Preparation Strategies for Competitive Examinations

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I want to share my experience to all who are toiling day and night for the competitive exams and want to prove themselves. I have been through these phases since class 5th when I was trying for selection in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya. Thereafter, I have prepared for IITJEE, WBJEE and AIEEE after class 12th, then BHEL exam and finally I have been through the preparation of UPSC Engineering Services, one of the toughest examination on earth owing to a few seats against a huge number of applicants. With the grace of Almighty and my well-wishers, I have got success in all the examinations which I have mentioned. Therefore, o feel it would be a great service to you all if I share some of the strategies which I feel would be beneficial for you all. Although, even the final examinations of all classes right from the class 1 to 12th, then end semester examinations requires a great effort, yet I think in many ways the challenges in these examinations are quite different from the competitive examinations like IITJEE, AIEEE, other State Engineering Entrance Examinations. Have also made many mistakes during my preparation phases; however I think I have learnt a lot in these processes and evolved my own way of preparation which is helping my juniors. I would jot down some of the points out of those. I would not impose on you to take all these points, however if you are struggling and failing again and again in managing yourself to prepare for the war, these guidelines would definitely help you a lot.

1. Vision of a Concrete Goal - The first and foremost thing I would advise to all the students to have a concrete goal with them. In whatever field they are trying whether for Engineering Entrance Examinations, Banking, Finance, UPSC, SSC or any other fields; they must have a clear and focused goal. Their goal should be written by themselves in their personal diary. The goal setting is a biggest task and the toughest task and should not be taken lightly. It should be done by the students by themselves. They should take an A4 size blank paper and a pen and jot down all the strength and weakness they possess. They should do their SWOT analysis by themselves and believe me no one on this planet can do this for them. They should take proper time for this. For Example: - Suppose someone wants to prepare for UPSC Civil Service. Then they should get the syllabus with themselves. They should think of the time left with themselves to appear in the examination. They should judge the average number of hours they must spend daily to meet the syllabus before examinations. They should see the financial constraints too in the course of preparation. In a nut shell, they should have all the pros and cons in their mind before preparations. After meeting all the requirements to crack the examinations, they should take affirmations that they would fetch so much minimum marks in the examinations and never ever they will deviate from it.

2. Has a Personal Diary – Keep a personal diary with yourselves and daily note down how close you have reached to your set goal. You should write in 5 minutes all the mistakes you committed during the day and how would you correct those mistakes during the next day. It is must before sleep and you must not give excuse yourself in writing these things.

3. 10 minutes before sleep and after sleep – 10 minutes before sleep and after sleep are the most precious time for you. It has strong effects on the functioning of your brain. The thoughts which you think in these times will directly go into your subconscious mind. We should know that 90% of the strength of our mind lies in the subconscious mind and only 10% lies in the conscious mind. So, you should consciously think some positive phrases in these times. Like – You should repeat “I am happy that I am going to get success in the upcoming Civil Services Examinations “. Repeat these for 100 times before sleep and 100 times after sleep. Choose the positive phrase by yourself and the very first thought should be this only after waking up.

4. Schedule your day after waking up – You should schedule the activities of the day mentally during you are attending the nature’s call or having tooth brush and then pen it down in your personal diary. You should vow that you will never ever distract from your study hours which you have set just now. At night before sleep, note down where you got deviated.

5. Have Exercise and Meditation daily – Give at least half an hour to exercise and meditation daily. It will keep your body, mind and soul healthy and you will feel enthusiasm in preparation.

6. Drink a lot of water – Keep yourself hydrated always. It will always keep you cheerful and never let your mood swing. You must take enough water in the morning hour itself. The best is to have water before going to bathroom, then after exercise and before bath.

7. Silent Retreat – Daily in the morning set aside some time to be in complete silence. No talk to anyone for 2 hours at least. No WhatsApp, no messages, No Facebook, no phone calls in these hour should be attended. It will boost your self-confidence and will power.

8. Talk Less – Although it is said that if you want to avoid conflicts and want your value in the society to be raised, then try to speak less and listen more. This is a generalized thumb of rule. This is also true if you want to remain focused towards your goal and you want your concentration level to be enhanced. Talking more will drag you to talk over petty things, backbiting and other insignificant and trivial things. This will consume your time and energy. Also, you will deviate from your right path. So, try to curb your desire to talk and remain with yourself.

