• Abhilasha Iyer

7 Study Tips to Ease the Exam Pressure

By Suraj Rao

The joy of acing exams at school is priceless. We have always been advised to work hard and spend a lot of time preparing for exams. Sometimes we do wish for more time, to revise a subject for one last time before the exam. It is of course important to work hard. However, smart work gets a lot more done in a short time. It helps us buy more time and use it efficiently.

What if I told you that some of the toppers spend less time and get more done? Yep!! You read it right. The secret lies in understanding and sticking to effective strategies and techniques of preparation. Here are 7 techniques to help you out in this exam season.

1. Exam Timetables

Source: Jess Bailey

It is very important to plan our studies in advance. At least plan for an entire week and gradually build it onto a month. Calendars help in keeping our work organized. Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, each of us has specific time that we are most productive. Schedule your timetable accordingly. If you work best in the early morning, choose a challenging subject and spend an hour on it.

Check out Go Conquer, a free study planner available online.

2. SMART Goal Setting

Source : Buffini and Company Resources

While planning, set SMART goals (more on Mnemonics in a while). The goal must be

· [S] Specific – Be specific on what you want to achieve.

· [M] Measurable – As you work, measure the progress.

· [A] Achievable – Set goals that are achievable.

· [R] Relevant – Actions towards the goal must be relevant and realistic.

· [T]Time Bound – Set specific timeline for the goal.

For example, mastering Mathematics is too vague. Mastering algebraic linear equations in a week is specific and time bounded. Solve five problems a day and check how many answers turn out right – measurable. Solving five problems each day is much more realistic than solving 30 problems in one day. Make sure you have the right resources such as class notes, text books or relevant video lesson to achieve this goal.

Here watch this video to understand how to set SMART Goals. To download a SMART Goal template click here

3. Note-taking

Source: The Sketch Effect

Keep your notes neat and organized. Involve both the parts of your brain. Using different colours in your notes engages the right hemisphere while the words engage the left. Get creative. Use your own words. Give up full sentences. Write the main idea of the sentence in a word or two. Use short forms and doodle. Review your notes right after class and right before bed.

Use different colours and fonts on Evernote and OneNote and start taking notes right away.

4. Magic of Mnemonics [MoM]

Mnemonics is a simple memory tool to memorise and remember information. It is easy to remember things in a particular order with mnemonics. For example, to remember the seven coordinating conjunctions in English, use FANBOYS – For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So.

A sentence could also be used as mnemonics: “My Very Elegant Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets” – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Let us know your favourite mnemonic in the comment section below

5. Pomdoro Technique

Source: Sketch Planations

Pomodoro is an Italian word for Tomato. Pomodoro is a powerful technique for productivity introduced by Francesco Cirillo. It is both simple and effective. The task to be accomplished is decided before hand. The timer is set for 25 minutes in which undivided attention is given to the task. After 25 minutes a break of 5 minutes refreshes the mind. This is repeated for 4 sessions. After every 4 sessions, a longer break of about 20 minutes is chosen. This technique helps us break a bigger task into smaller chunks.

Try out this Pomodoro App right away and let us know your experience in the comment section below.

6. Eisenhower Matrix

Source: Develop Good Habits

Eisenhower Matrix is a technique developed by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th US President. It organizes the work based on importance. It consists of four quadrants.

· Do : Do It Now - The work that is important and urgent. The assignment that is due tomorrow comes in this quadrant.

· Decide: Schedule a Time - The work that is important but not that urgent. Revision for the test due in two weeks

· Delegate : Ask for Help - The work that is not important but urgent. Sharing notes with your friends.

· Delete : Ignore It - The work that is not important and not urgent. Playing an extra round of video games

The work that falls under urgent-important and not urgent important is given first preference. You could ask a friend to help you with the work that is not important but urgent – ask another friend to share the notes. The work that is neither important nor urgent is completely ignored.

7. Teach to Learn Better

Teaching what we have learnt is yet another powerful tool. Firstly, we share the knowledge we have. Secondly, it helps us recognize the gaps in our own understanding.

It also gives us different perspectives on the subject matter since not all people understand the concepts in the same way. That is, it forces us to come up with different explanations and analogies to understand the subject.

Source: Wikiquote

Richard Feynman, a famous Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, was successful in his teaching technique as he motivated his students to teach the concepts of theoretical physics to the class. You could catch up with your friend and plan on a topic each. After a week, explain the topics to each other and figure out where the gap in your understanding lies.

8. Test Patterns

Human mind is adept at recognizing patterns. As this comes to us naturally, this technique is very powerful. Start with the end goal in mind. Try and understand the pattern of the test question paper. Skim through multiple question papers; recognize and record the pattern. Prioritize the most repeated question, prepare for this question first.

Consider attempting as many mock tests as possible as this helps you predict the questions easily.

What study tip or strategy has helped you ace through your test/exam?

Have you used any of these techniques before?

Check out personality based learning style at QShala for more.

Tell us in the comments below