Helping Students for Exam Preparation

Exams are approaching, at this crucial juncture, students encounter with personal and subject related problems. What needed is a prompt solution which not only set them free of worries but also facilitate their smooth preparations. Here enlisted are a few issues related to revision, study method, preparation of time table, overcoming distractions, prerequisites of success. Let’s just get right to it. 

Exams preparation and making of an effective time table 

Students have a psychological advantage, nearing the examination period their curiosity, discipline, hard work, loyalty towards study incredibly increases. This really proves to be instrumental for the good students to gain maximum benefits. There can’t be a fixed study method. It may vary according to a student’s intellect, preparation and academic performance in the previous examinations / tests. The only common principle for all the students could be “work hard, never compromise with the studies”. Students should cultivate a good study habit with the following in focus:

  • Select a good place to study; it enhances your interest and level of understanding.
  • Develop concentration; it means the maximum time you engage yourself for interest-based studies.
  • Be a master of note taking techniques
  • Be an expert of skimming technique – Skimming is about focusing on the most important portion of the subject and leaving aside the rest. This is similar to the way you scroll down to find out any particular to the topic from the preface of a book or number from your mobile phone, this scanning technique when applied to reading a book is called skimming)
  • Time management, optimum utilization of time is the key to success, manage your time wisely.
  • Memory, it’s about retention of the studied portions intact.
  • Revision, going through the subjects again and again will enhance the chances of performing fair in the examinations.

Preparing an effective time schedule help stay focused. For its preparation we are considering that there are no formal classes, it’s almost a complete vacation for exam preparation. So the available time is the whole day, however we will extract an affordable part from it to make it convenient.

A time table is a handy tool that will give you a perspective on things to be accomplished. It’s all about managing your time, if you succeed, excelling in the exams is going to be within your reach. First of all set a target for yourself. What do you want to achieve and what’s your future plan, based on that you will be charged up to stick to a decent time table.

In view of your strengths, make a priority list of the subjects and chapters of the subjects. That means take those subjects first that consume less of your time and then opt for those that demands more time. Similarly select the chapters of the subjects based on the possible time that may consume.

For a student, productive working hours would be comprised of sessions of 60 mins each with a 15 mins break. Just calculate the available time in a day’s period.  If you start your day by 5 am and wind up your studies at around 11 pm, it comes around 18 hours a day. If you take out almost 5 hours of break (18 hrs x 15 mins break = 4.50 hrs.) and around 3 hours’ time for food and prayers, now you are left with a quantum of 11 hours of studies per day. This duration could be flexible; students can alter according to their own priorities and overall conditions.

Now, divide the available time, as mentioned here 11 hours, among the total subjects. You can spend quality time on each subject every day. Or you can have three to four subjects a day and deal with the rest on the alternate days. This way the time delegated is more than enough to carry out effective studies. Make sure of taking out some time for the revision of subjects studied. Once you make a time schedule don’t alter the timings, let it be fix. However, later you can alter a bit if feel little hard to cope with.

In view of this principle description you can commence your studies from morning 5 and relaxed in the night at 11 pm. It would be desirable if you get up early in the morning and sleep max by 11 pm. Avoid night outs. To excel in the exams you need to concentrate on other factors also. Time table is all about time management. You need to focus on your health and memory.

Revision of syllabus before exams

Days before the final exams are very crucial. You need to be physically and mentally strong enough to cope with the overall situation. Here we go with the some helpful tips:

  • Be strong enough to face the exams, increase your confidence level.
  • Prepare a quick reference list and paste it in your study room.
  • Prepare charts and slides of important portions.
  • Re-read your notes and highlight important part.
  • Condensed your notes to a single page.
  • Instead of memorizing, just write down the answers / sums / equations / derivations on the paper. It strengthens your memory power and increases writing speed as well.
  • Review each topic.
  • Take small breaks after the completion of each topic.
  • Eat healthy
  • Sleep well
  • Refrain from panicking, everything is going to be in your control.

Overcoming distractions, some practical ways 

Distraction is a condition or state of mind in which the attention is diverted from actual interest or focus. It is a mental disturbance and has many connotations, like, noise, improper room conditions, sleeplessness and personal issues etc. Generally, distractions are said to be of two types, outward or external and inward or internal. The external or outward distractions may be many like, TV, music, mobile, people, conversations, games etc. Whereas the inner distractions may mean disinterest, lack of focus, shallow understanding, hunger, anger, insomnia, procrastination etc.

