Too many candidates! I study for 12 hours a day, still, find it inadequate, will I crack CAT this time?
Be it Engineering, MBBS or Management Studies or getting into our favourite PhD program, taking an entrance has become MUST! Each year there are a plethora of candidates who score high and correspondingly seats are in limited number in the institutions for higher studies. In such a scenario, it becomes prerogative to conduct a screening in the form of an entrance exam.
Here are some tips and tricks of all time that might help you score the most in any competitive exam.
Classical Conditioning Method of Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian Physiologist who noticed unusual behaviour amongst his dogs. His dogs started salivating when they saw anyone in a lab coat even before the food was given to them. He experimented by using the sound of the bell and the food on the same set of dogs. After a few days, it was found that the dogs started salivating even by listening to the sound of the bell. He deduced this as ‘Classical Conditioning’.
Classical Conditioning is applicable to humans as well. If you practice studying at the same time and the same place for a certain number of days, the brain identifies it has a habit. Try this out to gain focus and making a new habit. Next time you do not have to struggle with studying even for the subjects that you dislike.
Brush up what have you learnt during the day
Are you are taking a coaching for your entrance test? Try summarising everything taught in your class at the end of the day to improve your memory. Repetition is the key to success in many cases. This exercise will make the topics that you have heard in your classroom lecture sink well in your mind.
Smart Work Vs Hard Work
Many of you might have seen that often time the most casual and non-studious student takes away everyone by surprise. You might feel, how did that happen? It is called smart work! While you were putting all your hard work in mugging up the entire book, he just relied on making his concepts clear.
Long hours of meticulous study is not always necessary but whenever you study, try to maintain a complete focus that even a cyclone cannot distract you. Some of us are only comfortable in a very conventional studying pattern, try changing it if the exam is a bit far away. No, it won’t happen the first day, nor on the third, have patience, with regular practice, you will ace it. Refer to the experiment in the first point.
Start with the difficult one as this will demand most of your attention. Line up simpler topics next in line as your mind might get tired. Do not study similar topics one after another, mind loves variety to avoid boredom.
Dr Walter Pauk’s OK4R Reading Method
Dr Walter Pauk conceptualised a reading technique known as the OK4R method, which enables you to grab more information through power reading. Here are the details of the method-
- O for Overview: Simply read the headings, sub-headings, initial section, and synopsis towards the end of the book. It will give you a general thought of what is covered in that part.
- K for Key ideas: Return to the start of the section and attempt to skim through the key thoughts. The main sentence of each passage, italics and striking content, tables, pictures and charts, and bulleted segments that exhibit key thoughts.
- R1 for Reading the topic or chapter from beginning to end: You would have definitely realized by now what is being talked about, go through the whole chapter to fully clarify your understanding.
- R2 for Recall: Set your book aside and record main points of what you have read and take down notes in a few words or sentences. This exercise will hardly take a few minutes, however, it will increase the retention capability to a great extent.
- R3 for Reflect: As the information gathered has been etched in your short-term memory, sift through it to pick only the very important ones. Correlate the knowledge that you have gathered in conjunction with other topics you have studied. This will perfectly embed things in your permanent memory.
- R4 for Review or Revision: Form some quiz type questions sometimes when you are free in relation to the topics that have been covered and sit over the weekends to solve them. This will further make your learning full-proof.
Do not Study Beyond 40 mins at a Stretch
According to various studies conducted by Psychologists, the grasping potentiality of the human brain reduces after 40 minutes due to boredom, lack of attention and any digression. So plan your study in a way that you finish a topic within that amount of space or break it into smaller parts so that learning becomes easier. I hope now you got the answer to why our classes at school always used to be of 40-45 mins?
Use more Infographics
Plato’s ‘Ideal Chair’ was just a mental conception and all other chairs made exactly to the dimensions as proposed in the blueprint are imitations. Psychologists have found that humans mind recognises image even before it understands the meaning of a sound. When I utter ‘Apple’, it is the image that comes to your mind first. So use more flowchart, infographics, videos to clear concepts, basic and critical facts. We always remember them easily.
The procedure to certain mathematical calculations can be very lengthy and time-consuming. Some Vedic Math Scholars mentioned that using Vedic Maths tricks one can do calculations 10-15 times faster than our usual methods. You can learn them easily online on Youtube or through another medium.
Relax and Space out your Brain
Anxiety is one of the major problems that hit students and professionals alike for different reasons. Getting too anxious can distract you from the noble work that you are doing and can adversely affect your memory retention.
Take out time sometime during the evening, especially before bedtime or early in the morning to relax your mind and let go of the anxious build up. This changes the chemical balance of the brain and makes you feel lighter and more focused.
I hope that with consistent efforts you can easily stay focused and perform at your best in the upcoming competitive exams. It is always good to hope big but also keep trying if the dream is not realised the very first time. Enjoy the whole journey of preparing rather than feeling it as an obligation.