Five common mistakes students preparing for exams should avoid

Acing competitive exams is a challenging task in today’s academic environment. The number of applicants for competitive tests, such as the CAT, GMAT, CLAT, etc., is consistently rising every year, increasing the competition level dramatically.

The number of applicants for competitive tests, such as the CAT, GMAT, CLAT, etc., is consistently rising every year, increasing the competition level dramatically. (StockPic)
The number of applicants for competitive tests, such as the CAT, GMAT, CLAT, etc., is consistently rising every year, increasing the competition level dramatically. (StockPic)

However, it’s undoubtedly attainable with the right kind of preparation strategy and guided mentorship. This is something that parents are aware of as well, which is why they inspire their children to start preparing from an early age.

Many students experience stress and anxiety when they hear the words ‘competitive exams’. Students are under immense pressure to perform well as they believe that these tests will pave the way for their ideal careers. They need focused preparation, suitable study material, and a myriad of other skills to make it to the top ranks in the exam.

But before their preparation gets underway, they must first be aware of the most common mistakes that can derail their exam aspirations. Avoiding these mistakes won’t just make the preparation streamlined but also reduce the pressure, stress, and unnecessary tension weighing on their minds.

Here’s a look at some common mistakes that students should steer clear of:

Failing to set a realistic score

Setting a realistic target score has a two-pronged advantage. First, it helps you identify topics that you can skip over. This will leave you with more time and energy to solidify the topics you choose to study.

Second, It will take off the pressure to perform. While it is great to aspire to top the exam, not everyone has the time or space to do so. Instead, look for an ideal range of scores that will help you reach your target college.

For instance, those aspiring for an NMIMS MBA can set a target score of 250 to clear the cutoffs instead of chasing the elusive 290+. Those looking to get into great UG courses abroad can aim for a 1400+ score on their SATs. Realistic targets based on an innate understanding of your own capabilities, time, and resources are a great way to start your prep on a positive note.

Neglecting Mock Tests

A wonderful method to assess your subject-matter understanding is through mock tests. Most high scorers take as many mock tests as possible to gain experience with actual exams.

Taking mock tests helps you not only become familiarised with the format of the exam but also evaluate your performance under stress. It will highlight your areas of weakness so that you can strengthen them.

Taking mock tests can assist you in becoming more adept at managing your time. It helps you to craft your test-taking strategy, especially when it is a speed test. As the exam date approaches, shift your focus to taking as many mocks as possible.

Leaving Your Errors Unreviewed

Make sure you carefully evaluate your performance after taking a mock test to identify your weak points. If you keep making the same mistakes, there is no benefit in practicing for mock exams. A targeted approach to address areas where you lack confidence is a wise way to boost your performance.

Focus on strengthening these areas through practice. To keep your learning curve expanding, track your development over time and evaluate your performance on succeeding mock tests.

Poor Time Management

Time management abilities are not only necessary during the planning phase but also when you are seated in the exam room writing your paper. Once you become accustomed to the exam format, schedule your mock tests.

Compare the amount of time you spend on each question to the recommended amount of time for each section. This will assist you in effectively managing your time, which is a productive strategy that will undoubtedly boost your sense of confidence.

Refusing to Revise

Most students begin studying for exams at the last moment, leaving little time for revision and mock tests. It’s critical to comprehend the importance of revision.

You review concepts when you revise, which improves your ability to remember them during crucial moments. Revision strengthens your memory’s ability to retain essential information, which will help you work even harder to reach your objectives.

One way to review and get ready for an exam is through mock tests. To ensure that you have enough time to review before taking the exams, make sure to arrange your schedule backwards.

Strategic Preparation for Competitive Exams!

It takes more than just effort to succeed in competitive exams. It is essential to steer clear of issues, including having unrealistic expectations for scores, skipping mock tests, not reviewing mistakes, managing your time poorly, and not revising your work.

One can significantly increase their chances of cracking these demanding exams by creating a well-organised study strategy incorporating these components. It’s advised to read about the strategies used by toppers and expert mentors so that you can adopt the best practices for yourself and avoid wasting too much time reinventing the wheel.

( Authored by Hemang Panchmatia, CBO, Postgraduate & Undergraduate Management, IMS. Views are personal)

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