply try to make up for it.

Be realistic in setting the time table. Don’t go overboard and schedule every single waking hour to studies. Do not forget to set aside time for daily chores. Do not forget to allot some time for entertainment and relaxing as well!

Don’t stretch the time table till the last moment. Ideally speaking, the syllabus should get over well in time to have some spare time for revision(s). 

In Conclusion

Remember – cracking any exam is not just about mugging the subjects. It’s about strategically preparing for the same. A smart student would go about in a systematic manner with his/her preparations. Having the right mental attitude is important. Don’t start studying with negative thoughts such as ‘This is tough’,’I can’t do it’, ‘This is impossible’… If you believe you can, then you can.

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