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6 Dos and Don’ts of any entrance exam preparation

Team StoryWeavers|March 31, 2020|

Preparing for JEE/NEET and other related entrance exams can be a daunting task for many students. Problems like, ‘I don’t have enough time’ or ‘the course material is too wide to cover’ are often the most heard peeves. While almost every teacher provides guidance on what to study, not many explain how to study. Today we discuss some proven scientific study techniques to help you prepare for the upcoming entrance exams.

 The Dos

  1. Influence your habits through psychologist Ivan Pavlov’s experiment: Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiment ‘classical conditioning’ is a form of learning whereby you condition your brain to associate a stimulus/event with another unrelated stimulus/event. Pavlov did this experiment on a dog, where every time the dog was fed food, they first rang a bell. So eventually the dog started associating the sound of the bell with food being served. As a result, the dog would start salivating at the sound of a bell. You can use this experiment to your advantage. Let’s say you studying every day at a fixed time.  Eventually, as soon as the clock will strike that particular hour, your brain will put you in the mood to study.
  2. Plan your study with the OK4R technique: OK4R is a study method developed by Dr Walter Pauk that is designed to help you retain your textbook readings. This can be very helpful in your entrance exam preparations. Here’s how it goes:
    1. O – Overview: Start first by gathering a general idea of the topic. Read the introductory paragraph, headings, sub-headings, and summary at the end of the chapter. 
    2. K – Key ideas: Referring to the introduction, identify the key ideas. Usually, authors write them in the first sentences of each paragraph, sometimes these are in bold or italics or in the illustrations.
    3. R1 – Reading: Quickly read through the chapter/section from the beginning till the end once. Explore and understand the main concepts discussed. 
    4. R2 – Recall: Make your own notes of the chapter. This will be like your own summary of the chapter. Immediate recall takes much less time but will stay with you for the long-run.
    5. R3 – Reflect: Here is where you try to establish the relationship of this chapter with the other chapters in your syllabus. This is important as competitive exams have questions that test conceptual understanding from across the syllabus. 
    6. R4 –  Review/ Revision: Revise the chapter after a few days again,  you can use the summary you made in R2. Revising will help you in remembering the key concepts while writing your competitive exams. 
  3. Start with easier topics first: The syllabus for competitive exams is always vast. Finishing off the easier topics first gives the satisfaction of having covered a certain portion of the vast course. It motivates you further to finish off the rest of the syllabus and gives you a psychological edge. You can also try mixing-up the topics, by doing one easy and a couple of difficult topics simultaneously. This will help you in establishing a good pace in covering your entrance exam syllabus.
  4. Study in short sprints: Studies show that after 30-45 minutes of concentrating, your brain starts retaining lesser information. So study in small sessions. You could use the Pomodoro technique
  5. Use colours: While highlighting/marking your important pointers in your competitive exam books, try to use different colours for different categories of pointers. For example, you can use blue to highlight a formula, yellow for the names of principles/theories, green for the names of elements or parts of an organ/system/process, etc. Some psychological studies show that the use of colours is helpful in memorising.
  6. Change what your study area looks like: While studying at your study table might be working fine for you, once in a while, try studying in your balcony or other rooms. This simple trick can be quite refreshing for your brain.

The Don’ts:

  1. Avoid mugging-up your syllabus: When you understand concepts, you don’t need to mug them up. Always aim at conceptual understanding. That’ll relieve you from the pressure to mug up vast amounts of information. 
  2. Avoid procrastinating: Act on your plans as soon as you make them. The more you start delaying it, the less likely you will be to stick to it.
  3. Avoid socialising: These last few days are extremely crucial in your competitive exam preparation. Use this time judiciously. Try and avoid spending too much time socialising with friends or family. It’s just a matter of a few days.
  4. Don’t keep your phone in the same room: Many competitive exam toppers state that they avoided social media of any sort while preparing for their competitive exams. At least in the last few months of their preparation. Taking such steps will keep you from getting distracted.
  5. Don’t avoid sleep: Not getting enough sleep for many days at a row can adversely affect your health in the long run. Health problems like memory loss, inability to concentrate, acidity, hair fall, acne amongst many other issues can occur due to lack of sleep. Remember that exams are a tiny part of life, but being healthy is a must forever.
  6. Don’t avoid exercising: Preparing for any competitive exams can be stressful for the mind and body. After sleep, exercise is the most important step you can take to save yourself from burning out. Studying requires you to sit in one position for long spells. To avoid that, start with simple exercises like running, skipping, stretching or yoga. Meditation for at least 20 mins a day can also prove effective in keeping you calm and receptive.

As per some sources, there are more than 2.5 lakh students who have registered for JEE Mains 2020. Similarly, more than 15 lakh students have registered for NEET 2020. Needless to say, the competition this year is fierce. but these tips should help take some of the edge off. For any doubts, you can reach out to your BYJU’S mentors who are always ready to help you with anything study-related. 

Tell us in the comment section if this article was helpful for you. Read more articles like this.

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About the Author


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Charu Verma

Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at storyweavers@byjus.com to share anything that you think is worth sharing.

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