Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. This holds true in all aspects of life, particularly with competitive exams in India. If you are an engineering or medical aspirant preparing for an entrance exam, you know exactly what it takes.
You work hard, make many sacrifices, burn the mid night oil, and continuously step-up your game each day – to get those few extra marks that can make all the difference. Well, there is good news. We are here to spill a little-known secret. Beyond the obvious dos, don’ts, and recommendations, we bring to you a few simple tips and tools that can provide you the extra edge.
- The Ivan Pavlov Way
This is one of the most popular techniques around the world. Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning experiment proves that we can master any task by repeating it consistently. Some factors that have to remain constant are time, place, and subject.
So, train yourself to read the same text, in the same place, at the same time every day, and you will notice that your brain absorbs information much faster and organically.
- Match School and Home Schedules
This is one of the most effective methods out there. Align your home-study schedule to coincide with your classes. Studying a topic taught by the trainer, immediately after returning from class, gives you the advantage of higher retention.
Do this. Just before a test, instead of reading long-form text, look for visuals like graphs, diagrams, or charts – these tend to leave a mental impression and are easier to recall.
Another important thing to do is never set a time table with similar subjects one after the other. Variety ensures longer attentions spans.
- Short and Effective Study Sessions
There are distractions all around. The mind can seldom remain steady. Instead of fighting the urge, give-in at times. Go for a combination of small study sessions peppered with breaks. You will be able to cover a lot more. This is because the brain thrives well under adequate pressure.
It is also believed that when we take small breaks between sessions, the brain absorbs information without much effort. Hence, try spending not more than 20-25 minutes when cramming chronological events, formulas, equations, names, events, etc.
- Avoid Studying when Sleep Strikes
When the mind relaxes, the body rejuvenates. A tired body and brain aren’t conducive to intensive study. This varies from person to person. Some students find it easier to start early, while others find late nights less distracting and more productive. Whatever suits you, choose a time and stick to it.
When you find yourself getting drowsy, move around, drink some water, or better still take a power nap. ‘Inemuri’ or ‘sleeping while being present’ is the Japanese term for catching up on sleep while in public places. Experts suggest that such power naps can result in higher productivity.
- Smart Working Practices
More than the amount of time you spend in front of your books, evaluate the quality of the hours spent studying. ‘Focus’ is the key to getting more work done. Choose a time to study when there are minimal distractions. Consider going to a library or a study hall. It is advisable to start the day with challenging subjects when you are most alert. Keep the easier ones for the end of your study session.
- Practice Tests from Previous Years
Practice tests tell you where you stand. While most students know this, they rarely come around to doing it. Mostly because they do not have a ready and systematic access to the question paper sets from the previous years.
If you are an engineering or medical aspirant, try to get access to a comprehensive set of practice exams. Such tests help develop familiarity with competitive exam patterns. Attempt such tests in a proctored environment. Set a timer and take the process seriously.
Avoid getting distracted and keep all your devices away from you. This way you will be able to time yourself and understand the areas you need to concentrate on. When you have taken enough tests, you will be able to identify commonly made mistakes, know your strengths, and list down areas of improvement.
- Leverage the Power of Data to Gain Analytics and Insights
We live in the age of data. Today, there are enough and more analytical tools that can process your test performances to give you deep insights and recommendations that can help you perform up to your true potential.
Data analytics help in identifying one’s strengths and areas for improvement. In fact, platforms like as TCS iON’s Prep4Exam act as virtual advisors for students appearing for competitive engineering or medical exams. Students of Grade 11 and Grade 12 from Mathematics and Science streams can leverage this platform to get deep rooted insights about their performance – subject-wise, concept-wise, and difficulty-wise. They can also get detailed error analysis for incorrect questions, and answer keys along with explanations of the concept.
Getting ahead in competitive exams requires more than the traditional dose of hard work and perseverance. With just a few marks differentiating the winners, getting methodical with your exam preparation is indeed the need of the hour!