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‘Planning, time management, proper rest and realistic approach play key role in exam preparation’

By Manju Rana,

Use a digital or paper calendar to block to manage extra classes, coaching and extracurricular activities.

A study time table will be personalized based on your specific needs and learning style, writes Manju Rana.

Before we embark on creating an effective study schedule, we need to answer a big question -- what is a study schedule? A study schedule is an effective way to help the students navigate through their board examination pressure with ease and also hold them accountable for their own learning outcomes. The biggest challenge here is - time management. Besides classes, students are likely to have other commitments like extracurricular activities, work, and social engagements (which, by the way, are stress busters, if managed well).

Doing well in board exams involves preparation, which means developing a schedule so that you can study the syllabus over time rather than the night before an exam. Creating a schedule allows the children to see how they spend time and ensures that they are setting aside enough time to review and retain the information they are learning. Study plans are particularly important for self-discipline and determination.

The next challenge -- how can the students put all effective strategies together to develop a coherent study schedule? It’s important to understand that there is no “universally right” way to make a study plan. Each student has a different style of learning. A study time table will be personalized based on your specific needs and learning style.

Creating a study schedule: A word of advice

1. Study schedule should not just be about studying!

Plan a schedule of balanced activities. Allow for time to take a break, eat, sleep, socialize, and work on other course materials. Giving planned breaks will make study time more effective, and improve learning if basic needs are met.

2. Analyse your current study habits and learning style

Think about what works and what doesn’t work for you. Are you able to study for long stretches of time, or is it more effective if you study nightly with short breaks?

What time of the day are you more productive at learning? Do you retain material better if you study a subject for long duration?

3. Evaluate your current schedule and time management

Use a digital or paper calendar to block to manage extra classes, coaching and extracurricular activities. This will let you see how much of your time is already spoken for, and what time you have available for studying. If your schedule leaves little room for studying, re-evaluate and re-arrange.

4. Plan how much time you need to study for each subject

For many years, the accepted rule has been that you need to study two hours each day for every subject, meaning that if you are taking 5 subjects, so you will need 10 hours for all subjects each day. Do the Maths! Plan subjects in such a manner that weekly you devote equal time to all subjects.

Be realistic in approach. Plan out which subject you will study on which day, to ensure that you’re devoting enough time to each subject. For example, Mondays and Thursdays can be set aside for Math, while Tuesdays and Fridays can be devoted to English. Likewise, see what works for you.

5. Swap it up!

Don’t concentrate on one subject for long periods. Our ability to concentrate decreases rapidly after about 90 minutes, so juggling the subjects helps.

6. Remove distractions for better focus

It might seem that you can multi-task, but that’s a myth! Don’t get over involved into social media etc. Block them out till the Examinations.

7. Find and use “invisible time” for studying

It’s easy to waste scattered 1-2 hours. If you are having trouble getting started: try the Pomodoro Technique 1: Pick a task to work on and then focus on that task for 25 minutes without distractions; then take a 5-minute break to stretch, doodle, check email, etc. Then start another block of 25-minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-minute break. Make a study goal for every week and accomplish it.

8. Plan and take real actual breaks.

Get up, jump around, get a snack, listen to music and soothe your nerves. It’s all right - Taking short planned breaks can help you study more during the times you are actually studying.

In the end, evaluate your study plan, and adjust as needed. Your study plan is yours and it is all about helping you be more efficient and productive. If you find that the plan is not working, don’t get discouraged. It’s OK to make changes. Relax,stretch, hydrate your body, take adequate sleep and rest your mind.Above all, believe in yourself. You will be successful!

Manju Rana, Director, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools. Views expressed are personal.

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