Posted in Tips and Techniques

Taking HEAVY notes in class can be detrimental for your understanding

We all have the notion that we should take good notes from the class. But some have the misconception that good notes refer to writing everything that the teacher says in the class, or everything that is shown in the slides. But this is not true!

Writing notes is important for us to understand which topics were covered and what important facts were discussed. But by writing everything that a teacher speaks in a class, we actually waste more of our time than we actually use it. Let’s see how.

When we focus on writing, we put least percentage of concentration on understanding the concept. Let’s put it this way. When we understand and write in class at the same time, we are dividing our concentration into two parts: listening and writing. By listening, we can understand the concept of the subject. By writing, we can remember which parts were taught. So it is more important for us to understand what was taught in class. Hence, what we need to do is we need to put more percentage of your concentration into listening and least into writing.

So how do we do it?

We should take notes in the form of points. Like we add bullet headings in a presentation. This actually helps a lot. It helps us write the most important parts of the whole lecture and it also saves time while writing and gives us more time to listen.

The more we understand, the more our brain is exercised. And the more our brain is exercised, the more critical thinking our brain can do. And that is the whole purpose of our education. We must be able to think of innovative ideas so that we can nurture our education. And spending more time writing will not allow us to spend so much time in thinking, since we are more consumed into just hearing and writing, with least interest in understanding.

So, it we want our brain to be better at work and for us to shine in our education, start learning to store information more in your brain than your notebook. Because you will ultimately carry your brain everywhere, not your notebook.

Our brain has so much storage capacity that we can’t fill it up in a lifetime. So, we don’t have to worry about using up space. Let’s just listen and understand.

And yeah, take short and crisp notes that help you to revive the information in your head.

Apply this, and you will se a huge change in your thinking capacity.

Posted in Tips and Techniques

Top 3 techniques to concentrate better in your studies before exam

In order to talk about techniques to concentrate on studies, first it is essential to categorise students into 2 broad groups. The first group consists of students who study throughout the year/semester and hence it is easier for them to maintain concentration on their studies as they have been in practice all the time. The second category consists of students who pass their time without studying the whole year and just 10-15 days before the exam, they realise that it is high-time for them to start studying. And this is when they buckle under pressure and fail to concentrate on their studies. So the techniques that I am going to share here will be especially for those who have not been in the practice or studying for some time and all of a sudden have to concentrate really hard for their upcoming examinations. 

So here I have 3 techniques that will actually help both the categories. The first two are specially for the 2nd category students and the third one is for both. So let’s get to those.

Number 1:

The first technique is to start studying slowly. What I mean by this is that when you start studying after a long time, your brain finds it really difficult to focus on the topic. So if you try to hurry yourself into the subject, you will not be able to understand anything. It will be just a waste of time. So at the very beginning you need to tell yourself that you have a lot of time. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a week away from your exams. You need to feed your brain with the information that you have a lot of time. This helps to calm down your brain which will help it to focus better. Then start studying at a slow pace, word by word, trying to understand what the topic means. As you go slow, the brain starts to get acquainted with what you are trying to do and you will see that you are understanding the topic. After about an hour of this, you will automatically feel that you are reading faster but with equal amount of understanding. It is really important to start slow, to give your brain the chance to get a feel of what is going on, as you have started to do this after a bit of a gap. After about 2-3 hours, you will find your speed has increased to what is most compatible for you and you are back on track. 

Number 2:

The second method is an alternative of the first. There are situations when even after trying to read slowly you find your brain is extremely cluttered due to any sort of distraction in your life. In that case, follow this. When you start reading, imagine that there are students sitting in front of you and you have to explain them that topic. So you play the role of a teacher. So read every para and explain it to your virtual students. What is does is, you are now forced to understand the concept with full authority in order to teach someone that. So you go on understanding and you keep on teaching. After a while you will realise that you don’t need to play the role anymore and you are automatically synced with the subject and it’s easier for your to understand what you are reading. Slowly your speed will increase, and again, you are back on track. 

Number 3:

The third technique is the famous Pomodoro technique. I would suggest students of category 2 to first follow either of the two and once you have established your concentration and speed of reading, then follow this. For category 1 students, you can jump right into this. What you do here is take small breaks between your study. As for example, the most compatible one for me was to select a 1 hour session of study and in that, I would study 50 minutes and take 10 minutes of break. And make sure that you set yourself a target to complete in those 50 minutes. This will help you to focus better and also increase your speed. You can do one additional trick here. Set a reward for yourself that you will get only when you finish the target in the 50 minutes and enjoy the reward in the next 10 minutes. This will help to keep your brain enthusiastic and active. You find that you speed and quality of study has increased dramatically along with the quantity. 

