Do you feel like your board exam is right around the corner? You’re not alone. The big day is approaching and you’ve been working hard to prepare.
Preparing for an exam can be stressful. It may seem like you should know all the material, but this is rarely the case. Your preparation will depend mainly on the type of exam you are taking.
There are many different types of exams, so it is important to know which one you are preparing for. For example, if you are taking a standardized test, there will be general guidelines that will be helpful to follow.
If the exam is in-class or involves group work, then time management skills may help you succeed on your exam.
While the fear of not performing well on the boards can be overpowering, you can do a lot to manage that fear. Once you understand what not to do, you will be in a better position to maximize your chances of performing well.
Here, are some tips to prepare for board exams.
Don’t rely on the Study Guide
This is an obvious one. To be honest, I still rely on the studies guides from my old high school.
However, a lot has changed in 20 years, and the only thing that stays the same is the importance of doing your own research.
The same can be said about how to prepare for the boards. The first mistake that a lot of people make is relying on a study guide or a prepared study guide when they’re preparing for a certification exam. Why? Because it might seem a little easier than doing your own research, right?
Tips on Organization
You can prepare the exam much better by making sure you’re organized, as organized as you can be for that matter. Plan ahead by organizing your materials and keeping track of your work, this way you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
The best way to remember your materials is by using your individual study and practice schedule, which should be easy to memorize and will keep you on track. Following a routine can be a powerful tool for success.
The practice schedule will help you stick to your timetable and remember when to study and what to study. By incorporating little practice sets in between your studying, you’ll quickly become a skilled test taker and familiar with the material. When you’re studying for the exam, be sure to set aside enough time for each section.
Preparing Yourself Physically and Mentally
The first thing you need to do before beginning your board exam prep is prepare your body and mind.
Do you need to take a rest day?
Do you need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated?
Are you eating the right foods to ensure your energy levels stay steady?
These are questions you need to answer before you start the tests. I highly recommend that you invest in a headlamp (or a small flashlight, if you prefer). This will help you when studying at night, and you can also keep in mind to use it at other times, such as during a power outage.
The next thing to consider is how much sleep you should get. While most people can manage seven to eight hours of sleep, it’s always best to get at least eight hours a night.
The Exam Day
While studying for the boards has a tremendous amount of work, the actual exam isn’t the hardest part of the process. Waiting in line and being seated in the exam room are usually the hardest parts of the exam process.
This is because you’re scared of failing, anxious of making a mistake, and stressed out about meeting the time limit and the content of the exam. So, you need to decide ahead of time how you’re going to approach the exam and what you want to study.
The day of the exam is the most stressful part of the process. Many prepare for the exam by reviewing the actual text for the exam and scheduling study sessions with study partners.
Related Blog: How to Get Rid of Overthinking When Studying
10 Common Mistakes (and how to avoid them)
Prepare for your exams and make sure you follow these steps: Know what you are going to cover. It can be tempting to cram and start typing a few questions from the test on your laptop during the day.
However, if you know that you are going to be taking the test in a few days, you should start to prepare at least a week before.
Once you have a solid understanding of the material covered, look over the list of material you have covered and mark the questions you feel are still applicable to your test. Look over your outlines and make sure they cover all the questions you need to answer.
The difference between passing and failing in any one examination should not be greater than 2 percent of the total score. In other words, passing the exam with a 70 percent score means you’ll miss an average of 9 out of 80 questions, and failing means missing 9 out of 80 questions.
In some boards like the ones in the U.S. and Canada, you’ll be asked an overall question pattern. This means you’ll be tested on a broader variety of topics, whereas others (like the ones in India) will be testing you on different modules within one subject.
These tips can help you make sure you have a solid understanding of the information you are being tested on, so you can focus on questions that are harder.
1. Failure to plan
Part of failing to prepare is not planning ahead. You need to take some time now to think through your course of study and what you want to learn so that you can reach your goals.
If you don’t know what you want to study, your study will be completely unfocused and unfocused studying is not only ill-suited to help you, but it can be devastatingly counterproductive to your progress.
So step one is to figure out what exactly you want to study and what subject matter you want to master. The quickest way to lose focus and dive in without a strategy is to wing it and learn everything in a hurry. It’s okay if you don’t know where to begin, but knowing where to go is the first step.
