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Study for an exam, learn for life

Phyllis FariasDear Madam,

I am a PUC student (PCMB). I am not able to concentrate on studies and get distracted very easily. I sometimes get bored of studying and ask myself, ‘For what do we have to study — is it just for 3 meals a day?’ I cycle to my college, which is about 5 km from home, and also to tuitions. Even though I have nutritious food, cycling makes me very tired and therefore I need about 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Due to this, I am not able to study daily and the portions pile up. I get worried when a friend says that he gets up at 3 am and is able to study because I am not able to. During exams my hands and feet sweat a lot. I am basically a slow writer and cannot complete the paper within the specified time. My Maths lecturer says it is necessary to study at least 5 hours in 2nd PUC. What can I do to overcome the above problem?

Dear Vignesh,

Let me first correct some fallacies:

-You sleep 8 to 9 hours a day and therefore you are not able to study everyday. All of us need 8 hours of sleep whether we are physically tired or not. The problem is not of sleeping too much but of time management and the will to study.

- A friend can get up at 3 am and study and you cannot.

Did you ask your friend what time he goes to sleep? Did you find out how long he studies and whether he sleeps again after a few hours of study? The point I am trying to make is that you are looking at one piece of information and making a comparison.

- My Maths lecturer says it is necessary to study at least 5 hours every day in 2nd PUC.
The number of hours of study per day is very relative and also subjective. It also depends upon your level of concentration and your ability to grasp and absorb. Of more importance is the quality of your study as also the quantity you decide to study per day.
Now for some suggestions:

-Please consult your family doctor about the sweating of your hands and feet during exams. I understand that it could be a medical problem brought on by anxiety.

-To be able to complete your papers on time, you need to practise solving question papers in the given time. Try to increase your speed with each paper. Your speed is also dependent on the level of your preparation — so you need to be thoroughly prepared. If the sweating is coming in the way, you could use ‘ink blotters’ under your hand while writing.

-Cycling is a good physical exercise, however, if it is tiring, you could try an alternative for either your college or your tuitions. (The bus system in Bangalore has improved a great deal).
The saddest part of your question, is that you are questioning the very need to study and if it is just for 3 meals a day?

I believe that the mistake is in the choice of the word ‘study’. Interchange it with ‘learn’. You study for an exam, but you learn for life.

Don’t be afraid to learn — knowledge is weightless — a treasure you can always carry easily. The ‘3 meals a day’ will happen if you learn with joy, enthusiasm and a zest for life. A last thought — are you happy with the choice of subjects you have made?

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