Examinations test the overall learning of the students. However, there are debates worldwide that if only the examinations and that too only the written ones must not be made the basis of testing the learning of the students or not? As learning is a multidimensional aspect, so it must be tested from all angles. This is true also. But in light of all the understanding, we cannot deny that examinations go a long way in determining the learning level of their students. So it is necessary to prepare well for the examinations.
Merely working hard for the preparation of the examination is not enough. One must prepare smartly. This is the requirement of today’s time. Work smart and not hard is what the slogan works in the student’s circle. This strategy has some proven records also. There are some mistakes that most of the students make while preparing for the exams.
Most of the time, these mistakes are made because of anxiety and stress and sometimes because of ignorance. Here, we are enlisting 15 common mistakes students make when studying for an exam. We are also providing some tips on How to fix them? We hope that it will help you in the long run.
15 common mistakes students make when studying for an exam are:
1. Starting late and regretting later:
Whenever the new session starts, all the students feel that they have ample time to prepare later. The starting time of the session is for enjoyment, and the later part is when they will prepare for the exams. But remember, procrastination is not going to help you anyhow. The fun made today by wasting the session’s beginning time may eventually turn into regret later. Don’t you sometimes feel that if you had started a little bit earlier, you would have fared well in the exams?
Exam preparation time always exceeds the students' anticipated time for the preparation. So it is always advisable that you must start the preparation earlier and balance the fun and the study time equally well to make your life enjoyable.
2. Not participating in the learning process actively:
There are some students that start earlier but then also do not perform well in the examinations. And there are some other students who start later, bud farewell quickly. Have you ever wondered why it is so? It may be because of many reasons. But one main reason which is worth mentioning is that there are students who start earlier but do not involve themselves in the learning process very actively. Do you think that just reading over the notes with a numb or distracted mind is enough? No, surely it is not.
The best way to start learning is to befriend your books. This gives a sense of belongingness. Test and quiz yourself again and again to test your heaped knowledge. This lets you understand what you really know and what you really don’t know. Being lethargic and then reading notes or books do not help anyone.
3. Not Studying according to the examination pattern:
This is one of the major mistakes made by students. If you are a high school student, you must be knowing that the entrance test for engineering, MBBS, etc., are patterned absolutely different than the high school main examinations. Both examinations demand extremely different approaches. One demands subjective learning, while the other demands objective learning.
So if you are unclear of the exam pattern, I am unsure if you will head in the direction or if your approach to the learning is going to achieve heights or not. It is always advisable that you must keep in mind the examination pattern in your mind before starting the preparation for the examination.
4. Revising the information already known repeatedly:
Most of the students feel comfortable revising the information and facts they already know. It brings their mind at ease. The anxiety associated with starting learning of new unknown concepts sometimes lets them do this. But this is the wrong way to study.
You must identify what you don’t know and then start to work on it with planning and dedication. Develop some effective strategies to ensure that you learn this information.
5. Relying totally on the teachers or private tutors for Exams:
Some students leave their preparation solely on their teacher. They believe that merely attending the classes will do wonders for them and will get prepared them for the exams very wisely. And with this thought, they never study on their own. This is the biggest mistake made by them.
Remember, the teachers are only the path highlighters, or they are only the guide; it is you who have to travel the path vigilantly. Notes etc., given by the teachers are just for your quick help; you have to learn and understand them on your own. Don’t ever leave your fate in the hands of others. Self-check and reassess your stand.
6. Keeping Rote Memorization over the understanding:
Whenever a student is unable to understand the concept even after trying somewhat harder, they leave the approach to understand and embrace the rote memorization technique. It is because, for them, at that time, rote memorization seems to be the easiest way. As said earlier, your approach to learning must be active and not passive. Rote memorization is a passive way of learning. In the long run, your memory will not keep this, and your mind will be blank.
7. Not making a routine/proper plan of learning:
Have you prioritized what is more important and what is less? What should be the first thing to start with, and what should be the last? How much time do you need to give to each and every topic? These are the things that need to be thought of and prioritized before starting the learning process.
This keeps the learning on track, and if you miss something in the plan someday, you always have that in mind, and the sense of responsibility lets you cover it up some other day. In the long run, it is only an organized plan which works wonderfully.
8. Always studying too much, or studying much at the last moment:
Though you must have heard that the more you study, the more are the chances to fare well during the exams, this is not always true. This is sometimes hazardous as well. Actually, the different types of studies demand different approaches to study.
Suppose you are studying Mathematical concepts like trigonometry, arithmetic, circle, geometry, etc., all together for continuous 5 days without much rest. What do you think that will you be able to handle all of that well? No, most of the students fail to do so. They end up with a mess in their mind.
