Exam time is often a time of great laziness, procrastination, botched attempts at prep marathons and a subsequent descent into panic. Stress gets the better of most students, forcing many to dedicate themselves to devising ingenious “methods” of making it through the test, rather than focusing on giving the coursework one final thorough revision.
But before you plan to play the daredevil in the test centre or a hopeless pessimist post the exam, consult our little guide that may help you defy the odds of flunking the next time.
It’s not wise to put all your eggs in one basket, or to leave most of the prep up until the exam eve. Students who put in a little effort each day are not only able to cover most study topics before the exam, they also stand a better chance of understanding the coursework more than their peers, who utilise their superior rote skills to make it through the day.
Plan out a timetable that lets you study at a comfortable pace from the start of a term and put in some time to study every day. This way, you will have a fair idea of the topics that you know, those that are yet to be covered and those that need extra effort on your part and alter your plans accordingly.
Put Distractions Away
Only some people have the guts to sit throughout the day in the library and prepare for exams. Most students prefer to study in their rooms for exams as it allows them the freedom to study in peace, away from noise and distractions. Be sure to make your study area comfortable per your needs, but not too much to invoke sleep. Before you sit down to study, it’s a good idea to put away distractions like gaming consoles, your favourite magazines and other stuff scattered around your room that may tempt you towards other endeavours.
Practice Makes Perfect
An effective and highly proven way to prepare for exams and perform well is sit mock tests of old exam papers. This activity helps you in several significant ways. First, you become accustomed to the format of the questions, which can be asked in relation to a certain subject. Second, the actual exam does not appear very threatening and confusing after you have solved previous exam papers. There are also chances that questions asked in one of you practice tests reappear in the actual exam, giving you a greater chance to succeed. And the third very important benefit is your ability to manage time well through hours and hours of practice.
Though often disregarded, visual aids can be qualitatively helpful in revisions. Before revising a topic, you can write down all the highlights associated with the topic and then, find out what you possibly missed. You could also make diagrams and charts of different methods and processes, which can help you recall the information already inside your head easily.
Get a Checker
Another practice, which can enhance your exam performance is to get your practice exams vetted by someone who understands the subject. A teacher, a friend or an elder could really help. For instance, a thorough examination by a teacher will help you discover shortcomings and provide guidance about how to better attempt questions. A consultation with a friend might lead to a detailed debate about a particular topic and lead to better understanding of the same. And while all parents might not be able to offer a lot of help, most can prove to be an excellent resource for advice on general topics, such as essay writing, grammar, basic arithmetic and so on; especially for students still in the younger years of education.
Learning to manage stress is vital not just for a better performance in exams, but also for your physical and mental health. Anxiety never helped anyone ace a test, and neither will it you. If prep makes you fidgety, break down the marathon study sessions into small manageable sprints. Do not worry about what is yet to be covered, rather focus on what you are studying right then. Take short breaks, short, we repeat, to unwind and relax before hitting the tarmac for another studious session. You can also engage in a brief conversation (not recommended for the chatterboxes) with friends and family to let your mind wander off for a bit. Music also helps some people relax, so engage at will if you may.
Healthy and Wise
Exam prep and the accompanying stress gives the body and mind a heavy beating most students do not necessarily take into account. While we praise your resolve to not leave the room until x number of chapters are covered, truth is starving yourself won’t help for long. Both body and mind need nourishment, and it’s important you provide them that. If you really are adamant about not leaving your study setting, keep snacks like fruits, nuts, chocolates and biscuits and plenty of water with you to keep the energy level stable. Eat properly and avoid foods that may lead to stomach trouble during your crucial exam days. Engaging in light exertion like a morning run or a few reps of the good ol’ iron bar could also help fight fatigue and leave you fresh and charged up for studies.