Mar 8

Tackling Exams Part – I

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The following has been adapted from a few chapters of our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn published by Harper Collins. For more insights and details, you can buy the book from almost any bookshop and most online portals that sell books. For buying it from click

There is a wonderful attitude to adopt when you are giving an exam. Think of an exam as a game. One which your teacher has set up for you to play – exclusively for you to figure out exactly how much you know of a particular subject. By the way, it also points out to the teacher how much they have succeeded in teaching the required knowledge. Your teacher challenges you with a series of questions that will determine if you have understood the knowledge and its application. You rise up to the challenge and see if you can win…

An exam is just a game a teacher and student play with each other. When you think of an exam like this, all the stress vanishes and your brain works at optimum levels. Here are a few tips to help you play the game really well. These tips assume that you have studied well through the semester and you are not on a last minute studying binge. I have a few tips for that calamitous state, which I will share in the next post.

Meanwhile, if you are in a hurry to get to that post or get more tips than the ones outlined below please buy our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to learn from and read up the chapter on Emergency Studying.

The Day (or Evening) before the Exam:

  1. Drink plenty of water, totally avoid white sugar and refined flour. This means no soft drinks, ice creams etc. Eat 5 smaller more frequent meals than 3 big meals. Do not fast.
  2. Get some sort of exercise done. A short 20 minute walk will do.
  3. Set out all the things you need for the exam the next day. Pens (make sure they have enough ink and are writing smoothly), pencils (sharpened), erasers, rulers, colours if you need any, hall ticket, etc. Have a check list and make sure everything is in place. Decide what you are going to wear the next day and lay out the clothes. Wear loose comfortable clothes.
  4. Revise everything you have studied. If you have created mind maps or use flash cards, go over them now and enjoy the instant recall of the most important things you need to remember. If you don’t know what mind maps or flash cards are, don’t worry about them, just revise stuff the way you normally would. Draw out rough diagrams, remember to label them if your work requires that. Don’t try to learn anything new at this point. Plan to finish this latest by 11 pm. Go to bed then. Sleep is critical to success.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep.


The Morning of the day of the Exam:

  1. In the morning, definitely have a bowl of fruits. You may have whatever you like to eat for breakfast about 30 minutes after the fruits. Eat lightly.
  2. If you know how to meditate, meditate 20 minutes. This will help you more than anything else today.
  3. Just skim over everything you have studied. Stop looking at your books at least an hour before your exam.
  4. Get to the exam hall 15 minutes before the exam is due to start.
  5. Use the toilet if required.


During the Exam:

  1. Pray. Help from all quarters is always welcome!
  2. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip occasionally. It’s nice to stay hydrated.
  3. Take a few minutes to read the entire question paper before beginning to attempt anything.
  4. You DON’T need to answer the questions in sequence. Start with stuff you are utterly confident about. Finish that. Then move to stuff you think you can handle. If you get stuck anywhere for more than 4 to 5 minutes abandon the answer and move to the next question. You can come back to it later if there is time. Attempt all the things you know or you think you know before going to the more challenging parts of the paper.
  5. Attempt everything. Write something – even if it sounds silly. Write it out. Many times examiners are looking for excuses to give marks, if there is nothing written, they cannot give credit.
  6. If you have finished answering everything and there is time left towards the end, spend it on beautifying your answer sheet. Underline key words, draw lines to separate answers, highlight key points, etc.


After the Exam:

  1. Don’t hang around discussing the answers. You have written what you have written and there is no way to change that. Results will come in their own time.
  2. Go home.
  3. Eat a nice meal and rest.
  4. Rinse and Repeat.


There is quite a bit of research and our own personal experience at tackling exams embedded in these tips. More in our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn which you can get from or almost any bookstore in the country.

All the very Best!!

Jai Gurudeva!
Bawa (n Dinesh)

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