How to prepare for Exams?
A quick search for the above title will get you to the pages that basically try to tell you how to “hack the exams”. Some of the top strategies will look like this:
- Create wonderful notes
- Read your notes out loud
- Create mindmaps and flowcharts
- Study in Groups
- Explain concepts to your peers
- Create and follow the time-table
- Predict possible questions (yes, we found this one too)
- Cover high scoring sections
- Practice previous years question
- Stay Healthy!
All the above so-called “strategies” which you will find on most blogs are just futile and even if you argue some of these might have some impact, they are very impractical to implement. In the most realistic scenarios, if you are not the type of person who can follow the time-table, then that is not going to change because some blog asks you to do it. And similarly, there are fundamental problems with the other points as well, like creating notes is very time taking and not everyone would be good at it. Mind maps and flowcharts are theoretically good methods to remember things betters, but not every topic can be conveniently converted to charts. And about staying healthy, well who doesn’t want to stay healthy, but the question is how?
Let’s take a step back, and think
We need to take some time, do some introspection and analysis, and try to understand what we are preparing for. We need to stop running in this rat race of cramming all available materials in any random order, in hopes of getting into a good college and then a job. We need to understand that we are not preparing for the exams, but we are preparing to make ourselves good enough so that the prestigious institutions select us based on our skills and abilities. And that is not going to happen by hacking exams.
The Primary Analysis
First, you need to understand the syllabus and know what each topic is about. A very high-level overview will ensure you are never in for any surprise and you understand what’s going on in your classes.
Apart from the syllabus, it is a good idea to analyze where you stand at the moment. You may be strong in some topics and weak in others. There is no point in dedicating equal time and effort to the topics in which you are already strong.
It is generally difficult to consciously recognize where we are wasting our time. For example, if a coaching class gives 20 days for aptitude classes and then the next 10 days for verbal ability, logical reasoning, and data interpretation. During these time-frames, all the students of the class tend to focus on the topics according to the given schedule. However, if you have already prepared Aptitude before and you are quite good at it but weak in others, the 20 aptitude days should also be utilized for strengthening the weak topics. The only limited resource is our time, and we need to strategize how to spend it in the most efficient manner.
This can only happen if you know the syllabus in its entirety, and your strengths and weaknesses. And this is just one example. You need to come up with your own strategies, identify problems, and come up with solutions. What’s important is to know that strategy is the key.
Strategically selecting your resources
This is a new problem for our digital age. There are so many platforms promising to solve all your problems and almost ensuring your success if you pay for their premium packages. They are doing marketing in every possible way, tricking your brains and selling nothing but false promises. We are not claiming they do not have any content, but even if they have good content, it is not a guarantee of success. Some of the important aspects to consider while selecting which option of resources to pursue are:
- Select non-overlapping resources: If you buy/subscribe to two platforms with video tutorials for your exam syllabus, you will not be able to follow any one of them completely. It is important to follow one resource for covering your syllabus from start to end. Otherwise, your preparation will not be streamlined and you will not be able to track your progress and see what is covered and what is not.
- Resources should be efficient: This goes for learning a new topic as well as practicing a topic you already know. If you pick an elearning platform or coaching class or book which is too complex or too detailed or too incomplete, then it is best to leave it as early as possible. Your learning resource should be able to give you maximum understanding in minimum time. Similarly, when you are practicing questions, if the resource is able to provide you the questions which are most beneficial for you, then you will be able to maximize learning in minimum time. The MCQ books and most MCQ platforms are very inefficient and outdated methods because students tend to keep doing the questions from the concepts they already know over and over.
- Resources to keep track of your progress: Since ranks in all the exams are relative to other students, it is always a good idea to know your strong and weak topics with respect to other students by joining test series (or by joining Abekus and check your standing in real-time).
Gathering Knowledge vs Learning by Practice
We need to understand there are two parts to the learning process. The first entails gathering knowledge about a topic and the second is to master the topic by practicing questions covering every detail. The video tutorials on various concepts through online platforms or classroom courses or through books will help you gather knowledge. But you need to invest much more in practicing questions around the topics, in order to master it.
MCQ books were a treasure and have served their purpose for a long time. But now, in the time of Artificial Intelligence, we have something called adaptive learning. CAT exam’s software itself is based on adaptive learning principles and give candidates questions according to their level of expertise. If you keep answering questions correctly, you will keep getting tougher questions, and if you don’t, the level of difficulty will not increase.
Abekus is built with the concept of Adaptive learning at its core. We believe the students should never waste time practicing what they already know. Our state-of-the-art algorithms are designed to ensure users get maximum learning in minimum time.
Let’s talk more about Abekus
Abekus is built out of frustration of not having a single good solution for practicing and improving existing knowledge. There are several platforms that provide courses for gathering knowledge, but there were no good platforms for learning by practicing questions. Some of the reasons why Abekus outstands all competitor resources are:
- There are no other platforms. There are some very bad question-bank websites, which just put the questions on their pages. There is no quality control, no tracking of progress, no motivation, and no change. The question you see now are the same questions which were there 3 years back. And you don’t remember which you already tried and which you didn’t, so on visiting them again, you start from the very beginning, every time.
- The number of questions is way too few on the question bank websites. On the other hand, Abekus is a community-driven platform, with an ever-increasing number of questions, categories, and domains.
- There are no negative marks and no time limit on most of the other websites. Abekus prepares you for the pressure which you will face during the exam.
- And most importantly, we didn’t find any other application or platform which utilizes principles of adaptive learning to serve most valuable questions to the users, apart from Abekus.
By the way, currently, Abekus is completely free. So, maybe you would like to give it a shot? :)
We hope you found this article to be informative and useful. We will bring more insights on how to prepare for exams in future articles. If you have any questions or insights, please feel free to comment.