Distraction is one of the most common problems students encounter with, in particular during study or when they seriously engaged in exam preparation. Students always aim high but the idea of intense hard work comes to their mind only when exams approach. The urgency for good preparation coupled with expectations of parents and teachers make them quite sensitive. Amidst these imperatives students tend to feel the actuality of distractions. While studying, feelings of distraction actually invite a student’s attention towards something which could be potentially dangerous. To have control over unwanted feelings students’ stability and a firm commitment plays a pivotal role. They need to be sharp focused and adhere to practical ways of overcoming distractions:

  • Selection of place – Ambiance does matter; select a comfortable, quietest and a bit spacious place for your studies.
  • Clean your room – Keep your study room clean, take out all the things that could disturb you.
  • Maintain Privacy – Let everyone who lives with you know that you are pretty serious in studying and no one is supposed to disturb you by any mean.
  • Organize study schedule – Prepare an effective time table, as mentioned above, to ensure optimum utilization of available time.
  • Avoid friends – Avoid friends. Tell them that you would appreciate if they don’t call or text a message. However, if need help, you can invite your class fellow as a study partner.
  • Read aloud – There is a highest possibility that reading aloud will help you remember. Read aloud, in particular when you feel any distraction.
  • Concentrate on memorization – If you succeed in remembering studied portions means the distractions have failed. Let memorization be a benchmark to know the effectiveness of your study and the level of your concentration.
  • Be flexible – Don’t be tense with regard to the time table, subjects and the left over chapters. Be flexible, utilize the available time to the best of your benefits.
  • Change study hours – Sticking to the same schedule sometimes reduces your concentration and interest level. Try to rotate the subjects and there corresponding study hours. If this fails by chance, change your place, go somewhere else, to your friend’s house, garden or school /college library.
  • Rotate study pattern – Don’t stick to a solitary style of studying, change the duration of study, shift the place, flip the timings, change the methods.
  • Adopt IDEA technique – This is one of the most effective techniques. Here, I stands for identification. You should be aware of the reasons for distractions. D for defining, soon after realization, define your positive attitude for dealing with all forms of distractions. E stands for energy; it’s all about energizing yourself to stay always on your toes. A for abandon, give up all bad habits that contribute to distractions. 
  • Study material – Keep your study material ready. The moment you start your studies, things should be available for instance reference and use. It will be an added advantage for you. It helps understand that everything is under your control and you have a command over things.
  • Take short breaks – It is recommended that you should have a small break after every 60 mins.
  • Be productive – Study shows that an average period of concentration per day is less than 2 hours, so you need to be very productive for optimum utilization of the available time.
  • Revision snacks – Take some healthy snacks during the breaks. Avoid excess eating, carbonated drink and junk food.
  • Motivate yourself – Take a regular assessment of your personal involvement in the studies and memorizing things. Motivate yourself with words and phrases that are quite inspiring.
  • Study partner – As it is said, if needed you can have a study partner, or join with anyone. But remember heavy reliance on a study partner is also a kind of distraction.
  • Take care of health – Have nutritious food, avoid night outs and sleep at least for six hours.
  • Remember God – Invoke Him. Seek His guidance. Ask His forgiveness. Devote quality time for worship. Be thankful to Him for providing you with an ease to study and remember things.

Prerequisites for student’s success

The prerequisites of success are quite simple but they demand your gentle care and initiatives which are very tough to adhere to. They are:

  1. Be an open minded,realistic and ready to accept the shortcomings and incorporate new things.
  2. Never be jealous of anyone no matter what. Try to be pure at heart and involve yourself in healthy competitions. 
  3. Don’t treat any success as the final one; every single achievement should be a moral boost for you to reach to the highest peak of success. 
  4. Don’t treat your colleagues as rival,help them achieve their goals. Your helping nature in turn enlightens you with the dynamics of success. 
  5. Be a man of God,don’t be egoistic. Abstain from all sorts of negative traits.
  6. Manage your time; all your activities should be well defined. Maintain a healthy habit of keeping time for every engagement. Be on time to classes. Specify study timings. Be a regular visitor of the library. Assign time for light entertaining games, and of course time to spend with friends. 
  7. Set priorities,make your own list of priorities, at what period of the year what is supposed to be done and achieved. 
  8. Create goals, both long and short term. Set your own target of achieving excellent results in the tests / semester / final exams. Decide a topic / definite portion of a particular subject for an in depth understanding within a specified time. Make a list of the skills to be developed. 
  9. Maintain discipline,don’t skip classes. Study with double seriousness. Be polite and humble in your approach towards studies and answering the queries. 
  10. Cultivate obsession,yes there should be a kind of madness in you to go an extra mile and reach to the top. Try to be obsessed about acquiring knowledge, excelling in understanding, helping out the needy and thinking out of the box. 

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© Muhammad Abdullah Javed – Jan 2017

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