PREPARATION FOR EXAMS
Exams are meant to assist you in the formation of your personality. They are meant to ascertain your values, attitudes, ability and the degree of maturity. Exams are meant to measure your ability and achievement. Unfortunately our examination system is not that perfect in assessing the student’s achievement.
Often you dread exams and consider them necessary evil. I would suggest you to approach them in appositive manner as an opportunity to prove your worth. If you have developed healthy study habits, you will really look forward to your exams with a healthy attitude.
Let us look at some of the common probles faced by students in general.
If you are regular and systematic in your studies, you will reach a super-saturation point when everything has been studied. It may happen that when you reach this stage, you may go totally blank. This is the time you need to have more relaxation. Some years back, it happened to one of my students, just a couple of weeks befor the final exams. He had set a target of 90%, and became so confused as the exams were approaching. What i suggested to him was to spend more time in healthy relaxation, and vanish his tension. It did work. He scored 89.7%, bagging the First Rank in the State in 1993.
It is a common practice among students to spend sleepless nights prior to their exams, cramming their lessons. In doing so, you are over-burdening your brain. You need some regularity in your life with a set time for study, sleep, meals and relaxation. Cramming is like taking your prescribed medicines of ten days at one go. It will certainly cause anxiety and hyper-tension. Such students may scrape through their exams, but will hardly remember anything after a few days. After all, what you study is for life as well, to be an educated person.
Don’t be a Book-worm
When I suggested you to frame a daily time schedule, I mentioned that you should include into it all your daily activities: prayer, study, sleep, light reading, extra-curricular activities, relaxation, meals and the like. Do not fall into the trap of exaggeration in your studies. There are some students who keep spending all their time only in study and tuition. We call them book-worms, who will eventually have a breakdown, either physical or mental. I recall, how during my Undergraduate days, a senior student in college was so studious that he was sure of securing a State Rank. He studied day and night with no relaxation, so much so he went mentally deranged.
As exams approach, you may tend to be irregular with your sleep, meals and relaxation. You may call it symptoms of exam fever. You may tend to neglect your regular meals. Don’t be a victim of it as your body needs proper nourishment to support your mental health.
Better you sleep, better would be your mental faculties. I do not mean that you should over-sleep. That would do you harm, instead. Sleep just 8 hours as usual. Do not break the rhythm of your sleep. Keep to the same time in your daily time schedule. There are some students who develop insomnia; they do not get sound sleep. This can be due to the mounting pressure of the exams, especially if you are a last minute student.
As exams approach, you need to build self confidence. If you have studied properly during the year, you need a lot of writing practice. Try to spend at least an hour daily in writing practice. Try to spend the time in writing answers to some questions you have studied during the day. This can be done in the afternoon hours. At times, you may go completely blank, while attempting to write an answer. Refer back to your notes. You will never forget that topic if it comes for the exams. Thus writing practice will help you learn the art of answering the relevant questions. Often what happens is that you study so much and it is rather difficult to put into writing within the stipulated time during the exams.
It is important that you avoid getting flu, common cold etc., as exams draw near. All your efforts at study will be ruined by a flu or a common cold. Your intake of multi-vitamins & minerals may help you in this. Avoid picnics and joy-rides just before exams. It will disturb the rhythm of study you have acquired.
Keep in mind the following:
• Be confident.
• Keep cool and calm.
• Eat sufficient food before going for exams.
• Don’t forget to take you admit cards, pens etc.
• Don’t be telling your friends that you are unprepared.
• Make sure you reach the exam hall well in anticipation.
• Write your roll number etc legibly.
• Mark numbers in the additional sheets to avoid mixing up.
• Write question numbers legibly.
• Attempt answers in the serial order as far as possible.
• Be conscious of the time spent on each question.
• Never leave questions unanswered.
• Find a little time at the end to scan through the answers.
• After exams do not say that you have done badly.
• Don’t calculate marks immediately after exams. Do it when all the exams are completed, lest it can cause you stress.
Allotment of Time to Questions
• If you have 3 hours for a paper of 100 marks; you can sped an average of 1.8 minutes for 1 mark. If a question carries 3 marks, you should not spend more than 5.4 minutes. If an essay of 20 marks is given, you can spend 35 minutes on it. Classes IX, X, XI, XII students get objective questions. Remember to write precise and brief answers to the questions. Mind you, 1 mark = 1.8 minutes.
• At the Graduate level you will get a few essay questions or short answer type questions, besides, objective ones. Follow the same pattern of time allotment for a 3 hour exam: 1 mark = 1.8 minutes.
• If you are poor in time management, you may end up leaving several questions unanswered. Be strict with the time allotment.
• For Competitive Exams, you will have to answer about hundred objective questions in 3 hours. Be quick in answering without procrastination. Mind you in some competitive exams, negative marking system may be followed. Hence, be careful to avoid careless mistakes.
• At PG level, both essay type and short answer type question are asked. I have found several students spend extra time answering short answer type questions, ending up writing for a shorter duration other essay questions.
• Be neat in your presentation. Draw a line after an answer is completed. Avoid smudging and cancelling etc… Keep proper space in between lines. Good to draw a margin.
• PG & UG students should avoid spending a lot of unnecessary time in selecting questions. Tick your choice quickly. Answer them in a serial order as far as possible instead of mixing up, bringing confusion to the examiner.
• Cl. IX, .X, XI, XII students should avoid reading the entire question paper. Start answering questions in order. If you are not sure of the right answer to a question, mark it on question paper and attempt at the end. Avoid leaving blank space in the answerscript, planning to write at the end. Often, you will forget to do so.
• Having done all this, you can be sure that you will succeed in getting your dream target score.
• I used to find students go for exams without having proper food due to tension. I suggest you to carry a couple of chocolates with you and eat just before entering into the exam hall. That will nourish you during your 3 hours of intense concentration.