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Exams! Exams!

A loud thud and I broke my nose. I’d slept off while studying, lost my balance and there…my face banged right on the study table. I realized this could not be the way to success for sure. So I sat for some time and decided my own pathway to success during semesters. The path can be customized according to your needs….

1.  Material – Get hold of the syllabus first. Mark every topic according to the syllabus. A lot of topics from the mentioned books can be out of syllabus (especially in case of foreign authors). Gather all the material and Xerox notes (if required) well in advance to avoid the unnecessary running around during exams. We all know that this has to be done but do not leave it for the last. Getting all notes, and books in hand, and 100% of the syllabus is 50% of the mental preparation done.


2. Plan – PLAN!! Count the number of chapters and the number of days in your kitty or whatever suits you. Make a timetable and try to stick to it. Make time for breaks too but make sure you don’t end up studying between breaks. Remember, the time table is critical. Many of us think it is a waste of time, but your time table is like a friend. It will gently keep reminding you hat you have to do.

3. Movies – Get inspired. Watch an inspiring movie. Watch a movie that gives you a push towards success; that would want you to succeed in life.

4. Buddies – Buddies are an important part of our lives. If you are well off with group studies choose your buddies wisely. If you are better off studying alone make sure you have a few friends who help you track your study plan. Waking up early, studying till late, exchanging preps etc. is required during semesters. Make sure you have time allotted for this too. Do not be dependent. No one – friend or buddy, can and should be able to influence your own time table.


5. Distractions – Day dreaming is the biggest distraction of mankind. I know everyone agrees. I, somehow, feel there should have been a button to turn on and off the day-dreaming part. Sadly, there isn’t. Track yourself whenever you start day-dreaming. If there is a problem solve it before-hand. All of us build castles in the air about our futures. It is only natural. However, this is a huge waste of time during semesters (or even otherwise) and so should be avoided. Search for ways (studying out loud, drinking a glass of water every time you drift away etc.) to beat the dreaming.

Phone is the second most dangerous distraction. We all receive calls and whatsapps all the time – many of which are of a lower priority. Learn to filter the calls. Make a list of people you have to call (absolutely) and stick to the list. It is OKAY to miss a few calls. Everyone knows you are busy during the semesters. It is not a compulsion to return all the whatsapp messages right when they arrive. You can fix a time to return all the calls and messages according to your convenience.

6. Eat, drink and Sleep – Semesters do not necessarily mean you have to stop sleeping and eating. Diet is very essential. Never skip meals before exams. Drink sufficient water to keep your body hydrated. Maintain a good posture while studying. Preferably use a study table to study. Sufficient sleep is necessary for a healthy mind. Never study all night before the exams. I have seen people failing their exams because they fell asleep during the exam and could not keep awake even for the 3 hour paper. So make sure you get enough sleep.

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7. Time-keeping – If we closely watch out routine we can make a long list of ‘time-killers’. The only way to make that extra time for studying is by cutting down on the unwanted routine tasks. Avoid TV shows, talking to friends for long hours, unnecessary parties and dinner invitations (I know it is very difficult but…) etc. Most importantly stay away from phone and day dreaming.

Birthday parties may be important to go for – just for that one friend. So make sure you have planned your day and the next in case it is a late night. I have had to gently say no for birthday parties just two days before the exam.  How you handle the situation is important. Make the friend feel loved even if you can’t make it. Tell him/her how much you will miss it.


8. Believe – Believe that you will do well. Have confidence in yourself and your preparations. Never get scared just because the guy sitting next to you studied that one extra chapter or some notes which you haven’t. None knows what appears in the examination. Meditate and relax for some time before you appear for the exam. Have faith and believe that you will succeed. Do not panic during exams and do your best.

All the best. 🙂




Apurva Kulkarni the author is a motivational writer. She is a successful  software engineering professional.



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