#1 “the classroom is where most of the preparation is done”
No matter how much you hate your teacher or subject, just pay attention during lesson. DO NOT say you can try to learn later by reading the notes. Why waste that times you can understand straightaway by listening to your teacher? Use the time later to compare what you have learned in class with what you read in the textbooks and maybe try a question or two. The biggest reason why many students fail to understand the topics is that they do not pay attention in class. Due to the hatred of the students towards the teachers or subjects, most of them refuse to listen to what the teachers say in class. If you refuse to pay attention in class just because you hate the teacher or subject, the person who will suffer in the end will be you.
#2 “sleep is more important than study. Seriously.”
Did anyone tell you to study late into the night or wake up at 4am the next morning? If yes, tell that person to shut up and get lost! It is useless to study when you’re lack of sleep because your brain won’t remember anything from what you’ve read. If you feel sleepy when you’re studying, just go ahead and sleep. The reason why students fail to gain anything from their revision is that they study when they’re feel tired. Studying when you’re not in the mood is just a waste of time and effort.
#3 “last-minute revision is hopeless. Early month revision is suicidal”
Are you one of those bookworms who stick with their books and revise every single day? If yes, stop here because this tip won’t work for you. Despite of advices from teachers to start revisions early, revising too early is actually as useless as last-minute revision. This is because you will probably forget almost everything by the time of exam. The best time to start your revision is about 15-20 days before exam. Any earlier, then you probably won’t remember what you’ve read from 3 weeks ago. But any later, then your only hope is to pray for miracle.
p/s: this tip is not applicable to those who are bookworms or possess excellent memories.
#4 “understanding matters most. Experience matters just as much”
Ever wonder what are the uses of doing homework and past papers? to keep you busy so that the teacher can enjoy his cup of tea? To get a sneak peak on what question might be in the progress test? Hell no! they’re for you to gain experience on answering question on certain topics. Just because you understand the topic doesn’t mean you’re prepared to answer its question. So now you should understand why it is highly recommended for you to do the homework on your own, and not copied from your friends. The teachers never gain or lose anything from your plagiarism. It’s you who will miss the valuable experience if you don’t make use of the work given to you.
#5 “always learn beyond the syllabus. Cure your curiosity”
Learn beyond the syllabus to find out more extra facts about the topics you learn in the syllabus. Big textbooks, internet and science programs in the TV are usually the best place to learn these “off-syllabus” topics. Although they’re not asked in the exams, they sometimes can prove very useful. Knowing more about the interesting facts and history behind the things we take for granted actually helps to deepen our interest for the particular subjects. After all, you will find it easier to learn if you have great interest for subjects you’re learning.
#6 “realism rules over optimism”
Are you inspired by the person in class who always seems to hit a perfect score? Are you thinking about challenging him/her in the next test? If you are, then think again. Although optimism is crucial in getting yourself mentally prepared for an exam, an overdose of it will more probably result in frustration and disappointment. If you still believe in the saying “everyone has the equal potential to achieve”, then you’re probably “over-influenced” by the crappy motivational or religious talks. The intelligence of a person is genetically fixed even before birth so everyone has their own limits no matter how hard you’re trying to push them. Let’s face it – life is NEVER fair. But if you can understand what you’re reading here, then you’re on the favorable side of the inequality. So set your goals and expectations reasonably according to your own potential. After all, success is not about achieving the best, but about achieving the expectations you have set for yourself.
p/s: the tips here are only to give you ideas about how some students prepare for their exams. It may work for some people, but may not for some others. if you think you have better way, then its recommended that you follow your own way.
Thanks to Jong Ming Chuan for sharing these tips. he is one of the scholarship receipents who would be pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering in Singapore. ASEAN scholarship ehhhhhh.. he got straight A's in A'level..