10 tips to study effectively before exams

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10 tips to study effectively for long hours right before exams

For those of you who neglect your textbooks all through the year, exams turn into a nightmare. It becomes a race to see how fast you can cram a year’s worth of syllabus. With the Board exams around the corner, there are many of you probably doing the same.

During a time of such intense exam pressure, you first need to realise that studying for 12 hours a day is not something very healthy and you can rarely, if ever, adapt yourself to doing something like that.

What is most effective is studying with full concentration in small pockets and taking short breaks in between. Your focus shouldn’t be on HOW LONG you studied but on HOW MUCH you studied.

Here are a few tips that can make your long study sessions the most effective and help you concentrate the most:


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Study smaller quantities of syllabus every day instead of taking on huge portions. If you hurry with all the chapters you haven’t yet covered, you will be able to memorise very little of it for exam day.


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The optimal period of continuous study is 2 hours. Each period of 2 hours can again be broken down into slots of 25 minutes of solid studying followed by 5 minutes of break.

If you need to continue studying, take longer breaks of around 20 minutes after every 2 hours.


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When you are on ‘break’, you should keep your mind free from any exam related thoughts or stress. If you use the break time to discuss the syllabus with friends or plan your next round of studying, then your mind is not on a break.

If your mind doesn’t take a break, the next round of studying is not going to be as effective.


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Study material in a syllabus can be divided into core material and elaborative material. While core material consists of important principles, theorems, formulae, important diagrams and graphs, elaborative material consists of examples, quotes, illustrations etc.

As much as 80 per cent of the questions asked in an exam are likely to come from the core material. So, if you are struggling with unfinished syllabus, concentrate on the core material of the different subjects.

Moreover, study the question patterns of the last few years and make sure you are not spending too much time on topics that are highly unlikely to be asked in the exam.


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Before you schedule your study list for the day, you need to take into account that the subjects we learn can be divided into three categories:

Memory dependant subjects like Biology, History and Geography, which contain a lot of material that need to be mugged up.

Problem-solving subjects such as Maths and Physics.

Interpretation based subjects such as English Literature and literature papers from other languages.

For most effective studying, you should alternate between each category of subjects in long study periods.


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Reading the chapters and highlighting important portions help a lot, but when you write down the important points you read in a piece of rough paper or your notebook, it helps you retain information even more.