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Exam Preparation

Five essential steps to improve your exam results.

(1) Are you motivated?

If you are not then it's no use even if you have ten private tutors. So, work on the motivation factor first. Ask yourself why do you want to do well in your exams. Is it for a sense of personal achievement, self-esteem, career planning or meeting parents' expectation? without a good reason you would not be motivated to sustain your effort when the going gets tough.

(2) Change your attitude

Let's face it. Most of us don't like exams. In fact many of us dread it. How we wish we could go through school and graduate without having exams. But instead of indulging in the futile fantasy of wishing away exams, we could actually do well by embracing it. All it takes is a change in our attitude towards it. Let me explain.

Most of us have a hobby one form or another. We enjoy it and devote a lot of time, effort and even money pursuing it. Despite that, nobody complains and no one needs to be coerced even if hard work is involved.

I have met people who seem to know everything there is to know about astronomy even though they are not astronomers, just hobbyists. Another had accumulated deep knowledge of all the famous rock bands including their history and lifestyle. In other words these people become the experts in their chosen hobbies.

Imagine if these people were to devote the same amount of attention and effort towards their school subjects as they did for their hobbies. They could become the experts in those subjects and would never have to fear exams any more. In fact, they may even learn to like exams because it is the way to show how much they know about it just as how proud they would be when others ask them questions related to their hobbies.

A change in attitude towards exams can do wonders. Make use of it to transform fear into fun. Instead of viewing exam sternly as 'do-or-die' mission, view it as a fun quiz challenging your knowledge of a hobby.

(3) Start early

It is very important to start your preparation early. Many make the mistake of delaying their preparation until it is too late and then try to compensate by burning midnight oil at home or catching valuable moments on the bus or train to study. Naturally, all these last-minute effort would not be necessary if one had started early nor are they helpful in achieving good results.

It's like a sportsman trying to do last-minute practice just before taking part in a competition. Surely he can't be expected to do well against competitors who train regularly on a daily basis long before the competition.

When you start early you would be giving your brain plenty of time to absorb and retain facts. The longer the time given, the better it remembers. That is why we can remember our home phone number much better than the new phone number of our friend.

(4) Understand the facts

Some facts are straight forward and easy to understand while others are more abstract, complex and difficult. Your brain cannot be expected to absorb and remember facts which it doesn't understand. So, make sure you get help when you come across things which you don't understand.

(5) Practice makes perfect

If you want to do well in exams, you must do mock tests repeatedly using past years papers. Only then will your weak spots be exposed allowing you the opportunity to take remedial actions before the real exam.

This is particularly true for subjects like Mathematics where often you would find difficulty in answering questions on a certain topic even though you understand it. Champion sportsmen know it too. That is why they keep on practicing every day to stay on top no matter how talented they are.

The above is not a list of methods in detail on 'How-To' do well in exams. Rather, they are the basic essential steps necessary to improve our psychology and to remove the stumbling block which often stands in the way of our quest for success. It will help to transform our fear into courage and give us a chance of achieving something better than we previously thought possible.