The initial step towards your preparation for any competitive examination is to know and understand the pre-requisites for the examination. You must in detail scan through the syllabus of the exam (you can get that easily on the Internet). Besides the syllabus, you must make a note of the marks criteria of different subjects, so that you can plan your preparation accordingly. Going through a few previous years’ questions papers assists to get an idea about the exam pattern.
1. Create and follow a time table
Once you understand ‘What to prepare?’ then it’s time to plan ‘How to prepare?’ Create a time-table with both short-term as well as long-term goals that would help you in timely preparation for the exam. A time table makes you more disciplined towards your study pattern and helps you in getting rid of haphazardness.
Few points that you should consider while making a time table are:
- Set goals that you can achieve (neither too high nor too low targets)
- Block your study hours during those times of the day when you think you are the most active & can concentrate properly.
- Use more time for the most difficult subject.
- Do not block study hours at a stretch, keep some time for short breaks in between.
To make a time table is easy, but following it, in the same manner, is a more challenging part. Do not procrastinate; the tasks decided for today must not be delayed to tomorrow.
2. Focus on concepts – No rote learning
Focus on understanding the concepts all over your preparation. Do not try to adopt rote learning technique. Understanding helps you to easily remember the concepts and that too for a very long period of time. Furthermore, with a precise understanding of the concepts, you can easily handle questions related to those concepts.
You can also make your own memory tips or innovative acronyms to remember formula or equations or difficult terminologies. You should always make certain short notes in your own way, as they help you to revise easily, a few days before the exam.
3. Self-evaluation is very important
Studying alone doesn’t complete your preparation. You have to evaluate yourself time-to-time for effective preparation. You should opt to write sample papers for the competitive exam you are preparing for.
You should consider a few points while writing sample papers:
- Set up an exam-like environment and then attempt the sample paper at a stretch without taking breaks within a specific time. For instance, if your exam is going to be of three hours, you should attempt the sample paper also in three hours.
- Evaluate and analyze your answer sheet properly. Quickly go through the questions for which you gave incorrect answers or couldn’t answer. Do not forget to revise those topics promptly.
- Verify your speed and accuracy while writing the sample papers.
- Sample papers help you to achieve confidence and also help you to get used to writing exams. It also assists you to come up with your own strategy of attempting the questions.
- Do not try to do guesswork if there is negative marking in the competitive exam you are preparing for.
4. Be positive and confident
‘Belief’ is an extremely powerful tool. You must trust in yourself and your preparation. Make sure that you study the same way throughout the year, to avoid last minute hurry and stress. Before going off to sleep, spend 10-15 minutes to quickly recap all that you learnt throughout the day.
A little bit of physical activity and meditation helps to improve concentration. Do not take stress throughout the entire preparation time; in fact you must stay away from stressful people also. Each and every moment you must remind yourself by saying” I Can, I Will” and trust me you will do it!