Do you plan to take a competitive examination in the near future? If yes then this write up will definitely be of great help to you.
In any competitive examination what gives you an edge over the others?
In depth knowledge? Yes.
High accuracy? Yes.
Great speed? Yes.
A combination of these three aspects surely helps you achieve great results. But what makes you a real winner?
Having been there and done that, I would strongly recommend these strategies that you should work on so that you are calm, composed and confident on the final day.
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body
A healthy body is a prerequisite for any academic goal that you have set for yourself. I cannot stress enough on that. You do not want to waste time fighting an infection when you have a gamut of topics to prepare. Take care of your health and look after your body.Eat nutritious and light food.
Regular exercise, yoga and meditation for just 20 minutes a day also works wonders in the long run. Though physical and mental fitness does not directly contribute towards higher scores but its overall impact on you is immense. After all, a relaxed mind will naturally be more receptive to the hoard of information that you are going to stockpile your brain with.
Well organized student finds time for everything
Learn to manage time. It will always help you in any walk of life. There is no need to study the entire day. Begin with 2 hours a day and then gradually increase your study time so that the concentration level stays intact; however regularity is very important. You cannot afford to study for 6 hours one day and then decide to skip studies altogether for 4 days.
Making a time table is important but what is more important is sticking to it! I do not think I need to elaborate this further.
Practice makes a student perfect
While preparing a topic do not just read through the study material. Practice solved examples as well as practice questions. More often than not it so happens that while reading through a topic you feel that you have completely understood the concept but when you actually solve questions you feel stuck.
Set small time goals for yourself while solving practice exercises too. By doing so you are actually working upon improving your speed simultaneously from day one.
So practice, practice and practice.
3 mock tests a week keep your preparation fit
Taking tests will increase your comfort level and boost your confidence. Don’t do more than 3 mock tests a week. Just taking a test is not important. In fact what is more important is its in depth analysis. Spend 1 day taking the test and another day in analysing it in details. Don’t forget you’ve to study various topics of each section and then revise those on regular basis. While analysing a test, you have to figure out
- Why I could not solve this question?
- What is the correct solution?
- Is there any alternative solution to the question?
- Which method is better?
- What are my strength areas?
- Which are the areas I need to work upon?
- Which are the topics whose questions I am able to solve mostly correctly? You need to accelerate your speed here.
- Am I attempting less number of questions but achieving high accuracy or am I solving more number of questions but getting them generally wrong?
Maintain a record of total number of questions, number of questions attempted number of answers correct and number of answers wrong. Initially it may seem like a tedious exercise to fill up this table every time you take a test but overtime it will aid you immensely in analysing yourself and making judgements.
So many times I have come across students who feel that tests are for the end once you have prepared all the topics. Sorry to say that this is a wrong notion. First of all you will never have ‘completely’ prepared all the topics, something or the other will always need ‘still more’ practice.
Secondly, I feel, barring a few topics, say alligation, you are already familiar with 90% of the topics as they have already been taught at school. What you have not learnt at school are shortcuts and tricks which you are learning for competitive examinations. Isn’t it?
So please start taking tests from an early phase even if you have not ‘prepared’ certain topics. Do not feel shy of lower scores initially. You will not be hanging your result on the notice board for others to see! Believe me, this habit will be crucial to help you balance speed and accuracy effectively and efficiently.
Keep your Handbook handy
Prepare a handbook for yourself that contains various tips and tricks, formulae and shortcuts. This will be very handy when you want to brush up a topic later without wasting much time. You might get such books readymade from coaching institutes or other publishers. Generally they are good enough but I feel that preparing one in your own hand and adding new pointers as and when you come across them is always more effective. This is because you can customise it to suit your level of understanding and tailor-make it!
Here I will present a broad list of what you should include in your handbook. I will write a detailed topic wise post later.
- Detailed topic wise gist
- Properties and theorems
- Important formulae
- Squaring techniques
- Cubing techniques
- Table containing fractions and their respective percentage values (from 1 to 1/25 should be sufficient)
- Series of natural numbers
- List of all algebraic identities
- Theorems and riders in geometry pertaining to lines and angles, triangles and circles.
- Table containing circumference, length of diagonal, total surface area and lateral surface area of all 2D shapes and 3D figures.
- Graphical representation of important functions
- Graphical representation of quadratic equations
Your mind will answer all the questions if you’re relaxed
Having listed down so many things to do, I would like to wind up by saying go easy, chill and relax. Push your limits but do not overexert yourself. It will only pressurize you excessively and not do much good. Do fun things during your study period and sleep adequately. Take a walk. Spend some time with yourself in solitude. Listen to music. Smile and have an overall positive attitude. I am sure you will do great. All the best!
Share your thoughts in comments below on how to gain competitive advantage in any competitive examination?