How to Study for an Exam Effectively| Tips to Crack Competitive exams

The exam is the anxious part of school and college days. Many experience confusion and are under stress due to exams.

The reason is a tendency to score well while there is a lack of effective preparation.

But scoring is a test of one’s ability and also a recognition in the school.

So everyone tends to be tense and have a desire to score well during exams.

How to Study for an Exam effectively

Interestingly we can notice that a few sets of students always score well while others have to struggle very hard to score.

This is because they have certain qualities which others might lack. Those very qualities help them score better again and again repeatedly.

Many do not perform well during exams and repent later. This is a disappointment and useless. So here are tips on how to study for exams to score better.

How to study for exams effectively

1. Make a plan of study

This is important to prepare for the exam in a short time or over a long period.

Plan for studies includes what to study (syllabus to cover), when to study (timetable), and also how to study (means used)

Below are the means to study, while other aspects have to be decided by you based on your requirements.

Know the syllabus to cover from your exam brochure, and decide on proper books from your teacher or seniors.

Fix a time schedule based on your speed of study and also your knowledge of the subjects under study.

So the plan should be like

syllabus to cover. Know all the chapters to cover from each subject.

Books to study from. decide what books will help you cover the above-mentioned syllabus.

Time schedule to complete. Plan the best time to read the chapters, revise them, and also have a sufficient time span as you may have some hindrances in between the period of study.

2. Understand and study

This is a mistake some students can make as they assume that study is to mug up books and write out in the exams.

This is wrong in two ways, as it will not enhance your brain skills.

Secondly, if the question is asked in a different manner, it cannot be answerable, leading to low scores.

This problem of lack of understanding is seen in mathematics and science subjects.

One can overcome this by understanding the subjects they studied.

Once you understand a subject, it becomes easier for you to answer in the exam.

It also builds confidence and helps you learn and write better in the exam.

The ones who score well are those who understand and study in most cases.

3. Revise

Revision is the key to preparation for exams.

If one covers a lot of syllabi, without proper revision, it would be hard to remember the whole of it.

Hence, it is good to read a little, revise the topics and then read the next topics.

If you do not revise, you may forget or get confused and make more mistakes.

The plan of preparation should definitely include some time for revision.

Whether you prepare for the exam in a short time, like in a week or two, still fix some time for revision.

Revision increases confidence and helps avoid any confusion, and improves your understanding of the syllabus.

4. Practice diagrams

Diagrams are an important part of an answer in subjects like science and mathematics.

They communicate more information than mere writing.

A neatly drawn and labeled diagram gains more marks for an answer than one without any diagrams.

Practice a diagram to increase your chances of scoring.

5. Practice formulas

Formulas help to solve the problems of physics, chemistry, and mathematics faster.

If you do not remember the formulas, you make mistakes, and the whole answer can go wrong.

So practicing formulas helps you remember well and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

6. Practice problems

In mathematics and science subjects like physics and chemistry, there are many problems to solve.

Practicing them helps you solve them correctly in the exam.

Further practicing helps save time in answering the questions.

7. Refer to the previous question paper

Going through previous years’ question papers for an idea is essential.

It helps you know how the question paper pattern is going to be.

Which set of questions needs to be answered first, and do any other relevant issues arise?

So it is always a good idea to refer to the previous year’s question paper.

Study notes and refers to textbooks.

Many students have notebooks taken from a class lecture.

While there are also some standard textbooks for reference, it is best to study both notebooks and texts for the purpose of scoring. It helps you to know how to manage time in the exam hall.

8. Make a team

This is quite important but may not be possible for all.

Try to have a team of like-minded people aiming to score well in the exams.

Having a team of learners will help you focus and complete the syllabus.

It also helps make combined efforts in learning, gathering books, making pictures, table charts, etc., for study.

Further group discussions can be taken up for better coverage of the syllabus.

Strategy for How to Crack Competitive Exams

1) A decision to target or achieve the goal;

how to crack competitive exams

As a foremost thing, set up the desired score (say-99%) or the order of rank (say within-1st to 10th position) you wish to achieve in the competitive exam. This step brings precise clarity to what marks or scores you need to accomplish in the exam. Going through previous competitive exam records indicates the marks scored by toppers. So if you wish to achieve the said rank, you may need to achieve the previously scored marks or grade and ±10 marks of recent toppers.