Try these out and I am sure if you follow these correctly, you will be benefited.

Cheers!!

Posted in Tips and Techniques

Exam Hack: How to prepare 1 day before the exam

First things first. In this article you will find the tricks and techniques that you need to follow in order to complete most part of the syllabus. I will be assuming that you have not studied anything in the entire semester or year and here you are, hitting your head on the wall, with no idea what to do. Don’t worry, I have been in the same situation, and fortunately for me, I have got things worked out. I will share those with you today.

Let’s get to work…Source: irishtimes.com

Requirements:

  1. The whole syllabus: Keep this with you no matter what, and yeah, get a print out of it. NOT to be kept in front as a PDF. You will need this to be marked later.
  2. Gather the previous years’ question papers. 3-4 years will do the job. The PDF version will work, as you just need to go through them.
  3. The notes you need to study. If you cant get hold of everything then search it on Google and keep it bookmarked.
  4. A pen and a notebook. Well you know why you will need them. If not, the go join the kindergarten again!

So now that you have these things ready with you, lets get to the steps.

Step 1:

Take you syllabus and go through it. Just simply do it. Once done, you now have a clear idea of what you are going to face. 

Important: This is the most underrated step that most students don’t follow. Make sure you don’t miss out on this. Go through the whole syllabus thoroughly. It will only take 10-15 minutes of your time.

Step 2:

Gather all the question  papers and again go through them. Now when you have an idea which part of the syllabus is more common in the previous questions, you target those parts of the syllabus.

Small trick: Remember I told you to keep the syllabus printed? Now, take a pen or pencil and mark all the important parts in the syllabus. This will help you stay focused and keep you away from getting panicked.

Step 3:

Now that you have all the parts that you need to cover in front of you, you need to do the real thing now… STUDY.

So, before you head off to your notes, make sure to do this:

Go over to YouTube and find short 3-4 minute videos about the topic that you are going to start. Watch those videos. This will allow you to have a basic idea of the subject. This will help you to understand the notes at a much higher rate. And this is really important. I have experienced a time benefit of 30-45 minutes if when I watch a video on the topic before I start reading the notes.

Step 4:

READ. STUDY.

After you have seen the video, go ahead and study.

KEEP YOURSELF AWAY FROM ALL DISTRACTIONS !!!!!

This is extremely important because you have just 1 day to cover the syllabus. No bullshitting now. Keep your social media interactions out of the way for today. Be serious now, because you haven’t been the whole year. 

IT’S PRIME TIME.

Additional study trick: To study faster, follow the POMODORO technique.

I have explained more about this technique in my other blog: Top 3 techniques to concentrate better in your studies before exam

This technique involves studying for a long time and then taking short breaks. Let me give you the format that I use which has helped me a lot. I study for 50 minutes and take 10 minutes break. But the most important part is setting targets for those 50 minutes. When you set targets, you are more focused on your job and you get things done faster. And in those 10 minutes, give yourself some treat. Have something good. Make it a reward for studying hard for those 50 minutes. This will help keep you going for the longer time period.

Step 5:

Whatever you study, write everything in bullets. You don’t have time to make your own notes now. So write everything in bullets. Just the important stuff.

By doing this, you have two benefits:

  1. You get a better chance of remembering the stuff because writing something makes you remember it more than just reading.
  2. If you get some time to revise, you can revise it very quickly just before going for the exam. Even if you have reached the exam hall and you suddenly remember that you missed out on revising something, you can do that real quick before the exam starts and write the answers accordingly.

Additional tips:

  1. Don’t get panicked. You have a lot of time. One day is more than sufficient for you to get 70-80% of marks (provided, you have attended the classes sincerely). I myself managed to get 8.0 SGPA following these steps, but I had attended my classes seriously. So, I had that to my advantage. And if you are thinking you just need to pass, then that is super easy. Just follow the steps, you should be easily getting the pass mark. 
  2. Make sure you are hydrated and have stuff to eat. This will help keep your mind feed on the nutrition to keep working.
  3. Don’t spend a sleepless night before the exam. I have seen people having brain fades during exams just because they didn’t sleep the last night. Make sure you get at least 3-4 hours of sleep. 

So, that is all about the tricks that you need to follow to prepare for your exams. 

All the best. But make sure you study consistently from the next year.

Cheers!!

Posted in Motivation for Students, Tips and Techniques

How to wake up early

Waking up early can be a real pain in the ass for most of us. But it can be a real blessing if we learn how to do it. It is extremely essential to keep this in mind that waking up early does’t mean sleeping less. It means sleeping for the exact amount of time that you need for your body’s proper functioning, but a little early in the night. Make sure you get at least 6 hours of sleep in the total 24 hours of the day. 

