Hello, fellow citizen of Earth! Now, now, why are you here? Toying with the idea to start preparations for that entrance test you’ve been dreaming to crack since forever? Idling away precious minutes on search engine results for “Tips to prepare …”? Or am I making unnecessary assumptions and you have simply redirected to this page, via another internet network? Well, whatever may be the case, the next few minutes on with this, is worth it, I promise. So… exams. Competitive exams. Majority of youth in recent times have taken in into this, regardless of how successful their stint with the same. Well in the age of these races, and highly competitive world, one feels the constant pressure to perform. It’s not any one-trick-magic formula! An approach to performing well at a competitive exam needs you managing multiple ways! Explored on this listicle, are 10 of the BASIC most points that you need to keep in mind before you take that plunge!
1. PASSIONATE & SERIOUS
Yes, there are people who tell you about how despite having taken any preparations or any serious approach towards an entrance test, they cleared the test with flying colours. But stop with the thought, right there. Pay no heed to such ideas. They are irrelevant, once you’ve taken up the responsibility of preparing the one thing you want to compete and achieve at, with all your heart. I’m not afraid of sounding clichéd when I say and stress on how PASSION-IS-NECESSARY; SERIOUSNESS-IS-NECESSARY. Taking up studies for a competitive exam is nowhere similar to taking up studies at school/university. The very reason you’re taking the test, is because you want the exclusive success that one achieves from their desired competitive exam. This is no A+ grade that you’re striving for. It’s a PLACE that you’re competing for. Realize that. Unless true passion fuels that fire in you, and helps you reason as to why you’re doing what you’re doing, there’s no point in going forward. If it’s that Law school you want admissions at, that’s your passion. If it’s that job you’re applying for, that’s your passion. Without the passion there’s no purpose to why you should prepare or appear for that competitive test. With the passion, comes seriousness.
2. STAY HEALTHY
Health is true wealth. Don’t forget those 6-8 hours of sleep that your mind and body needs, every 24 hours. Don’t skip meals because you can buy more time for preparations. Let your passion have you waiting for those 30 minutes that you kept yourself engaged in your preparations. But don’t overdo it. Don’t let your passion take toll on your digestion. Yes, skipping that one meal won’t land you up in a hospital on your D-day, exam day. But it sure will hamper effective preparation in the next session. That is how harmful, poor lifestyle is. It can damage your mind’s health, just as good as your body’s. Now what do your preparation need? Yes, mind. Captain Obvious to the rescue! To sum the point I’m trying to make, let me exaggerate this into the bigger picture – What good is your ace performance in the exam, when you are dying tomorrow? Sorry, not sorry. But you get it, yes you do.
Taking up preps alongside school? Or College? Or Work? Or is it that determined gap you’ve embarked on? Any of these or more, would require planning – dedicated, practical, planning. Time is money! You cannot simply allot a year, or certain months into preparations, and haphazardly get to studies whenever you want to, in the duration. You need to have a schedule- a schedule that syncs with your life. Because life doesn’t stop, but you shouldn’t let that hamper your preps! Allot certain hours of the day, designate targets to yourself. Conquerable targets, mind you. Start from small. Apply Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning from Psychology here. Condition yourself to an achievable schedule, and gradually, don’t be shy to push your limits. Set awards/cheats for yourself, as you make on to each milestone with your preparations! Yes, such practices shouldn’t be your fuelling factor, ideally. But hey, it’s all right! Basically, you need to have a plan, suited to the needs of the kind of entrance you’re taking. And so, you will by the following point.
Yes! ACTUALLY, study! All the passion, planning, and dreams are only ornaments to actually making it there! While these help you with the determination bit, sometimes they also steal you off precious minutes that you can actually use to study. A schedule is to keep you in order with your preps, but don’t hesitate to pick that book, and solve/study if you find yourself in leisure and with nothing to do on this face of the planet! Plus, the only way to figure out a well-suited schedule for yourself is to actually explore all that your test’s syllabus is all about. And that shall be mastered gradually, only when you make complete sense of the study material prescribed for your exam.
