Excel in Exams With These 7 Simple Steps

With the first exam of the year quickly approaching, I’m curious about how you girls are doing with your exam study goals and preparations.

Do you have a schedule that you religiously follow for revision?

Or have you been too busy with just the homework, assignments and social activities?

It would take a lot of determination and willpower to plant yourself down at the desk for 1–2 hours mugging books each day if you are not a book lover or excited about exams, but this is still achievable with a good start and maintaining it a habit.

If you are used to struggling with coping a week or two before exam days, trying hard to stuff months of lessons and contents of textbooks into your brain as much as you could burning midnight oil and multiple coffees, you’re not alone. But it is very tiring, isn’t it?

In the end, you probably end up with two outcomes; either you didn’t score as much as you worked for, or you pass and forget what you have been cramming over the last few weeks. With the time limitation, your focus and energy level drain faster than your brain’s usual performance. You over-stretch and over-stress yourself in that process, and like a release valve, you release all of what you have learned on the day your paper ends.

Make It A No-Brainer To Excel In Your Papers. Study Smart.

You’ll make better returns on your time, effort and energy invest when you take the time to listen, understand and be engaged (seek teacher’s help or ask questions) in class over a period of several months instead. And it takes only an hour of your day at most to revise what you have been taught for that day. (By the time exam comes, you would have seen, understood and recap the concept or questions at least thrice)

Here’s how to effectively plan your study time and apply to your advantage so you don’t have to cram during exam weeks no more.

  • Set study goals
    Identify what sort of goal you want to achieve for your exam. For some, it may be to secure a scholarship with greater results while for some, it may to have all pass for their subjects. In all honesty, do aim high because the amount of efforts and time you will spend will almost be the same.
  • Strategize your revisions effectively
    Find and apply the best way to revise effectively with methods that fit you (and not drain you), proper time planning (pick the time when you can focus best) and based on the duration that you can stay on the longest without getting distracted.
  • Other methods many include focusing on tackling the most difficult or biggest topic of that subject, or one that you struggle the most with. Once you are familiar with the unfamiliar, it becomes easier to grasp with you recap the next time.
  • Set unnegotiable (fixed) timetable
    Once you have set the time and duration that fit you (for instance, in the evening after dinner in your room with little distractions (silence the phone!) or going to library during the day when there are less crowds, or if you cannot withstand silence you may prefer other public open areas), make it a non-negotiable, non-adjustable schedule that you adhere to.
  • This is the time when you fixate your attention for that one hour or so to understanding what you didn’t in school so make the best of it.
  • Optimize your study area
    When you are doing your revision, ensure that you have your space organized and kept out of distractions.
  • Have a clean and organized study space.
  • Have your stationery and your writing materials in place.
  • Some focus better with silence while others may need some noise (you can try white noise)
  • If you prefer silence and privacy in your room, do make sure your family or housemates are aware of your revision time and that you are not disturbed.
  • Have a favourite spot so you spend less time searching for new locations and getting comfortable each time.
  • Practise concentration with lesser time initially with breaks at intervals
    If you are one who are easily bored and distracted, setting time breaks for yourself when you know your next break will let you focus more for that period. This will also prevent you from being drained by spending too much on the books if you are one who tend to forget about breaks.
  • For instance, you may choose to break up your hour long study schedule into two parts with 5 minutes break every 25 minutes.
  • Pomodoro is a great time app that can help in monitoring your time.
  • Have a study buddy 
    Studying together has its pros and cons. You get to have someone to guide and help you along if you face questions you cannot solve (and vice versa) and you have company at the same time. If you are studying in the library, you get to have someone to look after your belongings when you need to head out for a bit too.
  • One or two study buddies are fine, however there tend to be too many distractions, many and longer breaks if there are many of you, plus the noise and lack of focus from individuals. There are time lags as well if you are progressing well but spend more time guiding others though keeping study buddy to a minimum will help you and them greatly.
  • Habitualize study sessions
    Changing habits and making new habits are hard, especially when there are lesser positive driving force. However, that does not mean that it’s not possible.
  • Start slow and start small so that they stick longer. It may take a while to get used to it. If you face difficulty trying to stay on schedule, start with one or two sessions a week, and move on to more sessions a few more weeks.
  • The key is to start small and keep going.

There are various benefits and disadvantages to studying at home and outside.
At home, you get to enjoy the comfort (too much) and no travelling time. However, it may take time to get started and also to stay focused sitting at one place for extended period of time. You get distractions from all avenues like having to reach out for drinks and snacks, television, phone, siblings and parents at home, and especially your bed!

If you go head out to library or other public spaces, you find travelling time, having to secure a comfortable spot that you can stay long, someone to look after your belongings for you if you need to go to the loo, and getting settled some of the hurdles you have to cross before you actually start. However, you might find it easier to start and stay focused longer when you are into the noise zone which you can easily tune out.

Preparing for revisions 
On another note, if you are preparing for extended revision sessions, remember to

  • find out what you dislike and start working on them first.
  • drink enough water
  • have enough breaks so you don’t feel tired out easily. Walk around or take a breather.
  • but not take extended breaks too often
  • not forget your meals
  • avoid snacking too much

The above steps are simple steps and perhaps the normal routine you do when you are preparing for your exams, yet not always easy. Making it a routine will reduce burning midnight oils and extra strong coffees a great deal. Also, you’ll find it easier to retain what you have learned and face less stress during examination periods too.

Read more: Master This Skill Ahead Of Your Friends

Share if it helps. =)

Originally published at l3hub.org.

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