What if I told you a very simple and easy to follow self study plan to score 99% marks in any exam. What if I also gave you the secret study plans that toppers follow, which will make this journey very easy for you.
Ok, so let’s first talk about the problems we face – the theory subjects are boring, the syllabus is too vast, we forget what we study, how do we revise everything before the exam and there are too many jargon’s and definitions to remember.
In this article I will give you
1. Step-by-Step 6 month self-study plan to score 99% marks in any exam
2. 10 Common Mistakes and
3. Bonus Tips
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. This is a quote by famous footballer Pele. So let’s take lessons from athletes and sports persons to make a perfect self study plan to score top marks in any exam.
This is like the first day at the gym, where the instructor will show us around all the equipment and talk about the road map going forward. Chances are, we stay there for a short time and come back excited about starting the workout regime.
Similarly, when we start studying a subject for the first time, we should pre-read the chapter. Flip the pages, go back, read the summary, the headings and the main points. Skim over the questions at the back of the chapter. Short and sweet – close the chapter.
– trying to finish 10 chapters on the first reading and hoping to remember every thing.
1/2 days later
You return to the gym well prepared mentally and physically. You do a good warm up, some basic routines, fewer reps and once again, the session may not last too long.
In the first reading get an overview from cover to cover. Read the chapter word by word, do not highlight or try to remember anything. Just get conceptual clarity of the chapter. Compare the information to something you may have learnt earlier and make linkages.
– long gap between pre-reading and 1st reading – ideal is 24/48 hours
– Trying to remember all the information in the 1st reading.
One week Later
Now the gym trainer will focus on getting your form right. Each exercise is done slowly with fewer reps, and the goal is to perfect the form.
The second reading, a week later, also should focus on structural clarity. Take important topics and answer the back of the chapter questions using the QAEE technique. At this stage, highlight important points, make notes, draw diagrams, understand the facts, examples and evidence. Go slow, do a few topics each day, but focus on perfecting your structural clarity.
– Long gap between 1st and 2nd reading – ideal is 1/2 weeks
– Memorizing at this stage
At this stage the trainer will begin focusing on specific muscle groups e.g. on one day you might just do exercises for the quads and hamstrings, on another chest and upper back. In basketball or football, the coach might devote the entire session to just passing. On the next day, it will be dribbling perhaps.
This is the stage to start focusing on important concepts. Drill down one concept at a time – highlight keywords, devise acronyms and mnemonics, draw mind maps, tables, flowcharts. Close your book and try to write down the concept in your own words. Just stay with one concept for a period of time, and simplify it. Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.
Seek to master one concept at a time.
– Overloading your brain by covering 2/3 chapters on one day.
– Doing one thing for too long – just like in the gym cross train and avoid successive days of the same type of workout, similarly, rotate your subjects.
Go beyond your trainer. So just like an athlete would consult a nutritionist, senior players, a masseur or another coach to make sure that they are not missing anything.
Similarly this is the time for us to use supplementary material e.g. other textbooks, podcasts, documentaries, youtube videos etc.
– Using too much supplementary material too early in the preparation cycle might end up confusing you.
Practice, practice, practice. Remember the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour – rule. Each skill needs hours and hours of practice – be it shooting, jumping or bowling. Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.
Practice math and numeric subjects intensively. For theory subjects, practice remembering important information and terminology – teach someone, discuss it in a group, use flash cards, read keywords aloud or do mock tests
– Doing mock tests too early
– Doing too many practice tests. Instead, do one test, analyse your mistakes and go back and clarify the concept before doing another test.
Increase the duration and difficulty of the practice sessions. Push yourself, test your limits. Professional athletes have long known that the only ‘secret’ to success is to bust your limits daily and to do it for years. Every champion hates training. Your biggest opponent is yourself.
Also start drilling down your notes. Start making them concise so you know exactly what to revise on the last day.
Keep an eye on the match day. Start setting clear goals. Focused practice with enough rest, sleep and good nutrition. Track your progress but watch your self talk. Are you telling yourself how well prepared the other students are? Keep motivation levels high. Try meditation to focus. Remember that the expert was also once a beginner.
1. Rest and Sleep – The brain is a muscle which needs rest and recovery. Take frequent breaks, ensure you sleep for at least 7 hours each night. And eat nutritious food.
2. Morning hours tend to be more productive than the evenings, so maximise those hours and cut out distractions
3. Gamify your study plan – set small targets and reward yourself frequently. Create a leaderboard like a game, buy colourful stationery, make it enjoyable and build rewards.
Without commitment you’ll never start but without consistency you’ll never finish. Without self discipline, success is impossible and it’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.