2) A definite plan to make up the target;

exam plan

Once the goal is set, assess how much of the target or score you can make up by your present or current standards. This can be affirmed by solving a previous exam paper, i.e., past papers within the stipulated time. Once you solve them, evaluate the answers yourself honestly by referring to previous answers, i.e., the key released after the previous exam.

Having known your standards, see the syllabus you need to cover in its entirety for the competitive exams. Select appropriate Books to cover the curriculum. Fix up a time to complete the syllabus and the maximum possible number of times to revise the covered syllabus (because without revision, it is useless to cover a large syllabus 🙂 as you will not remember them during the exam instantly).

3) Amendment of the plan to achieve the target;

Keeping the syllabus in view covers the subjects. Some chapters may appear harsh and time taking to process, then you cover them as briefly as possible and go to the next. The briefly covered chapters become easy for your mind to process next time ;-).

Even it is advisable to make a team of friends who wish to succeed in the competitive exam and help each other in coverage of the syllabus as this can save time (but casual chat can waste your time! So behold ;-).

During the preparation, be sure to practice thoroughly any mathematical or statistical problems or formulas, if any, in the syllabus.

Even practice the chemical structures present. Try to make short notes of relevant topics which you need to remember to revise easily.

To answer general knowledge-type questions, read your daily and weekly. Have a chat about the topic with your friends during snacks or so to have a more clear idea and memory of the topic under study.

4) Revise and Revise-a Study Skill

Once the syllabus is covered, go for revision as many times as possible with constant evaluation of your standard by solving previous question papers after each revision. Habituate even to complete the paper half hour earlier than the stipulated time.

If the exams are of multiple choice type, it is less strenuous to answer, but if it is of essay typewriting, etc., even practice writing essays as it enhances your writing speed, handwriting, grammar and mental skill required to write. So revision is an important study skill.

Remember that without proper revision, it’s of no use to cover the vast amount of syllabus.

Writing the exam: How to solve the paper?

If the Exam is of Essay type:

Like in state service exams.

This requires two things. Writing speed with clear, readable handwriting and also creative answering. If preparing for civil services or another sort of exam that tests your ability of judgment and reasoning, read essays from daily newspapers, magazines, and other publications. So the emphasis on practice before exams is quite essential to enhance both these skills

♣ Once you get the Question paper, read all the questions first and decide which you can answer.

♣ Then, while answering, write short questions first and then go for long ones. This is necessary as you can score more for individual short answers than for a single long answer.

♣ Leave proper space between words and lines. If any diagrams are present, draw and label them clearly to gain notice and more scores.

If the Exam is of  Multiple Choice Questions, type:

For exams like GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, AP U.S. History exam and various scholarship entrances, the mode is objective type.

♦ Answer questions as fast as possible. For this, you must practice completing previous exam question papers in the shortest time possible.

♦ If a question is not known or time taking, or doubtful, better go for the next and return to it after you answer all the known ones.

♦ If a question has four choices and if you are in doubt, then eliminate two unsuitable ones and of the remaining 2, select the best one.

♦ Be careful with terminology because the meaning of terms can help you sometimes recognize the right answer.

♦ Even then, If you are not sure or are out of your knowledge to answer any question, better don’t answer to avoid negative marks.

♦ Complete the question paper quickly and come back from the beginning a couple of times.

This will help you answer more unanswered questions correctly as it gives you time to understand the questions and answers those which sounded confusing to you before. And also, some questions need calculations or images or structures to do in rough work to think and find the right answer.

But this rechecking has a disadvantage in that you may make further mistakes than before and lose your score !! Bear it in mind.

♦ Calculate your GPA to know how much to score, and also it creates awareness and even encouragement to prepare for exams better.

Have Right Mindset

Take inspiration, support, and suggestions from elders and friends; This is very important to derive strength to complete the entire process to succeed in competitive exams.

Suggestions from previous achievers can be very helpful. Have coaching sessions or attend some group studies or preparative exams to help you mold your vision and thoughts toward success.

Visualize your success frequently and be optimistic. Remember, everyone was like you before they had their success in competitive exams.

Things you should not do:

  • Don’t worry about the level of competition– because the number of people appearing for the exam has nothing to do with the score you wish to achieve. The ladder of success is crowded at the bottom and not at the top.
  • Don’t rely on too many ideas or suggestions you get from others. You try to figure out your idea and sketch how to prepare and succeed.
  • Don’t bunk your regular classes or school to prepare for the competitive exams because remember that a busy person can handle extra work but not the free person.

Competitive exams are essential in the education system, but getting educated or studying is not aimed at just succeeding in competitive exams alone.

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