‘Competitive exams’ are two words that invoke stress and anxiety in many students. Competitive exams involve more large-scale assessments than the familiar school exams. The stakes are high since most of these exams are a stepping stone toward students’ dream careers and as a result, students feel pressurised to give their best.
It is also important to know that hard work is always not enough. Exam-induced stress causes students to make more mistakes than usual, leading to undesirable results. These mistakes are often silly errors that can be avoided when one is mindful of them. There are other tools such as time management, problem-solving skills, self-confidence, etc. that help students achieve their goals. In this article, we explore some common mistakes that students can avoid while preparing for competitive exams.
Mugging up chunks of information from your textbook may help you cover the syllabus faster, maybe even fetch you a couple of marks in school exams but will be of no help in competitive exams. Students are less likely to actually understand the concept when they learn by rote. When one doesn’t comprehend the meaning and the logic of a topic, it’s tough to recall the information when under pressure.
Moreover, you may not be able to answer application-based questions when you lack conceptual understanding. Know that competitive exams test your understanding and skills with respect to a subject — hence learning and not mugging up helps you perform better.
Mock tests are a great way to test your knowledge of the subject. A common habit among most toppers is that they attend as many mock tests as possible to get real-time exam experience. When you attempt mock tests, you not only get familiar with the exam pattern but also will be able to assess how well you function under pressure. It will expose your weaknesses and enable you to turn them into your strengths. Practice tests are a rewarding way to boost your time management skills. Therefore, make sure you attempt enough mock tests when your exams are around the corner.
After you’ve attended a mock test, make sure you thoroughly analyse your performance to understand what your problem areas are. There is no point in taking up mock tests if you continue to make the same mistakes again. Re-attempt the challenging questions and solve them — this way you are less likely to make the same error.
A smart way to improve your performance is to take a targeted approach — recognise topics that you’re less confident in and work on improving them with practice. Assess your progress over time and compare your performance in consecutive mock tests to keep your learning curve growing.
Information overload is very common among students preparing for competitive exams and can have huge repercussions. Out of the fear of missing out on important topics, students tend to buy dozens of textbooks that may not provide the right guidance and eventually causes more confusion.
A key part of your preparation should involve researching the most recommended books for the competitive exam you’ve chosen. You may also ask your peers or seniors and refer to only those books during your prep. For JEE and NEET, most questions are from the NCERT syllabus of classes 11 and 12.
Most students start their exam preparation so last minute that they barely have any time left for revision. It is important to understand the significance of revision. When you revise, you revisit concepts — which means you will be able to recall them better during crucial moments of the exam. Revising helps your memory hold on to important details which further adds to your efforts toward achieving your goals. Mock tests can be one way to revise and practice for exams. Make sure you plan your schedule backwards, in such a way that you dedicate enough time to revise before the exams.
Time management skills are not just limited to the preparation stage alone. One of the most challenging aspects of competitive exams is managing your time in the exam hall.
Make a habit of timing your mock tests once you get familiar with the exam pattern. Observe how much time you spend on each question and compare it with the optimum time you ought to spend per section. This will help you plan your time efficiently — a rewarding strategy that can definitely add to your confidence.
Remember, while mock tests and daily tests help, their results do not define your potential. Your capabilities are not limited to a scorecard. Tests are merely a way of understanding your progress and are meant to help you improve and reach your potential. The key takeaway should be to acknowledge your weaknesses and work on strengthening them.
What are some common mistakes that you make? How are you working towards correcting them? Tell us in the comments below!
As an introverted teen who loved reading crime-thriller novels, Ashritha knew she was destined to be a writer. Like Dumbledore, Ashritha is a strong believer in the magic of words. She finds joy in the little things — a long walk at dawn, sipping a cup of filter coffee watching the sunset, or rewatching old rom-com movies that make her heart smile.
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.