Most undergraduate students view exam prep as a drill for the kill. Whatever be the format, traditional written exam or the fairly new-age online one, training for any standardized evaluation of learning is usually associated with its own set of emotions ranging from doubt and discomfort to acute dismay and distress.
But relax. Here’s a roundup of some easy-to-follow rules from someone who has walked the talk himself. Dhruv Sampat, the young founder of Studypaq, a new edtech entrant for students in the US and Canada, spent a good part of his student years in the US.
Use the tips to decode exam preparation.
- Say Yes to Learning, No to Cramming – Whatever be your chosen field of study, Dhruv advises to learn through understanding the subject followed by practice vis-à-vis learning by rote. Memorization may be good for primary school learners just starting out on their academic journey but is usually ineffective beyond this. Spend time trying to “understand” the lessons. Study in a group or with a like-minded friend. Approach your professor or student assistant. Seek help from professional academic tutors.
- Keep switching between comfortable study spots – A set place in a room may lead to boredom and fatigue. When you are in for the long haul, it’s a good idea to switch places. The places can be as varied as the personalities of the learners. A café works for one, a library for another, a park bench for a third. A change of setting and environment charges up the brain to enable better learning.
- Eat Good Food – “Now is the time to say bye-bye to junk,” says Dhruv. Your brain cells are firing up as it is. You don’t want the rest of the organs to go into an overdrive, especially your alimentary system. Give it some well-deserved rest by choosing to eat clean and healthy during the weeks leading up to the exam. Plus, nutritious food will boost your systems and keep you focused. Eggs, sardines, avocados, nuts and berries, legumes and beans, whole grains and high cereals, yoghurt, cheese, lean meat, and meat derivatives are recommended by specialists.
- Welcome cardio – No matter how many hours you put into studying try not to miss out on light exercise every day. In fact, cardio goes a long way in enhancing your circulatory system which ensures a good supply of oxygenated blood to your nervous system (read neurones). Neurones are critical in making you focused and improving your concentration. Even if you can’t make it to the gym for lack of time, go for a brisk walk outdoors or cycle around your block or do a couple of laps in the pool. Dhruv was into active sports through his student years and is a huge advocate of cardio.
- Manage your time – Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves. Cut out distractions. Limit your phone time. Minimize social media. Make a timetable for the day and week. Create a fun countdown to the exam with dedicated sections for time out. Leverage modern methods of obtaining information and tutoring.
- Maximize Practice Tests – Practice Tests and worksheets are great tools that help you prep for exams. Students get targeted practice for the big day which helps them gear up through these dummy exams. Academic tutoring programs like Studypaq routinely prepare you through phased and spaced practice sessions that enable you to retrieve your learning and gauge your progress.