Do you ever feel as if your study habits aren’t up to par? Do you ever wonder what you could be doing to improve your grades and test scores? If you’re preparing for competitive exams like IIT-JEE (Mains and Advanced) or NEET in addition to board exams, you’ll need to master the art of studying.
A student who attends regular school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a coaching institute from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. rarely has time for self-study after returning home. Students who have mastered the art of studying can confidently prepare for board and competitive examinations.
If cooking, painting, guitar playing, and dancing are all forms of art, then studying is also an art. Every art form has a format, and studying is no exception. Few children learn this skill through their parents, teachers, or peers. Few people learn this art as a youngster, few in high school, and even fewer in college. Is it, however, possible for anyone to learn and master this art? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
If that’s the case, what’s the best way to go about it?
Identify, Plan and follow a Schedule
Identify: Understand that education or regular studies are not merely for the aim of passing or excelling in exams; the goal is far bigger, and the benefits will be experienced later in life. Your daily efforts are more important than the preparation you do for exams. Regardless of how hectic your schedule is, set aside some time in the morning before going to school or at night after dinner for studies.
Depending on the class you are studying you have to fix 30-45min per subject and daily you have to study only two subjects. Come what may, you should not miss this schedule.
Plan: You should be aware that the school and coaching curricula do not coincide. Schoolwork must be completed either in school or during your transit time from school to home or home to coaching. The majority of your at-home self-study should be on syllabus covered in coaching. Distributed practice—spacing out your studying over multiple short periods of time over several days and weeks—is one of the most effective learning strategies. (Pomodoro Technique)
Follow: Make a habit of self-evaluation on a weekly basis. You can get some practise tests on the topics you studied last week by downloading some mock exam papers. A recommended habit is to do a three-hour self-test every Sunday. Keep track of your weekly score and reward yourself as it improves. This will encourage you to follow to the schedule.
Reading is not studying
Do you have a habit of reading textbook or putting self-notes in them? STOP RIGHT NOW! It isn’t studying; it is a waste of time.Reading and re-reading texts or notes isn’t the same as actively engaging in the material. It’s as simple as going over your notes again. Highlighting or underlining text, re-reading, or rote memorisation are not examples of active studying. Jot down important points while your faculty is giving notes in the class and use it as reference when needed.
The Art of Studying
Allow me to ask a question to you. In an English exam, how do you approach a comprehension passage? Do you read the complete comprehension chapter and respond to the questions, or do you read the question and search the text for the appropriate answer? We obviously look for the correct answer in the text. We do so to save time. Why, therefore, do you spend hours at home reading the text from the books before answering the questions? Isn’t this a complete waste of time?
- Understanding the concept, not mere memorisation, is the goal of studying. You must solve the problems provided in your study material in order to grasp the subject. Even if you’re fresh to the chapter, don’t read the text.
- The majority of the coaching institute’s materials include questions after each chapter’s content. Through the use of problems, you will be able to grasp the topic. Go straight to the problem section. Read the question and if you can’t answer it, go to the portion of the text where the answer is, much like in an English test.
- Choosing the right kind of study material is also crucial. You must stick to the study materials provided by your coaching institute and not rely on other sources.
- Understand that the amount of grip you have in a chapter/concept is more important than the quantity of questions you solve in that chapter. Avoid using multiple sources for the same chapter.
- Make a list of the most important points from each problem as your notes. This information is invaluable and will aid you in revising the chapter at a later date.
- Solving previous year’s questions will also assist you in recognising key concepts in the chapter.
- Many coaching institutes use a weekly/fortnightly/All India Test Series testing structure. You must study and analyse the previous year’s questions in those tests before writing a test in your coaching.
- The questions which you failed to attempt in the exam are very important. Concepts behind those questions are your weak areas. Highlight those concepts back into your self notes
If you have a complete day at your disposal like a holiday and you planned to utilise the maximum time for your studies then plan your day in advance. The art of sitting for long hours for studies comes through short breaks you take in regular intervals. During the short break you should completely distract yourself from studies and do some physical/mental activities. Avoid using mobile or watching TV during these breaks.
Sleep & Exercise
An abundance of Alpha Waves are produced in the brain and have the dual effects of increasing productivity and memory, while simultaneously lowering stress and despair. Right before going to bed, people’s brains produce these alpha waves when they awaken. Studies are best done after a mild cardio workout or a few minutes of meditation.
Scientifically, active students learn better. Exercising increases brain blood and oxygen. Exercise releases dopamine, which boosts motivation, productivity, and focus.
Share your thoughts about the study tips and techniques below. Have any questions? Leave those as well and we’ll help you out.