Exams! This 5 letter word is enough for some to feel anxious, dizzy and what not right away! It’s something we’ve been facing for years, but most of us still haven’t managed to get over the fear induced by them.
No matter what age you are, whether you’re a school student, a high school one or a degree college student, exams tend to create a chaotic mind state in the best of us which makes it even more tough to focus, and actually study.
But you know what, 7 minutes down the line, you’re gonna feel better about this whole idea. How? Because it’s gonna take you only 7 minutes to go through this article. And I promise I’m not gonna ask you to be organized and have a schedule, because I could never cope up with that kinda pressure myself! (Don’t get me wrong, I was way beyond ‘above average’ despite this).
Without further ado, here are the Top 15 Tips to Study for Exams.
1. Know: Everyone has their Own Way
First things first. And this is to get facts straight right up. You might think that the methods applied by maybe your sibling, the topper of your class, your next-door neighbor, or even by some of these people making videos or writing (ME!) about this very subject are the ONLY ways towards actually getting decent outcomes. But this is so NOT true! Just as every person has a different take on the same movie, a different opinion on the same food and no one can be labeled right or wrong, similarly, every person has their own way of studying. And that very own way can bring about equally awesome results. There’s no right or wrong, whatsoever.
2. Understand what you Study
Trust me, this is one of the best things you could do for yourself. I’m not sure how underrated this thing is, but what I’m sure of is that it works. One of the most important, and in fact actually useful practice is to always get your concepts cleared, and know what is that you’re trying to feed in your mind. This is something I’ve been advised about since I was a kid. And it worked for me throughout my entire student life. It doesn’t just make a lot of sense but also manages to help you get better grades.
3. Prepare your Own Notes
Again, a tried-tested-approved method. Whether your curriculum has these huge modules or it’s still the school level yet, nothing is better than having your own, self-written, personalized notes. No matter how good the author must be, for YOUR mind, there’s no one better than you yourself. The way things are shortened, simplified, with all those shortcuts and examples. It all comes super handy during exams. You can prepare these notes during lectures or while studying (In case you’ve never done this before).
4. Get at least 5 hours of Sleep
I understand how difficult it is to strike the right balance of sleep, especially during exams. But I’ve concluded that this is the minimum amount of rest you should try to get. And this isn’t for you if you’re a very organized student. Like you must totally get those 8 hours, you deserve that. But for those of you who are like me, the last minute people, this is for you. The least but required rest to be able to function well, and study.
5. Snack up on Good Stuff
Another really nice tip would be this, and not ‘eat proper, balanced meals with lots of veggies.’ Considering you’re a student in the midst of examinations, you’re probably doing that already. (Especially if you’re Indian, you get 10x more attention, care, and food by your mom in this phase). So, this is about snacking better. During those study breaks, and when you get down to get some air, you should try to eat good, baked stuff and maybe dark chocolate, or some juice. Instead of having junk or fried food, go for something like this because the former will end up making you feel lethargic and even more prone to dozing off (As if having to study isn’t enough).
6. The Right Way of Group Studying
For those of you who are used to this practice of group studying, this might help. Whenever you get together with your friends to study, make sure you’re not covering the same topic(s) at one time. Each one of you should first distribute the whole unit/chapter into different sections, topics or questions. Then you can explain those different topics to each other. This’ll not just save a whole lot of time, but also lead to more efficiency. Because a good discussion of the whole thing that everyone will listen to will help in better understanding, and benefit everyone.
7. Teach Someone Else
If you’re somebody who prefers to study alone, then this’ll definitely help you out. Whatever you’re studying, make sure you explain that to someone else. Okay, I know you can’t do that for the whole thing. So you can do this for the difficult or tricky topics. Explaining others will not just help you get a better revision, but also lead to better memorization during the examination. (It’s proven!)
8. Be Regular with Practical Stuff
If you have stuff such as Math, Accounts or other practical subjects, you should be as regular with them as possible. No matter what stage you are in at the moment. If there are a few months, weeks, or even days to go for those exams, start today. Practice those rules & formulas, solve those sums, get used to solving those accounting problems every single day until your exam. Even if it’s just 1 big problem, do it. Don’t mess with the regularity. Because theory and practical can’t really be done using the same techniques. And practical demands discipline.
9. Avoid keeping your Phone Around
The logic is really simple. While studying, the distance between you and your phone, is directly proportional to the probability of your hand going towards it and picking it up, in order to read that 1 text, reply to it, check that one notification, go ahead to know more, then unknowingly get into a series of watching stuff you clearly shouldn’t, and ending up wasting a whole lot of time. Quite innocently. Right? So it’s better to keep it away. And do all of that important stuff with your phone during a break.
10. Incentivize Yourself
This is something I used to do myself, and still do! And this one is among my favorites. Basically, you have to break down this whole thing you gotta complete in smaller tasks. Then you have to set maybe deadlines or targets for completion of a certain number of tasks in the checklist, to gift yourself something. No, you don’t have to go to a gift shop and buy yourself a gift. But it could be something as small as getting to eat a whole chocolate bar, or getting to use Instagram for 15 minutes. The point is, it should be something that you look forward to. As that’ll help motivate you, speed you up and get stuff done faster.
(The choice is totally up to you, to think of this as silly and let it go, or to be sincere with it and make it work for you).
12. Try Not to Mug Things Up
So, this is a general piece of advice as a well-wisher and isn’t being forced at all. Personally, I’m against cramming because it messes with stuff instead of helping. For me, without basic understanding, even to some extent at times, it doesn’t really help in any sense. Neither for marks in the exam, nor for obtaining knowledge. Try to minimize this if you’re used to it. It’ll make more sense to you with time.
13. Stay Positive!
Super cliché, but still extremely important. Also, this is for everyone, in any situation. Whether you’re that sincere student or the chilled out one. Most exams can’t really be predicted in advance. Like sometimes, even the best of us face adversity in terms of how they’re set. But the thing is, though not the question papers, what is in our control is our state of mind, and attitude (apart from the prep, of course). So you better be optimistic and think good instead of all that nervous energy flowing in and ruining things.
14. Remember: It’s Just a Test!
Quoting David Sir from the movie ‘English Vinglish,’ “Taking an exam is not a matter of life and death. It’s about the joy of telling yourself that you’ve done it.” This was one of the eye-opening lines in the film. And if you think about it, all of that hassle of getting into the class, attending lectures, having study sessions and so much more, boils down to this very time. And there’s actually no point in cursing it. It in fact is an opportunity to present all that learning onto paper, to the best of your capability. It’s not a life sentence. Makes sense?
15. Don’t make them the Centre of your Universe!
And never let anyone else convince you to do that. Yes, they’re important, they help you in getting into things in future, and that super long list that still somehow exists. But still, you don’t have to make exams the criteria for your better future. Even if you ace them, or lag a little behind, life is still gonna make sense, opportunities will still knock your door, people around you will still love you for who you are. They’re simply a part of the process. Embrace them, because like almost everything else, even they’re not gonna last forever.
I hope that this actually helped you to make peace with the entire anxiety-inducing idea of exams. The bottom line is to follow your own process, work hard, give your best shot and not to think too much. Life has greater things to offer. So don’t get overwhelmed by exams, and keep believing in the greater good.
If you’ve read this to reminisce exam days or to gather the things you’d like to try in the upcoming exams, I hope you had a good time. And if you’re a student who is currently facing exams, you better get back to studying!