5. CONSIDER COACHING
This is something you might or not opt for, taking into consideration the nature of the entrance exam you are preparing for, and certain specifics of your preparations, i.e., if you have a gap year for the test, or if you have to manage other engagements alongside your preparations. If you think you have adequate study material, a sensible and strict schedule, you are good to go! Coaching from professional centres would provide you ample study material, ample discussions from experienced faculties, expose you to the competition out there – all of which would be redundant if you yourself don’t quite make earnest efforts, which is also possible without the coaching centres. So really, this has to be your call! If you have indeed opted for classes, please-please-please take notes, jot down important tips/tricks that you fetch from all the Coaching. And take complete liberty in reaching out to your mentors and teachers for help with anything to do for your preparations.
6. MOCKS and TIME MANAGEMENT
Now whether or not you take up Coaching is a different matter, but the Mock tests before the actual one are simply indispensable. Sign up for them; you don’t even need to give a thought on whether they are necessary, since they absolutely are. They are the only full-proof ways to finding out how well you’re doing, and if you are indeed managing time, well. So, sign up for an online/offline mock series, with consideration to what format your entrance test is. Time Management is one factor that sets competitive exams apart from other ordinary exams. Make sure you take ample mocks to master the same.
7. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Take subscription to copies of that G.K. magazine, if they shall benefit your preparations. Install all those Applications on your phone, which cater to preparations of the entrance test you’re taking up! Most of them are available for free; some charged, probably minimally. Only a simple search on your phone’s app store will fetch you the world of apps you require! Take advantage! Get started!
Yes, strategize. These exams are all about working smart, alongside hard-work. Study, take the mock tests. Understand your weaknesses, work on them. Hone your strong points. Half the battle’s won with a wilful mind! One mock, two mocks, three mocks… with each mock test down, you need to make sure each of your mistakes are down too. The only way to work on them is to fully acquaint yourself to the complete dynamics of your syllabus. Don’t miss out on previous year’s question papers! They shall help you plenty with an idea. You can also use them as mocks, provided the syllabus or questions are not outdated.
Don’t keep your head under the pressure to perform, for 24 hours a day. Don’t forget to Life! Go out, take breaks. Solitary strolls with nature, or a catching up with a friend after ages – whatever sooths your mind! Because, healthy minds are happy minds. You can also turn socializing to the benefit of your preparations though! There are numerous groups on social media, online that cater to common student or study groups. Find out ones dedicated to your entrance exam. Share experiences, tips, gauge the competition out there, also make worthy friends along the way! But remember to keep yourself away from groups that indulge in stagnant, unproductive banter. They will fetch your preps and life, no good! While you’re at it, please do not go overboard! You do have the liberty to enjoy life, and not attain sainthood of complete attention to your books, but remember to identify limits. This is not an easy path you’ve embarked upon! There’s population of people competing against you in the test, it’s a serious game, take it seriously. Don’t let a night-out with a friend hamper that 9 PM schedule you’ve designated for yourself. Of course, situations of serious nature call for disturbance, but do make sure you make up for the lag, afterwards! Your studies need undivided attention when you’re at it. But all work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!
10. RIGHT TEMPERAMENT
One simply cannot stress enough on having the right temperament into striking towards your goal. More often than not, it’s distractions that hamper things, do not let that happen. Along the way, there will exist many individuals who will appear to know what they’re advising you. Some of them could be Pseudo-experts. Know when to differentiate them. Most importantly, stay positive throughout this. Realize that, it is only an exam. This modern age is filled with opportunities in abundance! Don’t get disheartened at things, easily. Always keep in mind the big picture, that each of us and all that we know are only specks of start-dust. When time calls, use these philosophies and know when to stop brooding.
I’m hoping this article made a difference to your thinking in a way, or another. Comment your thoughts below, and let me know how YOUR exam went! You can also comment in, other tips that you might consider vital to exams of competitive nature.