Exam Preparation Techniques

Knowing the best method of study

Most of us complain that they had put a lot of effort in studies but still did not get desired results. While the study material is almost same, the difference lies in the effective ways of utilizing the time and effort. As each individual is different, there is no set formula for best practices. ExamCrazy have setup a program to help students understand how to prepare.

How it works
1) ExamCrazy  selected students across India on the basis of different methods of exam preparation
2) We asked these candidates different questions which are very important before starting preparation for any Exam
3) Best response which are most applicable are posted here to help you.

Questions under discussion

Ques 1: How do you select books? Do you refer single book or multiple books for some topic?

Response#1 - I choose the books which explain the concept more clearly and precisely. I like books which have many examples ranging from simple application to the real time applications of the concept. If I feel syllabus book is not sufficient than I will refer other local author which have in depth explanation having conceptual ideas

Response#2 - I go with the text books suggested in the syllabus book given to us and also class notes of friends and seniors. I take advice of lecturers of our college about which the books to study and what topics to cover from each book. If I feel that the book doesn't provide sufficient information about a topic and when it's indeed important, I will refer the Internet source like Wikipedia and others author book.



Ques 2: How many hours you study daily? Do you prepare your time table, if yes, then how honestly you follow it?

Response#1 - I have never made any time table I study whenever I find time and feel like studying. Depending on time available and my mood I try to study as much possible. Just try to complete a subject in 2 to 4 days.

Response#2 - Based upon my grasping capacity and consistency I decide the working time. I don't like to sit and study continuously for a long time. I always want to follow the time table but I couldn't because of my surroundings, college or coaching classes. After following it for few days I get diverted more often and this will make me lag from schedule. This is my weak point and I want to improve it.

Response#3 - I prepare a time table and follow it most of the times. I do schedule my work by classifying subjects as theory and problem related and which requires more number of hours at the same time which carry more marks those requires more attention and one needs to work a lot. I also prepare a timetable according to exam date that includes the entire syllabus. Time table helps me to utilize even free time I get in college. But sometimes because of college or coaching classes it becomes difficult to follow my time table.



Ques 3: If you prepare notes, explain how you benefit from notes. Your method of making notes.

Response#1 - Notes help me keep track of what are the things I studied and how I studied it. Whenever I got to study the subject I already had notes, I will first read my notes first and try to recollect the concepts and then I will check that I remembered it correctly or not. My method of note making is composed of organized topics and hints of the topics and sub-topics. I will try to highlight the most important keywords, names, definitions of each topic in notes. Notes are easy to recall in the exam and easy to study that will help you to go again through the completed portion without any difficulties.

Response#2 - I take only class notes sometimes, but mostly I am not into making notes.



Ques 4: Do you do group study, mention details like number of persons in your group, how do you divide responsibilities among all, give benefits and losses of group studies? 

Response#1 -  I don't does group study at all. It gives losses more than the benefits like deviating from studies by gossips and unwanted lengthy discussions. There might be benefit of clearing our doubts from our friends. But I prefer studying alone and I have various other methods to clear my doubts.

Response#2 - I do group studies with some of my friend. In a group all the people spearhead towards a single aim. We decide a particular topic and share our views and knowledge. Group study is helpful for fast revision and discuss deeply. 

Response#3 -  I cannot do group study now since I don't have any friends nearby but I used to group study during my college days. We used to study in sub-groups of 2-3 person each where each will study different portions. Later on, all of us sit together and explain the topics to others. This way we could cover huge volumes of portion is small time. There is a single disadvantage I feel over group study. When one of the members is not interested, he will ruin the study since he will be a source of distraction.



Ques 5: How do you judge your preparation is proper or not?

Response#1 - When I'm unable to answer any of the question either question papers or from any other sources then I can make out that my preparation needs to be still better. If I am able to answer more questions in the areas I am preparing for, then I am in the right direction. Also if I don't finish the topics according to the time table I will judge that I am not preparing well.

Response#2 - Based on the results from the past exams I try to plan for the next exam in a better way. After results, I will compare my style of study is how much matched with the examination. From this, I will revise my way of study and preparation. I feel it's the time which plays a major role in all competitive exams. So a time manager is always a winner.  

Response#3 - I judge my preparation level by taking some mock/sample tests, previous year's papers, identify your weak points and strengthen them. Sometimes group members ask question to each other and on that basis we can decide how much our preparation is and how much effort I still need to put on.


Ques 6: How do you plan reading book(sequence of chapters/topics etc) 

Response#1 - Selection of topics is based on my interest in the topic. Sometimes I pickup easier topics and finish off, so that rest of the time can be dedicated to the hard topics. We have chapters wise in text books so I go with it. If not clear than take help from friends and group members.

