Studying for an Exam

No amount Planning and preparation can guarantee success unless you tenaciously execute the plan to its fullness. Read further for a few tips to make best use of your study time.

Realistic plan: Make an outline to structure your study plan. You will need to make a realistic study plan based on what test you are taking, and the amount of time. Sit down with your study materials, and make an outline of the big topics/areas you need to study for the test. Students could cut their study time by at least 30% by using a well-planned study schedule or time table.

Make a List of Books & Notes: Once you have a sense of the syllabus, make a list of the books or study material you would be requiring for the exam. Start with the most important material and work toward the less important material to make sure the important content gets covered before the test. Prepare notes – Whatever you study, try maintaining a notebook for it. Go through this notebook at the time of revision.

Topic & Subject Selection: You can start with the most difficult or boring subject when you are fully alert and pick up an easier or most interesting one when you are feeling down. Do not schedule similar subjects one after another: It has been found that it is better put contrasting subjects one after another rather than clubbing similar subjects together.

Fundamentals First: Be thorough with the fundamentals and adopt the right strategy: Without getting the fundamentals right, it is difficult to proceed with the later concepts of the subject. Therefore, work very hard if you are not very good at the basics. No matter how hard it is or how much time it take, it is worth the effort! The rest of the journey becomes easy once you accomplish this!

Focus on Strength: Focus on your strengths: Try the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Through this technique, you will know where your strengths lie and where exactly you go wrong. Work hard to overcome your weaknesses. Analyze as to how you can minimize them. Polish your strengths and try to perfect them.

Quantitative aptitude: Try practicing questions daily. Go through the concepts first and then solve problems. Make a note of important formulas, theories and corollaries. You should be thorough with tables, square roots and cube roots to do calculations quickly.

Mind Maps: Create Mental Associations: The ability to make connections is not only an easier way to remember information, but it’s the fuel of creativity and intelligence. Mind Maps are an easy way to connect ideas by creating a visual overview of different connections.

Get familiar with the pattern: Get yourself acquainted with the pattern of the exams you may be taking up at This will help you solve the paper better and be more confident in your approach. Attend mock tests and see how you fare in them. Take them seriously and improve upon your performance each time.

Revision: Daily revision – When you get up in the morning just take your notes from previous day and revise them within a short period of 20-30 minutes. Try to remember the problems you had solved on your previous day, the formulas you had memorized, any mistakes you did and any other notes you might have. You should also revise whatever you have studied in a day just before you go to sleep. Weekly revision – This will require a little more time than your daily revision. Ideally you should keep a day in the week to only revise whatever you have studied and use the remaining time to relax. Go through all your notes, formulas, and mistakes types of problems you have studied over the week and see if you need to put more efforts in a particular topic. You should also use this opportunity to judge if you are progressing at a good speed and will be able to cover the topics on time."

Regular studies everyday: Since we have no external time table or anyone to monitor us, we need to have our own time schedules to study. The best times is like in the early mornings before college or office hours and again in the evenings if possible. Regular touch with books and syllabus is essential till appearing for exam. But do not neglect health, diet and proper rest.

Shorter study sessions & Regular breaks: Shorter study sessions work better than marathon sessions: Psychologists have found out that students learn as much in one-hour sessions spread over four days as they learn in one six- hour marathon session. Regular breaks - Develop a study routine that works for you. There is no point in in over burdening yourself. Regular breaks will help you to relax and rejuvenate. A minimum of six hours of sleep is very important. Also do ensure that your body gets sufficient exercise.

Practice, Practice, Practice… The ability to read and understand the questions faster is habituated by these tests. So attend more and more TrickyScore tests…

Power Reading – OK4R: Dr. Walter Pauk has devised the OK4R method, which can help you pack more information through power reading. This is to help you to ace Competitive Entrance Exams. Here is how you go about it:

O for Overview: In the first glance, just read the headings, sub- headings, introductory paragraph, and summary at the end of the chapter. It will give you general idea of what is included in the chapter.

K for Key ideas: Now, go back to the beginning of the chapter and try to skim through the key ideas. First sentence of each paragraph, italics and bold-type text, tables, pictures and diagrams, bulleted sections and itemizations often present key ideas of the chapter.

R1 for Reading the topic or chapter from beginning to end: Now that you already know what is being discussed, read through the entire chapter and see full explanation of the ideas that have been presented and how they have been explained.

R2 for Recall: Now put your book aside and write down major points of what you have read and make your notes in few words or sentences. Immediate recall will only take a minute or two but doubles up retention time of the topic you are studying.

R3 for Reflect: Now that you have kept the material in the storage unit of your memory it, sift it to put it in your permanent memory. Think over it and try to find significance of what you have read and its relationship with other topics you have learnt.

R4 for Review or Revision: On weekends, you can test yourself on what you have learned throughout the week. These time-to-time reviews or revisions help you to fix the information forever.