Sunday, June 1, 2008

Study Smart

Study Smart


Getting up from the study table again and again when you are studying not only wastes time, it also ruins your concentration. So when you sit down to study, make sure you have all the notes, books and study material for that subject on your desk. Also make sure you have pencils, pens, markers and any other thing that you may require, so you don't have to get up in the middle of your study.

Try and avoid facing a window when you study. You'll get easily distracted by all the activity outside. If you must face a door, keep it shut, so you won't be disturbed by all the goings and comings.

Make sure you have enough light when you study. Not only is poor light bad for the eyes, it also messes up your concentration by making it difficult to read clearly.

If you have a phone in your room or where you study, keep it off the hook or turn the ringer down when you are studying. Don't take any calls at all, without exception. The conversation may be short, but the time it takes to get back into what you were studying is much more.

If you have queries that you need to clarify with friends, don't call them each time you have a problem. Keep noting them down as you go along, and then, when you stop for a break or for a change of subject, call and clarify all the doubts together.

When you're taking a break, take it. Don't think about exams or studies-give your mind a complete break. You'll come back to your books far more refreshed. The mind works with maximum concentration for an hour or so at a time, so you need to give yourself a break after each hour or hour-and-a-half. Don't sit through 4-5 hours at a stretch because you will retain only half of what you study.


You've probably heard this more often than you care to, but make a study chart where you plan what subjects you're going to study when. Stick to it like glue. That way, you won't be able to avoid subjects you find boring.

Carry notes that you need to mug or go through with you while you travel somewhere or wait, maybe at the doctor's. You can maximise the time available to study this way.

Don't fight your natural body rhythm to study when your pals are studying or when you think you should be studying. So, if you're a morning person, don't torture yourself or waste time trying to stay up late. Sleep as early as possible and wake up early. If you're a night bird, do the opposite - freak on food

Eat light when you're studying, but make sure you eat. Heavy food will make you feel drowsy or lazy, and no food will reduce your energy levels so much that you'll get easily exhausted. Eat small, light meals of high-protein food.

Staying up late? That means an overdose of coffee, coke or tea. Give the caffeine a break and keep a flaskful of nimbu paani or tetrapacks of your favourite juice at hand. Won't mess up your sleep either!

Stock up on roasted munchies and snacks instead of deep fried foods like chips. Also, make chaat out of boiled chana or potatoes instead of eating high-cal food that will expand your backside.

revision tips

If you have 5-6 chapters to study but not enough time to study all of them, relax. Don't spend all your time doing detailed study of one chapter. First read through all of them like you read a story. Then go through each chapter at least 3-4 times, without attempting to cram anything. That way, even if you don't get time for detailed study, you'll retain at least some information, rather than be stuck with 5 chapters you know nothing about.

You remember the colours of the rainbow because of words like VIBGYOR. Use the same principle to remind yourself of other words. Like FREECC to remember the fundamental rights - Freedom, Religion, Expression, Exploitation, Cultural and Constitutional. The options are endless and the method - simple!

If you have a cassette recorder a home, record the points you need to remember subject wise on a tape. That way, you can listen to them while doing other stuff like cleaning your cupboard, brushing your teeth, or even simply when your eyes are tired of reading stuff.

There's nothing like people who have better memory than others, there are simply people who've trained their memory better. The trick lies in observation. Make a conscious effort to notice things about you. Glance at what a stranger on the road is wearing, and then try to remember every detail. Or, look at the items displayed in a shop window and later try to recall them. The more you try these elementary observation methods, the sharper your memory will become.

Keep subjects where you need to do more problem-solving for times when you know you are likely to be disturbed or when you're going to have guests. It's much easier to do Physics equations or Math problems in the midst of noise than trying to mug up formulae.

revision tips

Take short breaks. After every hour or hour-and-a-half of study, get up, walk around, drink something-point is, break the monotony. You will feel fresher.

If you start to feel sleepy in the middle of your study time, don't even try to fight it-it won't work. Catnap for 15-20 minutes.

Mental exhaustion is as overwhelming as physical exhaustion. So, whether or not you think you're tired, make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night.

