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How to Succeed in Exams

Almost every student who appears in an examination would like to score the highest possible marks. A student who does well in examinations is regarded as intelligent, hardworking or both. We all know that it is necessary to be intelligent and hardworking in order to do well in examinations, but few realize fully that there is much more to success in examinations than merely being hardworking and intelligent. There are a number of other measures and techniques required to do well in examinations. The very best of students follow many of these techniques instinctively or by training. Knowing these techniques an average student can get brilliant results and a good one may reach the heights of excellence.

Good health, if not a robust one is an essential prerequisite to success in most things including examinations. The mind and the body are dependent upon each other. If one deteriorates, the other is likely to deteriorate sooner rather than later. A fundamental requirement for maintaining good health is physical exercise. Physical activity not only improves health but it also improves circulation of fresh healthy blood to the brain. It improves alertness and concentration, a must for a brilliant performance in any examinations. About forty minutes of brisk physical activity, five or six times a week, appears to be sufficient for most students. Too much can distract. It can reduce the time available for study. Food has an effect not only on our health but also in the way we feel and think. We may not notice this always but you can be sure that everything you eat contributes in some way to your thinking as well. We only notice the change when the effect is dramatic as for example with strong coffee or alcohol. But you can be sure that even the humble vegetable you eat has some subtle effect on your psyche and behavior. Good food is required for good health. If you have to appear in an examination this food has to be good not just for your body but for your intellect also. Yogurt or fish if available daily in a meal accompanied by vegetables, bread, rice or potatoes is one of the best foods to consume for students from an intellectual point of view. Fresh leafy vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce or spinach are full of beneficial nutrients and chlorophyll and must be included in some of the meals. Consumption of eggs as a regular part of diet helps to improve health and vitality in general.

There is no denying the fact that much study is a necessity for doing well in examinations. How much should one study? The simple answer is as much as you can. Most top ranking students spend all of their available time studying, beginning several months before an examination. However studying much does not mean missing out on other essential duties such as bathing, physical exercise, meditation etc. An adequate amount of sleep is necessary. An adequate amount of sleep is such that one does not feel sleepy during the rest of the day. Start a revision program in good time before the exams. Whilst you do not want to tire yourself out too early, leaving revision too late is a common cause for stress. Sometimes students avoid study as tiring work. However doing work often takes less effort than avoiding doing work.

A healthy respect for punctuality and time schedules is desirable for the good student. When time schedules go wrong – as they do at times – it is usually because they were planned too tightly and did not allow for sufficient flexibility: Time schedules need plenty of blank space to allow for the unexpected.

A student studies from books and classroom notes. As studies progress it is a profitable practice to make a new set of personal notes in brief outline form. This should be maintained in a separate bound register or notebook (not loose sheets). They must be made out as neatly as possible with neat headings for each topic. Never prepare these notes in a crowded style that saves paper, but rather in an open style with much white space around the written matter. Such blank spaces improve absorption of material during revisions. Blank spaces also come in handy for inserting an additional note if required. Just the process of preparing neat elegant notes will greatly assist the process of assimilating subject matter. Such notes shall also be extremely useful for last minute revisions just before the examinations.

An important thing to study besides the subject is the type and pattern of examination to be held. Each examination has its own unique pattern and that must be studied if one wishes to do well in an examination. In order to do this one has to locate question papers from previous years for the same examinations. Question papers of famous and popular examinations such as TOEFEL, GRE, GMAT, CAT, and JEE etc. are available in book forms. Often local libraries maintain old question papers of local school or college examinations. Another source is seniors who have taken that examination before. Seniors can provide useful tips besides old question papers. What if the examination is completely new and being held for the first time! In this case look up similar examinations of similar subjects. In a university, try and look up other examinations of the same Professor even in a different subject. Each Prof has his own pet peeves. Most examinations follow a pattern that they repeat year after year. Knowing the pattern in advance gives you an edge.

Some students fret and worry before an examination. A few can even work themselves up into a fever. All this happens because they have not yet developed the attitude that produces best results. The most important thing to realize is that whatever study, magic, prayer or anything else that you can do on the last day is not going to make any big difference to the results. The time for worry and study was over yesterday. There is one thing though that can effectively spoil your results now and that is worrying and fretting. That is the worst thing to do. Therefore loosen up and relax. The results will be what they will be. No academic exam is the end of a life. So what, even if one fails! Great successes often follow great failures. Get all thoughts of the results out of your mind. Leave them in the hands of the Almighty or fate if you do not believe in the Almighty. Your job now is to play your part well and the best way is to relax and do your best. Best of Luck!

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