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Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)ON BOARDS

Get over your exam phobia

Get over your exam phobia

Monika Sandhu

Students often confuse hard work with smart work. While the former helps you complete your syllabus and clear your concepts, the latter helps you do the same more effectively. If you are a smart worker, you would know how to prepare portions that you find more challenging. You would startegise to devote time to topics you haven’t perfected yet and give a quick revision to what you already know. Here are some more tips to help you become a smart worker as exams approach.

Use flow charts and diagrams

Visual aids can be really helpful while revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic, and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. 

Practice on sample papers

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to revise test papers. This helps you get used to the format of the questions.

Take regular breaks

Develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you're more productive at night time, take a larger break early in the day, so that you're ready to settle down in the evening.

A notebook for each subject

Note down important notes and formulae that you come across during your studies. This will help before the exams as you can just grab the subject notebook and revise the portion. 

Revise well

Do not study anything new or from a new book right before the exams, as you may get confused. Revise what you have studied and glance at important notes and formulae. Make notes of important formulae and keep them handy so that you can take a look at them as and when you want. Make a weekly revision plan once you have completed the entire syllabus.

Know your strengths and weaknesses 

Hone your strengths but do not ignore your weaknesses. Concentrate well to improve on them. Take guidance from your teachers.

Keep fit

Eat healthy and take ample rest. Make sure you also spare time for physical activities. This will help you energise yourself. 

Use of social media

Social media helps in exchanging notes. You can form groups to share important information which can save time, but when you begin to use it to socialise, you begin to kill your most valuable time. 

How to plan the last few days 

Prioritise your exams

Once you know how much time you have to study for each exam, set priorities. List your exams in order, starting with the one you have to take the soonest, and ending with your last exam. Calculate how much time you have. Once you're ready to set your study schedule, calculate how many days you have between exams. There will obviously be a different number for every exam. So, plan how many days you want to devote to a subject.

Focus on one topic at a time

In each study session, studying one subject at a time can help you focus on the material better and therefore retain more. At times, some change is good when you're studying. Studying one topic for one study session and then switching to something totally different for your next session can keep things fresh and keep up your efficiency and energy levels. 

Take out time to review

When you're structuring your time table, make sure you take out 10 minute to quickly review what you studied the day before. It keeps things fresh in your mind and will remind you of the connections between what you're doing and what you have already done.

Stay consistent

Try to study at the same time (and possibly the same place) every day. This can make studying become almost automatic.


Organise your study space

Make sure you have enough space to spread out your textbooks and notes. Try and get rid of all distractions and ensure that you are able to focus on your studies. Clutter-free environs will help you concentrate better. 

Mark points

Highlight important points and formulae on textbooks and reference books to locate them easily. Revise the points whenever you get time.

Build in breaks

While you're scheduling time to study, it's also important to introduce breaks into your schedule. Research suggests that you should take a break for 10-15 minutes every hour. Giving your brain and body a chance to relax will make you more productive in the long run.

The writer is a Chandigarh-based counsellor

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