It is understandable that it will be hard for all of us who are late wakers to  get into the groove real quick. And that is the reason why I have come up with this solution that would help you wake up without much hesitation.

Source: wellnessmantrablog.com

In order to do that, we need to just do one thing. Select a Purpose.

Every single night before going to bed, thing of one task that you would do first thing after getting up. But in order for you to put get your ass out of bed, you need to make that purpose as exciting as possible. It might be a hobby, it might be a fantasy or any sort of shit that you would love to do.

Let me give you an example. I love playing cricket. So, whenever I would plan to go out to play the next morning, I wouldn’t hesitate even once before waking up. Because I would be doing something that I love. And procrastinating in that case was not even a question. So, as soon as my eyes would open up, I would get out of bed, brush and run out of my room to the field. I had an extra energy.

That’s why choose something that you are passionate about; because…

 Passion always beats procrastination

The Verbal Explainer
Posted in Tips and Techniques

5 techniques to write great answers in examination (+1 BONUS tip)

Image source: UPSC today

Many of us find it tough to figure out what type of answers would the teacher love so that we get good marks in our exam. It sometimes gets really tricky and we fumble by not being able to construct an answer in the correct format.

Here I will share with you 5 techniques that I have implemented myself in the past to get good benefits out of it. I am pretty sure this will help you as well. So, let’s get to business.

1. Have a good concept of the subject matter:

It is one of the foremost thing that you need to have before you are ready to write an answer. Once you have a good grasp of the concept, it will allow you to write a perfect answer in a well constructed manner. Unless you have that, you will falter in putting out good information and end up having an answer that’s more of a repeated stuff of the same content. This is not what you want. So, understand the subject in a way that you are able to teach it to someone else. This will make you be in full authority over writing the answer.

2. Divide your answer into suitable segments:

It is really important for you to understand that a well constructed answer needs to have a good brief introduction on the topic, followed by the main body, where you explain the main subject matter. And at the end, you need to have strong conclusion. What this does is that it makes your answers systematic. This will allow the evaluator to have a clear idea of what you are trying to convey. So make sure you have atleast these three segments in your answer: The Introduction (keep it brief. No one likes a huge intro), The Main Body and a Conclusion.

The important thing about the conclusion is that you need to make it a good one. Because when you conclude something nicely, it ensures the evaluator that you have understood the subject and you were not bluffing in the answer. It puts a good impression.

3. Write the answers in small paragraphs:

It is one of the most undervalued part while writing an answer. Think of an answer that you are asked to check that contain 1-2 pages of writing without any changes in paragraph. You are bound to get bored or even irritated while checking it. But if you see an answer sheet having well spaced paragraphs it makes it better for you to go through the answers. So, it is aesthetically very good to have short paragraphs of writing. It will make it easier for the evaluator to check.

REMEMBER: You don’t write an answer for yourself. You write if for someone else who is going to have a look at it. So make sure you present it in a nice way.

4. Add diagrams or flow charts:

It is also an extremely integral part of writing answers. Adding diagrams to answers makes you answer script not only look nice, but also it makes it easier to understand with diagrams than with just writing. Also, adding diagrams into your answers will provoke the teacher to realise that you have a good knowledge of the subject.

Sometimes its not possible to add diagrams to all answers. Then go for flowcharts or graphs. These things also help a lot to represent your answers in a nutshell.

Again I say, remember that you are writing it for the evaluator. So present your answer script nicely. You don’t want to piss off that guy.

5. Add references:

This one is tough. I admit. But if you can do that, it will boost your answer’s level to the top. By references, I mean, if you have gone through any research paper or even any article on that subject matter, then mention it while you write the answer. Put a small bracket after the end of the line and write the name of the scientists or authors. Here is a small example:

Telomerase enzyme can have anti aging effects ( John, et al., 2001).

[The name of scientist and year are fictional.]

Doing this is so great, because, not many students will put in that much effort to be able to write references in the answer scripts. So, if you can do it, it automatically gives you an added advantage over the others. Go ahead and try it.

BONUS TIP:

When you write an answer, think that the evaluator doesn’t have good knowledge on the topic and you are imparting the knowledge to him through your answer. When you start thinking like this, you will automatically start writing the answer in a well organised way so that the evaluator can understand the subject matter properly.

If I have to say it in a raw way, think that you are the teacher and you are creating notes for your students. So, you will never want your students to learn a poor answer, would you? So be in the driver’s seat when you write an answer.

That’s all for this segment.

If you think that there are some techniques that can be followed then do let me know. I would appreciate that a lot.

Also, try these techniques and let me know in the comments if you benefited from these.

Cheers!