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Self-study tips for competitive exams

Self-study tips for competitive exams

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3 Mins
Tips for competitve exams

How to prepare for JEE mains?

How to craft NEET without any coaching?

If you’re in 11th or 12th standard, these questions are probably haunting you at night?

Every year, millions of students opt for competitive/entrance exams’ coaching, but only a handful of them go through. Did you ever wonder what’s the difference between them and rest of the students?

The answer is — Self-study!

There’s no substitute for self-study when it comes to competitive exams. Doesn’t matter whether you’re taking coaching classes or you’re set out to conquer it on your own, you can’t clear it until either you somehow get your hands on the question paper of the exam or you self-study.

And by self-study, we don’t mean to shove your face in the books for hours only to end up grasping nothing out of it.

So if you're gearing up for a competitive exam and don’t know where to start, stay tuned with us ‘coz this blog is exactly what you need right now. We’re talking about the right approach that can boost your confidence, improve your knowledge, and increase your chances of success on the exam day.

So let's dive in and discover how to maximize your self-study efforts.

Read Also: How to crack NEET without coaching?

Importance of self-study for competitive exams

Self-study refers to a tailored approach to study by a student for a particular exam. 

But why it is important?

For starters, it helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses focus on areas that need improvement. But wait, that’s not all to it. Self study lets you take the control of your own learning so you can learn at your own pace. It also enables you to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter, which is crucial for performing well on any exam.

Moreover, self-study is a great way to boost your confidence. As you begin to see progress in your learning, you'll feel more confident about your abilities and more prepared for the exam. 

Self-study is also a great way to cultivate & develop good habits, such as time management and organization, that will helps you a lot later down the road.

Tips for effective self-study

Now that we understand the importance of self-study, let's dive into some tips for effective self-study.

Setting realistic study goals

It's important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it. Over the past few years, we’ve seen many students trying adopting the study plan of toppers only to find themselves nowhere.

Our advice — Don’t jump the gun!

Instead, take a step back and understand the exam format and syllabus. Once you’re done with it, identify your weaknesses and strengths — Make a list of topics you’ve already good grip on, and topics that require some work from your end. This will give you a clear idea of what you need to study and how much time you'll need to allocate to each topic. Once you have an idea, break down your overall goal into smaller, more manageable goals that suits to your capabilities. This way you can set specific goals for each topic and track your progress as you go. 

This realistic approach will help you to stay motivated and focused throughout your study period.

Creating a study schedule

Now that you have your study goals sorted, it’s time put them into a schedule. First calculate the time you have in hand, and based on your previous calculations of topics you’re already good at and topics you should focus on, organize your time and ensures that you cover all the necessary topics before the exam. When creating your study schedule, make sure to allocate enough time for each topic and include breaks to avoid burnout.

One of the most famous and effective ways to divide your study time and rest periods is Pomodoro technique, which involves studying in 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks in between. This helps to improve focus and concentration and reduces the risk of burnout.

Choosing the right study materials

And by right study material, we don’t mean just the relevant resources. There are a lot of resources available, including textbooks, online courses, and practice tests. It's important to choose materials that are relevant to the exam and suit your learning style.

For example, if you're a visual learner, you may benefit from using diagrams and flowcharts to help you understand complex topics. If you prefer audio learning, you may benefit from listening to podcasts or lectures.

Effective note-taking techniques

Diving into the brick-width books everytime is not humanly possible until you have some sort of super power. That’s why you have notes to navigate through. They condense the important topics into bite-sized text that you can revisit anytime. 

Therefore, effective note-taking techniques are important for self-study. It's important to take clear and concise notes that summarize the key points of each topic. This helps you to retain information and makes it easier to revise later on.

One effective technique is the Cornell method, which involves dividing your notes into two columns. The right-hand column contains the main points, while the left-hand column contains further explanation and examples. This helps you to organize your notes and makes it easier to review them later on.

Also, if you’re taking coaching classes, you can use the below method of note-taking suggested by University of Michigan.

Utilizing technology for self-study

Technology — though often considered as a distraction to studies — when used properly can be a great tool for self-study. There are a lot of apps and tools available that can help you to study more effectively. For example, flashcard apps like Anki or Quizlet can help you to memorize key concepts and definitions.

You can also use online resources to supplement your learning. There are platforms that offer a wide range of courses and tutorials on various subjects, which can help you to gain a deeper understanding of the topics you're studying.

Read Also: Tips: How to Control Negative Thoughts During Exam Preparation

Staying motivated during self-study

Does it ever happened to you that you’re fully motivated to learn something and go with the full enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm slowly fades away?

Well, that’s because motivation has a limited shelf. And, until & unless, you do something about it, it will go away in no time.

Therefore, it's important to find ways to stay motivated and focused throughout your study period. One effective approach is to set rewards for yourself when you achieve your study goals.

For example, you could reward yourself with a movie night or a night out with friends when you complete a particularly challenging topic. This helps to keep you motivated and gives you something to look forward to.

Taking breaks and self-care during self-study

Now, most of you reading this must be in your senior secondary year at school. And we’re sure that it has happened to you all at one point or another, especially class 12th students, when a teacher hijacks your lunch break and a period after that to complete his/her syllabus. Suddenly you find yourself to not to grasp even a word that they’re teaching you. It is because our brain is already in burnout state with all those classes before, and a break is must to freshen up for the remaining classes.

The same applies to self-study. It's important to take regular breaks to avoid burnout and to give your brain time to rest and recharge. During your breaks, make sure to engage in activities that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or going for a walk.

It's also important to take care of your physical health during self-study. Make sure to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. These habits will help you to stay focused and energized throughout your study period.

Conclusion and final thoughts

If you’re confused about how to prepare for JEE mains or any other competitive/entrance exam, remember self-study plays a crucial role in your success. It allows you to take control of your learning and tailor your study approach to your own needs. By setting realistic study goals, creating a study schedule, choosing the right study materials, taking effective notes, utilizing technology, staying motivated, and taking breaks, you can maximize your self-study efforts and increase your chances of success on test day.

Remember, effective self-study takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. By following these tips and developing good study habits, you can achieve your goals and succeed in any competitive exam. Good luck!

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Our team has been through the journey of competitive exams and understands the problems faced by aspirants. This has helped us in creating the most effective solution
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