9. Fix your sleep time and wake up time – Try to fix your sleep time, sleeping place, sleeping pattern and before sleep rituals. Similarly, fix your wake up time too. Sleeping rituals make contain some mantras or positive phrases to be chanted before sleep, writing a letter to God before sleep, reading something spiritual or motivational things before sleep. This will remove your unwanted thoughts from mind and give you a deep slumber. You will feel fresh in 6 hours of sleep. Otherwise, if you do not pack off well before sleep and same thoughts are disturbing you, you will not feel fresh even after 8-10 hours of sleep. Always remember it is the quality of sleep which matters not the hours of sleep. I will add here to have tooth brush before sleep. This will give freshness to you and also you will have fresh air circulation in your mouth. You can have 20-30 minutes sleep in the day also, but not more than that.

10. One minute Pause in each hour of the day – Take one minute pause in each hour of the day and repeat your positive mantra or just remember your goal. This will keep you centered towards your goal and unwanted thoughts will be away from your mind. Always remember that cleansing of mind is utmost necessary to reap good fruits in the form of enhanced memory.

11. Give a lot of mock test before exam – A minimum 5 mock tests are must before the actual exam. Mock tests should be given in the same timing in which exam will be taken. The same type of environment should be created in the mock test. I will advise you to finish your syllabus at least one month before the examinations and join a test series for giving as much number of mock tests as you can give before examinations. Some tips after the mock test is important. Just go through all the questions which you could not do because of less information on that topic. Cover that topic in a well-mannered. Go through those questions which took much time to solve. Also, go through those questions and solve once more in which you did silly mistakes.

12. Have 2-3 friends: - Have 2-3 friends which whom you can talk about your goal, your shortcomings, your mistakes and can get advice time to time. If they are also having the same goal and they are your good friends, then discuss the difficult topics. Remember, if you have more than 3 friends, then instead of benefits you will get conflicts and wastages of time.

13. Have a mentor: - Just appoint a mentor by yourself who can guide you throughout your journey of preparations. Mentor can be anyone among your seniors, teachers, friends, elder sister, brother etc. If you don’t have any of such person then appoint an imaginary mentor like Swami Vivekananda, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Elva Edison, Dr. B R Ambedkar etc. and get advice from them. Just visualize and think what they could have done to correct you if you would have said to them about your mistakes.

14. Make short Notes: - Don’t rewrite the same thing which is written in the book. Make short notes by writing only the keywords and most important things. The short notes making would not take away much time of yours and also it would be easy to revise. Particularly, at the end time i.e., just before the examination it would be quite handy to revise from it.

15. Stick to a pen: - Don’t switch over in between the pen again and again in the course of examination. Just decide which pen suits you the most to have a good speed as well as a good hand-writing in the examination. Keep two such pen at least with you. Don’t give your pen to others. You will have a grip of your own in the course of writing with the same pen again and again. Everyone makes their own grip based upon their style of writing. Try to give exam with the old pen instead of new pen. Black pen over the white paper looks attractive. Gel pen looks better than ball pen in conventional paper. I would advise you to try Trimax pens.

16. Don’t get panic when you are coming closer to your exam day: Once you have fully decided to give the exam, then don’t be tensed that you have only a few days left and you have to cover a lot of syllabus. Don’t think you will not be able to cover the syllabus and so on. Now even before one day of exam, continue reading the books and writing. Always remember you do not have for the bullshit thoughts. You are the busiest person on this earth and can’t focus on these trivial thoughts.

17. Be calm and relaxed in the examination: - Don’t be tensed in the examination. Even if the question paper is tough, don’t get panic. It is tough for everyone. You have to give your best. Remember Dhoni who manages his coolness even in the toughest matches and finally wins. Even if he loses, he gets the adulations for managing his calm. Be a good manager like him.

18. Avoid distractions: - In these days WhatsApp, Facebook, TVs are great distractions. I would recommend you all to not use this at least till the examinations. Don’t give excuses to yourself that important information’s are also coming over these. Ultimately it will take a much time from you and you will be at loss from these.

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