How to crack competitive exams

How to crack competitive exams

It is not enough for a student to get good results in board exams; it’s equally important to perform well in competitive exams. With the restricted number of attempts, it is unfortunate when large numbers of deserving students are not able to achieve success in competitive exams because they are not able to balance their time between preparing for board exams and competitive exams.

The key to excel in competitive examinations is to start your preparations early. The best time to start studying is now, which means that you need to start as soon as you can. A little planned preparation every day goes a long way in helping you remember what you have learned rather than last-minute cramming. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do, you lose out on more than just time.

Competitive examinations aim at identifying students who have acquired knowledge of subjects by understanding concepts, visualising situations and applying theory to solve problems. To excel in a competitive examination one has to essentially differentiate between conventional and  competitive examinations.

Conventional exams are:

*Generally, qualifying in nature
*Restricted to a syllabus
*Questions are repetitive

*Sufficient time is provided to complete the paper

On the other hand, in competitive exams, which are based on the principle of elimination not selection, there is a defined syllabus and beyond, questions very rarely repeat, they test memory, understanding and compre-hension ,and they are framed to test your speed and accuracy at problem-solving.  So, time management becomes critical.

You need to have sufficient knowledge of your capabilities to be able to improve. You need to know where to find the best practices and adapt these practices in a limited amount of time when you face the exam.

Every learning exercise has some pre-requisites. Thorough content learning and the ability to correct mistakes are important.

Pre-class preparation, classroom learning and post-class work are very important.
Pre-class preparation refers to the work to be done before lecture classes.

It includes reading concepts and answering conceptual questions or short-answer questions from recommended books.

Classroom learning or interaction requires listening to lectures with concentration and taking note of important points. It is important that you clarify your doubts right away.
Post-class work requires completing the corresponding exercise sets from the recommended books. Post-class work is best done through self-tests in an examination- simulated environment.

After the test, evaluation of the paper should be done along with a thorough analysis of the performance. 

You should identify the types of mistakes that you have committed and classify those mistakes. For example, errors in calculation or faulty application of concepts. Take remedial action by going back to your reference books or discussing with your teachers when in doubt.

Keep a record of the scores obtained in the tests taken.  Ideally, you should plot a graph of marks vs tests.

All these steps can be optimised by maintaining a planner, which should include time provisioning for pre-class and post-class work, self-tests, revision, backlog and buffer time.

Regular studies are very essential as last-minute preparations can leave you in a confused state.

Your mind takes cues from your body. Dress well, walk tall and stay fit. Value addition is not possible at the eleventh hour. Do not bother about failure because truly successful people never think of the results. Stay focused, do not let anything derail your study plans — not family, not friends, not any crisis. You should plan your work such that each subject gets adequate time. Ensure that your family and friends give you the time and space you need to prepare for a competitive exam. Talk to those who have done well in such exams and take tips from them. 

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