How to prepare for any exam in less time

I like studying, but I hate studying for an exam. This is because I can read whatever I want, any topic, whenever I want. I can understand the subject without having to memorize anything. But that is not the case with exams. Even now, most of our exams are based on retention of facts, not understanding of concepts. That being said, we have to give exams to get those admissions and those degrees.

Am I the right person to teach you this? I have been consistently an above-average student without much effort throughout my school and college life. I have this habit of studying the subjects right from day 1 of lectures but most of that is either not important from exam point of view or straight away outside syllabus. When exams approach, I buckle up and start preparing for the exam.

If you follow this guide, I guarantee you that your marks and grades will improve by a large margin while spending less time studying. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Talk to your professor

This is most crucial in studying for exams. Even if you are shy, you have to get this done. Ask them what does the examiner expect a student to write in the paper? Which material should you focus on? In case of subjective exams- is there a format of writing? Is there a technique to proceed (introduction-body-conclusion)? Do they expect answers to be of a specific number of pages? Are there any sure-shot questions that will be asked?

Memorize faster with blind recall

If you have to learn a bunch of facts, do this- read the topic out loud and focus fully on it. Then close your eyes and try to recall it. Repeat it a few times until you can recall the material with your eyes closed. Then, close the book and write down what you remember. After writing, check the book to verify. Then write again. This way, you will learn a lot of material in much less time. This is so much better and faster than learning by repeating ten, twenty, hundred times. Do this every day so and keep revising as well.

Meditation for brain exercise

Meditation is very important not just during exams but on all days. Meditation is to your mind what working out is to your body. Read this article for the best method to start meditation with just 5 minutes of your time. Remember to include in your affirmations this: I am going to do great in the exam!

Work out your body to stimulate your brain

Your mind and body are closely related. Regular exercise in small amounts will boost your memory retention. Plus, it’s boring to be cooped up in your room all day studying. Walk, run, cycle, go to the gym or pursue whichever activity you enjoy. Bonus points if you play a sport with friends. Socializing plus exercise- Sweet! Limit working out to about 50-70% of your regular stamina to avoid being too tired. Don’t spend too much time on it either. 30 minutes a day is good enough. Best to do it outdoors, at sunrise or sunset.

Eliminate distractions

While you may think they are good ways to relax, TV and internet have the problem of staying on our mind even when you are doing something else. As opposed to that, I’ve found that music is excellent, especially music without lyrics. Listen to classical music or video game soundtracks between study sessions and even during study sessions for fun study! There are even playlists online titled exam playlists/ study playlists.

Get proper sleep and nutrition

Neglecting your health will reduce your learning capacity. Make sure to stay in top health to maximize productivity.

Quality vs quantity

Don’t count the hours, track the syllabus remaining

Bonus: cold showers to wake your brain, hot shower to de-stress

Cold-water showers will shock your body and wake up your brain. You need that boost in brain activity to study better. However on exam day, your brain might get too active and stress out, hence take a hot shower to relax.

It has been a month since my last post here, I was busy preparing for my own exams! Big thanks to everyone who kept my enthusiasm alive by asking “When’s the new article coming?” Expect the usual two articles per week from now on. Thank you for your patience and continued support!

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