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How to study smart and prepare for examinations.

Updated on May 6, 2011


 As a former teacher/lecturer I am well aware of the problems that beset students in their bid to gain qualifications that will assist their hopes and aspirations for life. One thing in particular has always been clear to me and that is that it is not always the brightest who score the highest. In some way this explains why we see so many so-called educational failures go on to produce blinding careers whilst at least some of the educational high fliers wither on the career tree.

Key to success in my view are certain basic principles that quite often we are not told about or do not grasp till our formal Education is over. I have thus, concluded, and I am clearly not alone in thinking ,that the key is to study smart, not longer or supposedly harder. I know I am not alone for at the end of this you may link to another, personally unknown to me, who has used just that premise for a guide to help those in study in this era.

In my time there was no such help. The equation was simply that if you did not understand then you were either thick or not working hard enough. Thus, do more of what has failed you so far and you will succeed was basically the message. I can still remember hour after disturbing hour sitting in the silence of the Library staring at notes and books that just would not transfer to my brain.I actually, thought it was my fault, till right at the end of my High School time, we were given the opportunity, without preparation to take an additional examination called General Studies. I can still remember the exam and not believing how I sailed through it. At last, I realised how the High Fliers had felt for years. Thus the B Grade boy turned in an A++ and, my Headmaster told me later, caused a major overhaul of teaching methods at the School.

Clearly, I had experienced no study stress for the work was based on things I had absorbed along my route to it. Thus, study stress is something I have always tried to assist students in avoiding. More of that a little later.



Thus also with revision I have come to realise that actually taking time to PREPARE to Revise is as important if not more so, than the Revision itself.Organise your work into modules of no more than 20 minutes in time to study. Break for 10 minutes and return to your module. That way I have found is of significant help to many. Simple but trust me, effective.


Years of marking papers have often seen me in despair as I check over a very capable answer from a student that is doomed at the outset to failure. This is simply because the student has failed to grasp, or simply ignored the question on the paper, preferring to answer one they have determined should be answered. Inevitably they score poorly, even though you know there is ability there and in many cases, again, stress has provoked the problem.

So step back, calm and take time to prepare and if, as I have indicated you feel lonely and exposed, then fear not there are many areas of help easily available to you which will help you to study smart and make the grade.


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