Fear of failing exams has plagued innumerable students throughout the course of modern education system. As the exam day in school comes near, students start lamenting on the golden time they have wasted through the year or the semester and start frantically preparing for the exam. The situation is even worse in colleges where students hardly start preparation before the last day before exam. But there are some highly efficient tips and tricks that can help you do well in those exams even after all the mischief throughout the year. Some of these techniques are universally applicable while some I devised on my own. So here they are:
1) Do Not Memorize, Understand:
Understanding a subject helps you remember it without breaking a sweat as information flows in your brain from one logical end to another. During the classes, if you do not understand anything, ask the teacher over and over. At least in the classes that you attend. If that boy sitting beside you calls you teacher’s pet or something, do not bother. He is not going to help you during the exams.
It is easy for mathematical subjects but there are things to understand in subjects like history too. Often the reason behind a couple of 17th century wars is because someone did something in 16th century. Once you get those facts straight, you won’t have to blindly memorize and hope for the best.
2) Take Breaks While Studying:
When you finally get down to exam preparation, the exam will be only 24 to 36 hours away. So, every second will feel like gold dust and you will most likely not take any breaks. But that is not a good strategy. Even during such tight situations, you must take 10-15 minutes break every 45 – 60 minutes of studying. It will refresh your mind and allow the brain to process the unrelenting flood of information. Just do not overdo it.
3) Squeeze In At Least 4 – 5 Hours Of Sleep:
It might seem like a lot of time but it will come in handy. I was one of those people who like to study through the night and morning and sleep once the exam is over. But once in college I experienced a complete memory whitewash. I read the whole night before, was amply prepared and paper was quite easy too. But once in the exam hall, I forgot the answers to the easiest questions. That I believe was the direct result of staying up the whole night. I passed the subject but got much less than I should have. Since then, I never forget to sleep a few hours.
4) Make Bullet Points Of Topics:
As you study topics of the syllabus, make bullet points of the important information as you go. This will make the job the easier when you revise. You will then have to study only the important information and not rummage through the unimportant junk in your textbook. This way, you might even be able to squeeze in a second revision before the exam starts.
5) Try To Gauge The Type Of Questions In The Exam:
Often times, you teachers will set the paper themselves. Analyzing their teaching pattern and the topics they stressed on during the year will help you guess the more important questions in the exam. You can even ask them for some pointers before the exam. More often than not, they will drop a few hints about the chapters to concentrate on. Otherwise you can refer the yesteryear’s questions and get an idea.
6) Ask The Teacher About The Marking Scheme:
You can easily ask the teacher about how they mark answers. It is perfectly OK to ask this question and they are obligated to tell you. After all, if writing 3 points to a 5 marks question earns you full marks, why would you try and write 5 points. Similarly, information about the marking on all types of question will get your efforts more focused and yield better results.
7) Read The Questions Thoroughly:
It’s a basic rule that we forget to abide by throughout our academic career. Set aside at least 10 – 15 minutes to read the questions properly. Often a question might seem to have one meaning but after careful reading might reveal another. If you have a good understanding of all the questions, you can easily make up for these 15 minutes later in the exam.
8) Start With The Question You Can Answer Best:
This is only possible if you read the question properly. Answering the easiest question first helps you in many ways. First, it will increase your confidence and jump start your brain. Secondly, it usually takes some time for you to pick up speed during exam. It takes around an hour before you start writing first and your brain starts working at full capacity. It is best that you write the easiest answer when your brain is still getting warmed up.
9) Do Not Dwell On once Th Exam Is Over:
If you keep thinking about the questions you missed or answered wrong long after the exam is over, you will hamper the preparation for the next exam. The first thing to do after the exam is over is to take a deep sleep. It will clear you mind and get you ready for the next exam.
These are some of the steps I learnt and implemented to some success. There is replacement for studying all year but very few of us actually do that. So if the preparation has boiled down to the last moment, prepare smart and you should be able to pass the exam if not actually ace it. All the best!