The better approach to study, as discussed earlier is, to devote little time to all the concepts systematically. This helps to understand the concepts better without a hurry. A hurry to learn can bury you in the exams. Last moment study burden affects the logical and balanced memory function adversely.
If you have done the last-moment studies, you must have observed that sometimes you feel as if your mind is blank or numb. Haven’t you? This is because of the excess study at the last moment. Don’t ever go for it. Even if you have failed to study well before, just revise those concepts at the last moment that you already know, instead of burdening yourself with the new concepts. This approach will help you more.
9. Sticking to only one place for studying:
It may feel silly to someone, but ideally, sticking to one place for study makes the working of the mind a little bit slow. This is a scientific fact also. Your mind needs better blood circulation to work efficiently. So how does blood circulates to the mind? Actually, this is an automatic process of the body. But it is said that the more movements your body makes, the more active your mind becomes.
Science establishes the fact that environmental context reinforces memory. You must have observed it for yourself several times. If you have not, pay attention to this fact, and you will realize its true value. Consider making changes in the study environment frequently. It leads to a strong memory. Moreover, it helps to get rid of the gloominess (if someone feels so).
10. Studying one way only:
One way study is detrimental to the performance in the exams. By one way study, I mean following only one way of learning and ignoring the other ways. For example, some students learn only by way of reading. Reading is not a solution for every type of learning. Some concepts require quick, effective recall by us. For them, using flashcards is the best way. This is the best way of quizzing and entrenching the concepts deep in memory.
Similarly, some concepts do not require just the rote memorization of the facts and concepts. They require practical knowledge. For, e.g., litmus test. You must have read about it. But is it sufficient? Once you do the test on your own, you will remember it for a lifetime. Instead of using only one way, try many ways. Jot down the point on a paper with a pen, use flashcards, read the things loud, apply your knowledge to the practical aspects of the knowledge gained.
11. Studying Alone always:
Some students are introverted and like to be alone, while some others are extroverts and enjoy in a group. But both sides have their pros and cons. If you study in a group and get distracted and indulge in chit chats, it is a complete waste. If you study alone and always get lost in thought other than studies, this is also a waste. Actually, when alone, students are more prone to distractions. They will never be able to identify their flaws or mistakes in their notes.
It was found that when such students were brought to study in a group, some of them performed better, though it varies for different kinds of students. If you have always studied alone and never in a group, try to change the setting. Go and study in groups. This might have some wonders. If you do not feel any better, leave this. But give it a try at least once with patience. Balance out your time. Keep some time for group studies and some time for studying alone.
12. Studying with gadgets:
Studying with gadgets is highly distractive. Now a day, this is becoming the main reason for suffering in examinations. Keeping smartphones, the internet, PC, laptop, game consoles, etc., distracts the students for sure. However determined they are for studies, these things sometimes play with their dedication. We cannot say that the gadgets are distracting, but the love and attraction of students for them are detrimental.
Students frequently promise themselves that they will use the technology for study purposes only but fail to keep their promise. Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail notifications, etc., frequently distracts them.
13. Studying with an Empty Stomach:
Some students eat very little at the time of their examination because they think that if they study more, they will feel sleepy, and ultimately they will not be able to study for more time. This is true that if we eat too much, we feel sleepy, but remember one thing, the deficiency of nutrients is going to harm your mind much more.
The advice to such students is – don’t eat too much, but eat that food which is beneficial for you in small quantities to provide your mind with the necessary nutrients. Some foods like caffeine, avocados, fish, dark chocolates, etc., are found to sharpen your memory as well as the concentration of power. So try these foods and take care of calorie and nutrients intake.
14. Studying continuously:
Studying continuously, without any breaks, is known to affect your memory adversely. As your body won't break, similarly, your mind also wants a break. An advice for you, in this case, is, follow the Pomodoro Technique. This technique says that a short break after every 25 minutes is good for the mind. It also advises interspersing of the longer breaks after a longer duration of time.
15. Not using quick learning methods:
With technological advances, there have surfaced so many ways to quickly learn the concepts that it takes just minutes to learn long and difficult concepts. Some students properly plan their study plans and also work hard, but then also they do not fare excellently well.
Have you wondered why it is so? It may be because of many reasons. But one of the main reasons now a day is not learning with the help of quick learning technologies and methods. Using the analogies to relate the concepts with each other, using free learning software, practicing the shortcut methods, etc., are the practices that need to be incorporated with the learning to perform well in the exams.
We have compiled the list of 15 common mistakes students make when studying for an exam with utmost diligence. Ponder over these issues seriously if you do not want to lag behind in the exams. Following the above advice is surely going to help you in the long run for sure. This cannot be done suddenly. Move slowly but continuously in this direction to transform the way you study and to get the maximum output. We wish you all the luck and success you think of.