How to Prepare for a Competitive Exam

How to Prepare for a Competitive Exam

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How to Prepare for anything is a big question in itself.

Preparing for a competitive exam can be an extremely daunting task for anyone. The stress and pressure are enough to give anyone a shiver. But, with effective study methods and strategies, this can be overcome and confidence can be restored within yourself. So today we will be going over some of these strategies and tactics to help up your chances of acing the competitive exam.

Arguably the most important thing to do is not stress yourself out. This can be crucial in determining what sort of score you get. What many people do not realize is that even if you are confident and really do know you work, stress can cause you to doubt yourself and your ability which will damper your confidence and make you stress out even more. Stress will not bring anything good and will only serve to make the situation worse. Managing your stress, therefore becomes a key component to doing well in the competitive exam. Remember that you have dedicated time and effort into this and you want to succeed. This will help you relieve some stress and calm you down. Exercising can help you stay active and also lower your stress levels. Even going for a stroll around your neighborhood and getting some fresh air can reduce stress. Staying in the house or library for long periods of time can get you worked up and reduce your tendency to study effectively. Getting fresh air every few hours greatly increases your productivity. Another way of managing stress is eating healthy. This may not seem significant but it makes a big difference if your diet consists of healthy and nutritious food instead of fatty and unhealthy foods. Unhealthy foods tend to make you feel lackluster and lazy whereas healthy foods give you energy and can help keep you focused for long periods of time. Energy drinks should also be avoided. Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated as this aids the brain in thinking and concentrating clearly. This is especially important on the day of the test. Remember, stress is your worst enemy.

Creating a routine and study timetable greatly influences how much studying you can get done and how effective your studying is. This involves thinking up and brainstorming the best way to study according to your schedule and lifestyle. Creating a timetable for each day until the exam will allow you to visualize how much time you have until your exam. It allows you to allocate sufficient time for each section and topic or allocate more time to harder, more complex topics. Detailing a schedule for each day is even more effective. This gives you a pre- determined set of things to follow which makes you try and accomplish them. This should be done according to how your day is going to go. For example, if you work a nine to five job every weekday then allocate one hour for eating and resting once you get home, then an hour of studying, and lastly a fifteen-minute resting period. Your weekend schedule would then look different to this as you have more free time and thus more time to study. Coming up with a routine is entirely up to you and depends on what you are comfortable with.

Many students do not know how to study effectively. Studying effectively can greatly improve your productivity and it allows you to get more work done in less amount of time. As the famous saying goes, one should work smart not work hard. How you study the material for the exam is also very important. Merely putting your head down and reading all the coursework will not help you ace the exam. You have to think logically about it. Divide it up into sections and highlight or ring keywords and points. Only read through sections that are of less importance and focus on the more important sections. Writing down also helps the brain in retaining information so one should consider writing down all the important information and use those notes to study with. Repetition helps a great deal in understanding core concepts and terms while expanding your understanding of the overall section. 
A lot of students fall short on their exams and do not get good marks for not answering the exam paper well. They studied a great deal and put in a lot of effort but the exam score does not reflect all the hard work, why? This Is due to the fact that they do not effectively answer the exam paper. What is meant by this is that you should have a strategy on how you will be answering the exam paper. For example, managing your time is crucial. Work out how much time you have for each question and work accordingly. This will prevent you from spending too much time on one question and also give you extra time once you are finished to go over and review other questions. You can also allocate extra time for difficult sections and less time for simple sections. Another tactic to implement it working through the easier sections and sections you know very well first. This will ensure that you complete all the topics where you are likely to score the most marks and have more time to complete topics that you are not so good at or that require more time. Many students make the mistake of not doing this and as such lose out on marks, they would have gotten more easily. They spend more time on sections that take up more time and effort and yield fewer marks. Consider working to your strengths and working well with the time given to greatly improve your chances of getting a higher score. 

Writing a competitive exam can overwhelm you at times but it is important to know that you CAN do it. Positivism is key and if you implement the strategies mentioned above, you are guaranteed to ace the competitive exam and go on to do much greater things!

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Swati Upadhyay

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