Response#2 - I usually read through the book sequentially starting from the first chapter since I will be clear with the foundation or core of subject when I do this and it will be really helpful to study the advanced concepts. I give preference to the topics which I have never read before or which are tough to understand.

Response#3 - Go thoroughly. I used to complete the topics which are easy to understand so that it helps me to cover maximum thing in one go.



Ques 7: How do you check if your understanding of chapter is proper or not or you don't check? What do you do if you face some difficulty in book or can't understand some part?

Response#1 - I try to revise the chapter in mind. If most of the things comes up and solve the question of that topic than its okay. Otherwise I'll skip it in most of the cases. 

Response#2 - I check it while studying itself. As there will be some exercises/multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter and if you want to answer the problems you have to recall the things what you have studied and this will help in my understanding that how I studied. Sometimes if times don't permit I go off to the next topic. When I face difficulty in answering the question, I will go for the friends who know the concept and ask him to explain it else I will search through the internet for answers or approach another book.

Response#3 - To check whether I understood correctly or not, I will ask my friends to check it out. If no friends available than knowing the correct concept, I will search through the internet for answers or approach another book. Most probably, these will solve the problem. If it doesn't, then I will ask the respective faculty to explain the concept

Response#4 - I don't check it often. If I can't understand something then I will read it again and again and I used to give a self explanation to it


Ques 8: How do you plan to cover syllabus, any particular order. Do you discuss your friends, teacher, old papers etc before making plan? What if you think you can't cover syllabus? Do you feel covering syllabus is necessary, give reasons? 

Response#1 - I am making separate notes with syllabus at front. Since exact topic is right in front of my eye, most probably I'll be able to cover it. Semester exams, I don't take them very seriously so story is altogether different. I'll go through whole thing very fatly, skipping most of it, just to get feel of the subject. Yes, I think it's important to cover syllabus. Foremost benefit is confidence & secondly even if you have a rough idea, you will be able to work something out during exam.

Response#2 - To cover my syllabus I will be reading the unknown chapters first and then studying the know portions of the syllabus. I'll also go through the previous year question papers, in this way I've done to cover my syllabus in my college and for competitive exams. I will discuss with friends, teachers and Gate Tutor. I will cover entire syllabus if time permits. If I think that I can't cover the whole syllabus then I will give prime importance to the topic which will be more important from which the questions may arise. Covering the syllabus is in most cases is an essential one because the question paper will be focused on all the chapters, they ask a small clarification on a very small detail.

Response#3 - For tough subject I choose more days than for the easy subjects. But still if I don't get time I just leave those topics and in the last few days I revise whatever I have learnt. Before planning I take the previous year question papers and read it thoroughly so that I will get an outline of what I should do. But I don't think I have discussed with my friends or teachers. I feel that they are not up to my expectation. I felt little bit of lack of confidence if unable to cover the syllabus. Afraid if the question would be asked from that part which I left. It's important to cover the syllabus only then we will be able to get thorough understanding regarding the topic.

Response#4 - Accommodate the syllabus to be covered within the time period and as per the sequence given in the syllabus and also allow some time at the end for revision is what I follow when I plan. After a few days of preparation I can observe a lag in the portion to be covered, then I just leave the portion and continue as planned, i.e., take the revision or practice tests as planned and start working on papers.



Ques 9: What do you do while studying book to make sure that second reading or revision is fast enough? Your way to remember things studied earlier? How do you plan revision of syllabus?

Response#1 - Sometimes I go for second reading, when my mind wanders somewhere else a second reading is required. Memorizing the chapter headings and its contents also helps me to remember the topics and correlate the answer. For descriptive examinations I jot down the important key words required for the subject and for each topic/concept I use those list keywords to answer

Response#2 - I use my notes that are taken during the first study to speed up my revision and effectively cover all the things I already studied. My best way to remember thing I already studied is that, I have to completely understand the concept and few real world examples. When I just memorize the portions for the sake of exams, then I will forget it for the next exams. I have two modes of revise. A competitive exam consists of set of subjects. When I finished reading a subject, I will revise that subject once and then start the next subject. This is the first mode of revise. The second is the full revision done at the end of covering all the syllabus of the exam 

Response#3 - When I read the books that I have I simply underline the points or making notes which I feel important. If u has colored sketches that help more can also use your running notes to revise. By this way I feel my revision would be made easy and fast I go through the important points and formulae and revise the questions that are frequently asked in previous papers before exam. In my free time I try to tell the key points which I learnt that day. Sometime just discuss with friends. Before three to four days for the exam I start revising the syllabus with the key points which I took it in the form of notes and solve the papers. I feel that the revision before exam really helps you in getting good marks



Ques 10: What sources of study material do you follow (Other than regular text books.)?