Make it a point to get fresh air. When you take a break, don't sit in front of the idiot box or read a mag-it will stress your already tired eyes even more. Instead, go out for a bit-to a terrace, balcony or for a walk. The fresh air will do your eyes and mind a lot of good.

Vary your study pattern so that your mind doesn't get bored. After one text subject, spend some time on a practical one. Alternate reading with practice (Math or numericals) and a language with a science subject.

Mock test-papers can teach you the correct style of answering. Time yourself and take the paper as you would a real one. Check against solved papers to see if your style of answering matches the solutions given. Alter your style where you find it doesn't work.

note making tips

Develop a shorthand language, and use it when you take notes. Also, skip words like 'and', 'the', 'of' and so on.

Take down notes in point form, and elaborate on them later. This will also help you figure out how well you've understood the topic.

Write notes on loose-leaf sheets and punch them into a file. You can add details and diagrams in between if you need to.

If you lend notes to friends, always photocopy them for yourself, in case they lose them.

Don't use other people's notes for study. Always make your own. They may have their own short-forms and language that could confuse you. Also, they could have missed something important while making notes.

Use your friends' notes to compare whether you've left anything out!

Make sure you have membership of libraries where good books in your subjects are available. This is especially useful for competitive exams where extra reading is important.

Check with at least five people about how readable your writing is. You'll be surprised at how unreadable it may be, and you could end up saving the examiner a huge headache and yourself some marks!

tips for the examination hall

If you're not sure about dates and specific facts, don't write them. Better vague than wrong.

Don't spend ages fretting over questions you don't know. Instead, concentrate on the ones you do know and make sure you do them well. Avoid changing the order in which you answer the questions-examiners expect answers in that order.

If you don't have enough time to give a detailed answer to a question, write down at least the main points of the answer. Similarly, do a math question to the stage you know how. Even if you don't get the correct answer, you'll get some marks for the methodology used.

stress busters in the hall

As soon as you get the paper, concentrate on what you do know instead of what you don't. Leave the stuff you don't know for later. That will make you feel more confident about the tough stuff when you finally do come to it.

You've probably heard all these panic-popping techniques before-they work! So when panic attacks, do any or all of these. Drink some water, stare out of a window if there is one. Shut your eyes and clear your mind of all thoughts for a few minutes, then think of your whole life and how this exam will be just one of the many you've taken-and done well in!

If you come across a couple of questions you don't know, don't start doing a post-mortem of your whole career. Treat the question or exam as just one small thing you don't know. Don't let your mind wander to what will happen later and so on.

If you are habitually, panic-stricken, learn some deep breathing techniques. When you start to panic, stop writing and practice the techniques. For those few minutes, empty your mind of every other thought.

If you have a serious problem with panic attacks, you might want to tell your invigilator about it before you start taking the exam. You'll save valuable time during the paper if you do need help.

tips while you write the paper

Check with the invigilator or on the question paper whether you can answer the paper in any order or whether you need to follow the order of the questions. Follow these instructions blindly. If necessary, leave space for answers and go ahead to the next question. Also, check the numbering of the question with the answer.

Check and cross-check as many times as necessary whether there is any word limit for the question. If there isn't, check how many marks are allocated for the question and write accordingly.

Always, always, always number the extra supplements you take. Papers have been known to tear/get separated from your main answer booklet. Also, write your roll number on every supplement.

Read the paper thoroughly to see whether there are any objective type questions that you need to answer on the paper itself.

Check with your teachers about the ideal answering pattern-whether you should leave a margin on the paper, use highlighters and markers, where diagrams would be useful and so on. These improve the readability of your answer paper and make the difference between average and great marks.

Don't know an answer? Leave it for later. You don't want a situation where you know an answer well, but don't have the time to complete it.

And finally be a good girl/boy……listen with utmost rapt attention to what Robbin Mitrra says…..coz he has been there many more times than he cares to remember …..Take care…..God Bless you all

1 comment:

A Faithful Student said...

No comments on the tips that have been so thoughtfully listed by you for the benefit of the students, they've always worked for those who've bothered to follow them. It is actually the last few lines that have caught my attention, have immersed me into the sweet memories of those wonderful days that are no more, and....have spread a smile across my face. Thank you for all those lovely classes at Scholars and the experience that it has been!!!