Its exam time, the time which gives shivers down the spines of students, parents and teachers alike. People do not plan anything during this time. Even Bollywood does not release high budget films fearing a lack of audience. I am no expert in giving advice about how to crack an exam. But I have given exams for 19 years and have done pretty well in them. Touchwood! I would write this treatise on my experiences.
First thumb rule about any exam is to know that it is not a punishment. If you have studied for the entire session or even half of it, your frustration in the examination hall will be that less. Last minute studies are not at all advisable and they seldom bring success. If your exam is on say 4th April, you should start your studies at least on or before 16th February. That can ensure you at least 60% marks.
Most courses now have internal marks and practicals which are evaluated generally on your performance throughout the session. That generally ensures 15-20 % of your marks even before you sit in the written examinations. That gives you a cushion and you can spearhead your campaign starting with these bonus marks.
Next question is how much to aim for? Well there is no upper limit for which you can aim. But the lower limit should be kept at 60%. In this era of stiff competition marks upwards of 60% or more popularly known as first class always help. And its human habit that a human always likes to win and will do whatever he/she can to achieve it. And I believe, if you all try you will be also achieve it as well.
If we study on our own i.e. self-study, we generally come to know what we are good at and what we are not. The topics we are good at should always outnumber the topics we are not! Another thing we must remember that knowledge does not work on GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) principle. Whatever we have acquired all through our life makes the topic in hand easy to understand and remember. Every topic is connected to some topic we have studied before. The student who can establish this interconnection stands the chance of understanding more as well as scoring more.
Coming back to the exams, we should prepare the topics we understand more than the topics we do not. This advice is for the time just before the exams (say 4-5 days). During the full session, it should be other way around. While preparing the topics, just do not read and leave it. Writing is the best way to study during the examinations. Write whatever you read and learn. Waste a few refills so that you do not have to lose useful marks.
Like all wars, examination can be won only when we are prepared from our side to face whatever the enemy throws at us. Apart from the studies, it is utmost necessary to collect last 5 years question papers and solve each of them successfully. The more practice you have in solving these papers, the more marks will be reflected in your final mark sheet! It would be even nicer if you time your solving of a given paper. Try to finish the paper within the stipulated time. 10 minutes early will be even better.
Another question is that we should write only what we understand or we should mug everything and write. Understanding and writing is the best way and completely mugging the whole subject is the worst. Truly speaking, nobody can mug the whole book and reproduce it in the exams. Understanding is the key to success. Even though it is a regretting advice on the part of a teacher but mugging to a certain limit is not at all bad. An average student cannot understand the whole subject in a given session and even though he is able to understand the concept concerning the topic, he is not able to do the mathematics or the long theoretical discourse that comes along with it. In these cases, it is advisable to mug these portions so that he/she does not lose out on the mark scene. It is not a moral crime at all. But mugging everything is bound to doom not only your results but also your career.
Late night studies do help a lot of students but anxiety and frustration comes with long hours of studying. Hence it would be better if you study in short spans of 2-3 hours and sleep by 12 in the night. Rise early and then study. Many a times a headache due to late nights can hamper your results even if you have prepared well. So, take good care of your health. Watch TV to clear your head. Laugh, talk and study.
It is good to ask others if one has some difficulty but group studies should be avoided at least during the examinations. Group studies generally result in less study and more talk. It also leads to more confusions right at the time of the examinations. This is one time of the year when everyone should follow, Ekla chalo re !!
During the examinations, first try to solve the questions whose answers you know well. Waste a few initial minutes in reading the whole question paper so that you have the idea about what has been asked. Chalk a plan quickly about the order in which you will go through the question paper. Write in a neat and legible handwriting. Never write essays for short answer questions. They hardly help. Do not write gibberish. Stick to the basics and lessen your beating around the bush. Draw necessary diagrams and highlight steps and answers wherever necessary. If you are not sure of the actual answer, your answer should at least tend towards the actual answer. Try to seat for the whole time and recheck the whole paper before giving it to the invigilator. If you find yourself panicking, stop writing for some time. Drink water (always carry your own water bottle), take a deep breath and concentrate again on the paper. It always helps.
Never discuss after a paper is over. Bygone is bygone. Discussions always result in contradictory answers and create suspicions and fear in mind. Hence, after one paper is over we should stop thinking about it and start thinking about the next one. If discussions are that important to someone, they should do it after the final paper is over!
And lastly, do not cheat! And by cheating, I not only mean cheating by the individual but also helping others to cheat. Both are offenses. Examination is an individualistic effort and not a team work. And this should be kept in mind always. Better make this resolution in your mind:
I will not cheat and write only upto my full potential. My result will be the creation of my own hard work and will not be aided by anyone!