Response#1 - I went through many referral books in board exams. And in engineering days nothing much than teacher's notes, standard books that are prescribed by lecturers and library books. But for the subjects I never know about them, directly jumping book will be hard. So for those subjects, I prefer the educational videos

Response#2 - I usually go for online quiz programs which are available for basic students and well prepared students and I usually go for entrance exam papers of XII which will show my understanding of basic knowledge and class notes will be helpful.

Response#3 - Magazines, online study material, eBooks, coaching institute material and friends notes.



Ques 11: How do you attempt paper or exam? Do most of time you think you could not attempt paper properly (planning or time lacked)? Your strategy in examination hall? What helped you in deciding strategy?

Response#1 - I am not thinking too much about exam hall situation. I feel that what I have 1one is up to my best knowledge and I used to put all my effort in the exam answer the questions as I prepared. I believe that what I have studied in the whole year must be presented in 3 or 2 hours and this helps me in performing better.

Response#2 - I used to put all my effort in the exam and I will be always ready with the tools required to successfully complete the exam. I will make myself prepared to face whatever the outcome of the exam is. Sometimes I feel that time is lacking then I give prime important to those questions to which I can perform better than other questions and attempting the questions with the least marks first such as 1 mark, then 2 mark and so on. This way, I won't make my time waste for the unknown questions. I had lot of practices with that test which helped to form the above strategy.

Response#3 - Firstly I read all rules. I will attend with full of my concentration and does not waste more time in a single question. If I am not able to answer it in the first time then I take second chance try it in different way and still if I am not able to answer I skip that question and go for the next question. Finally after finishing every question I go for the left questions and try answering them. Time management is must. I frequently have a watch on the time and increase my speed in answering. If no of questions is very large then look for simple ones. Yes I felt that I couldn't attempt properly especially when you left many questions, wasted time on a handful or committed silly mistakes and improper planning. I got the strategy just by previous experience of writing exams. (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16. 17, 19, 21, 22, 28, 29)



Ques 12: Do you have exam phobia? Where do you perform well, in actual exam, mock tests or at home?

Response#1 - The fear of examination depends on my preparation before going inside. Apart from that I don't think that I have exam phobia. Performance doesn't change with exam hall or home. I perform well in actual exam

Response#2 - I think so I'm exam phobia as many we noticed that I would be unable to recall the formulas or important points. Sometime because of time constraint, negative marking. At home I perform well.



Ques 13: Explain your smart steps; if you think you don't do smart preparations then mention your weak points. Mention how your steps reduce your efforts or save time?

Response#1 - I don't have any smart preparations I think this only is my weak point as rather I'll be focusing in completing the whole syllabus. I don't follow any steps that reduce my steps.

Response#2 - Most of the time my preparation will be smart enough. I use various strategies like forming acronyms for better remembering and visualizing the concepts and my talents in a different way. My ability of early understanding and fast reading with good concentration helps me a lot to have a smart preparation. My only weakness is that I am a little bit lazy and waste time. I don't go to study if I don't have good mood or good surrounding.

Response#3 - I do have smart preparations. Notes making, practice and problems are very important for preparations. I usually writes the formulas and draws the diagrams. Also I have fear of examples/ problems, I can't get the way how to solve a tricky problems. If the problem is based on the standard formula then only I am able to solve it. Yes it saves a lot of time in recalling the concept of that topic. Maintaining regular time table and giving mock test as much as possible. To save time I plan first and execute accordingly the plan.

Response#4 - I don't think I do smart preparation because when I don't get approach or answer to a particular problem at home or while discussing with friends I go through the solution or the formulae, by this I will be getting the solution when I am trying but while exam I might not get the idea or approach. I also check my luck sometimes. By noting down the important points I feel I can give a quick review of the topics by simply going through the points. Note taking also help in remembering things for long time.



Ques 14: Do you feel you have good concentration while studying? What do you do to maintain concentration or improve concentration?

Response#1 - I really don't have concentration while studying, different thoughts comes in mind while studying other than exam and study. I always prefer taking breaks for small intervals of time and my time of study is dominated by the break time. Going to a lonely place helps me gain some concentration

Response#2 - I have good concentration when I have good source of information that I prefer. When I don't have one, it will be like something bugging me and I lose concentration over time. To improve my concentration, I read the books I prefer. When I don't have that, then I will read the things that I don't understand from the book for more than one. If can't figure out the topic even after that, then I will start searching over that topic in internet. This way I can retain it. I do yoga to improve my mental state.

