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Preparing for exams

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Most schools are on Easter holidays and conscientious students will be using the break to prepare for upcoming examinations. I am writing this article to help students with examination preparation.

1 Start now. If you have not yet started your examination preparations, start now! The Easter break is a good time to start revision and to get yourself organised for exams. Do not put the preparation off. Use your time wisely. Organise your study space, review the syllabus and determine what you need to focus on.

2 Create a schedule. Create a study timetables. You already should know what course work you have to cover and, therefore, you should do a realistic schedule of activities. Plan your study and create a daily to-do list. This is the time of year when you must dedicate more time to studying and exam preparation. You may have to cut back on extracurricular activities. Priority is the name of the game.

3 Practise. Practise. Practise. In order to remember what you have studied, most persons have to revise two to four times. Give yourself enough time to revise. Avoid the last-minute cramming. Find problems to test your knowledge - you may get questions from your textbook, online, or past examination questions.

4 Study technique is important. Do not redo your work. Avoid reading over the textbook and other sources. Focus on your organised notes. Try to focus at this time.

5 Use the study methods that work for you. There are different methods of studying. By now, you should know what works well for you. Some persons like to study in groups, others like to study alone and there are others who like a combination of the two methods.

Group work can be a great way to study. Groups keep the interest going and you have persons to support you, and to explain things you may not understand. Manage your group well in order to reduce time wasting.

6 Avoid distractions. Distractions come in all forms. Distractions are things, situations and persons who will compete with your study time. It may be the television, the cellphone, the Internet or your friends. Keep distractions to a minimum.

7 Get adequate sleep. Yes, I know time may be limited. But in order to be able to study well and perform well on exams, you need adequate amounts of sleep. That is why the last-minute preparation does not work.

8 Find time to exercise and relax. In between preparations, you need to find time to relax and do your exercise. In fact, exercise helps the brain to function better and you become more productive.

9 Watch what you eat. Diet, too, is important.

Dr Wendel Abel is a consultant psychiatrist and head, Section of Psychiatry, Dept Of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies; email: yourhealth@