Response#3 - Yes, I have a good concentration. Or else I study only if I feel that I am having good concentration. Sometimes because of the circumstances it would be difficult to concentrate, in those cases I don't study. Otherwise naturally itself I have got good concentration power so I don't worry about it much. To improve my concentration I take few min breaks have some refreshment and sit for studying.



Ques 15: What do you feel you are slow reader or fast reader, explain your reading habits

Response#1 - Yes I am a good reader and whatever I read I do it with concentration. I don't need to read it twice. Found it when my friends used to tell that how I finish studying so fast.

Response#2 - I am a slow reader. I try to understand all the points so it takes time for me to read. But whatever I read once is there in my mind for long.

Response#3 - In my experience about my overall reading, I am a medium reader. But I noticed that my reading capability is dependent on book I used to learn.  


Ques 16: As per you what is the role of coaching institutes- Do you think coaching is necessary for exams, especially competitive exams? What do you do to make your coaching efficient (e.g. regular study after class, study before your class, any other)? 

Response#1 - I think coaching institutes are very essential for success in competitive exams. It is because we will be able to get materials and problem solving methodologies which we won't know while preparing alone. It gives us short cut methods to solve the numerical and also gives the good understanding of topics and the valuable materials. Study before and after class is useful as it gives a better understanding and also helps in remembering the topics covered. This will be more efficient because the subject for the exam is already studied for the semesters, so it is not so difficult to study it again.

Response#2 - They is necessary only when your school/college is not able to guide properly. Like in school I used to take tuitions. Class notes are more than enough. And for doubts, my friends are always there. There comes group study. Well u has to take mock tests though to identify your weak and strong points.

Response#3 - The role of coaching institute is to guide the aspirants by giving sufficient backup in giving an idea about each topic and the books that are to be referred, cover the syllabus, and also help the way the questions were asked in past, the other probable ways of asking the questions. Yes, coaching is necessary for competitive exam preparation. So, a topic covered in a particular class has to be read the same day. Practicing more exercises and getting exposed to variety of questions.



Ques 17: Do you use some test series, mock test to check your preparation

Response#1 - I check my preparation by writing mock tests and answering model question papers which I have downloaded from website and coaching institute. I also solve previous gate papers apart from that I have registered myself with www.examcrazy.com to solve the questions 

Response#2 - No while studying I don't see into the question papers. I refer them before exam only. I don't have a clear understanding how to study for competitive exams


Ques 18: Do you discuss topics with friends to discuss how effective is your preparation?

Response#1 - I will not discuss with them because they will confuse me about the preparation this will increase your mind stability thus poor performance in the exam. According to me self estimation is the best estimation. So I know what I am doing and what will happen to me for what I did.

Response#2 - I am the only one around my social circle preparing for the examination, so I never discussed with another person to check how effective my studies are. But I love to do it.

Response#3 - I discuss the topics with my friends and they always help me out.



Ques 19: What do you do if you feel your preparation is not proper? Do you get tensed when exams are near? How do you overcome this?

Response#1 - If am able to maintain a good schedule & feel good about my study status, than I take that as good preparation. If it's not going fine than I'll just try to work out a good schedule & put in some extra effort. I will figure out not to make the same mistake again. I will try to gain experience from the failure. I don't feel any tensed when the preparation are all on the line. I won't get too excited in tension about this though. I will always look for the next step to overcome this situation

Response#2 - If I feel my preparation is not proper I try planning in different way in a most effective way. I usually believe that what I am doing is good and I will ask some suggestions with my teacher and friends and the final decision will be mine whether to change the method of preparation or not. Generally near exam times I get much tensed. I lose my confidence due to some unknown reason. To know what I have missed I keep listen to my friends discussion and try to understand as far as possible, I clarify if I have any doubts


Ques 20: Some aspects of your personality which affect your exam preparation (points below will help you in writing answer, you can add more points as per your wish)


Response#1 - Yes I think that by observing rather than sitting and reading with books you can understand more things. I remember the concepts that I study only on revision. I try to keep things as simple as possible. But I don't do things correct at first time. It takes me second or more chances to understand what is good for me. I personally feel I never put the required hard work in my study. And if I put some time, I don't get the return

Response#2 - I am a moderate observer. I remember some things on 1st study but not all. But after 2nd study, I will not forget it. Yes, definitely if I had worked hard I would have got in return. But, all the time as my preparation is not complete I feel that I should work even harder. I believe that there is no substitute for hard work. Working hard also requires smarter methodologies usage. Hard working with the great support will produce even great results.

Response#3 - I don't think I am a good observer. I try my best to remember things that I study but I don't remember all that I study. I do believe in hardwork-90%, at the same time, TIME -5%and LUCK- 5% also matters. Sometimes yes and many times no.