2. Studying for hours and hours without breaks
While studying for board exams, students tend to study for long hours, with little to no breaks. This can be really dangerous, and can cause you to become fatigued and susceptible to making errors.
This is not conducive to your learning process. The truth is, you will perform better when you take short breaks every hour, or whenever you feel you need a break.
You need to plan a strategy that can be used for all the exams you will be taking, not just one. To be successful with your learning, you need to work out your study routine. This will include the time you should be studying each day, how long you should study each day, and how much you should be studying each day. Try and get this schedule down on paper, and stick to it. Don’t procrastinate!
Not knowing what you’re studying for
Don’t assume that you know everything about what you need to learn for the boards. After all, you know a lot more than other people do, but you never know what they know and that’s why you need to learn as much as you can to pass.
3. Not getting enough sleep
You can get by on six hours of sleep a night if you want, but it’s important to get at least seven to nine hours. Your brain needs plenty of rest to function at its best, especially when you’re taking difficult exams.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to recall and reason about information will be reduced. Instead of memorizing this question, do these nine tricks to sleep better.
Going to bed at the wrong time
Even if you are studying for an exam at midnight, you are sleeping, not at the proper times. If you find yourself nodding off during your studies or on the drive to work, it’s important to address the issue. Get a full night of sleep to give you the proper amount of rest you need for the day ahead.
4. No time for fun
If you want to pass your exams, then you need to be organized and devoted to learning!
Exams require a lot of hard work, and there is a good chance you may feel completely burned out by the end of the process. Also, it’s not easy to bring things with you to class, so you may not be able to make the required study group.
With exams such as the boards, if you don’t stick with it, you can’t succeed. Don’t let fear of failure stop you.
Not to be confused with a study plan, an assessment plan is a great way to set up your study environment for success. A well-structured assessment plan enables you to make the most of your time, create and organize your studies, and find relevant information to assist in your preparation.
5. Eating poorly
Good nutrition is essential to good health. This includes food groups like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
These things are particularly useful when you are studying for a demanding exam. Simply put, taking care of your body is just as important as getting adequate sleep and maintaining a nutritious diet.
6. Not taking enough time off from work
It’s hard to find the time you need for your exams. You have to take care of your clients, work for your boss, and run your family’s household. That’s why you need to plan in advance.
Take at least a day off a week from your jobs to study for the boards and allow yourself enough time to rest and relax at night.
7. Managing Your Time and Study Schedule
Your board exam is a challenge, but it’s something you should be able to conquer. You are better off taking control of your exam preparation by making it fun and enjoyable, rather than stressful and time-consuming.
You are going to need to make some serious sacrifices if you want to prepare to pass, but you shouldn’t overburden yourself with demands of a regular lifestyle, either.
Do you enjoy going out to eat at least once a week?
If so, you may have to forgo that habit or cut it down significantly. Because you are going to be studying on your own without adult supervision, the only thing you should be doing is studying, and, if necessary, take a break to go out with friends for a break from studying.
8. Find a study buddy
If you can’t study at your desk because you have too many distractions, bring a bag of coffee or tea and go to a busy coffee shop where there will be fewer distractions.
9. Stay organized
To help you stay organized and focused, organize your study materials according to the topics that you need to work on each day, suggests Dr. W. Michael Hughes, a clinical psychologist at Complete Mind-Body Health in the Bronx, NY, and author of Stop Anxiety From Stopping You! and Guide to Mindfulness in Mind, Body, and Spirit.
This way, you can accomplish a more targeted study goal each day, and avoid browsing aimlessly through books that you haven’t yet committed to memorizing, or haven’t looked at in a few days.
10. Don’t panic!
Having the same questions that are frequently asked on the exam over and over again and re-watching videos on the Internet won’t help you.
Instead, use the 5-minute study guide to give yourself time to digest what you’re reading and to get your brain prepared to absorb the information you’re learning.
On that note, one of the major pitfalls of exams is the lack of sleep you get the night before the exam. The night before, try to go to bed on time, but not too early.
If you get into bed too early, you’re more likely to have a difficult time sleeping. If you get into bed too late, you may have trouble waking up in the morning. Not getting enough sleep can lead to lower scores on the test.
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Knowledge is power, but knowing it and doing it are two different things. It takes dedication and commitment to really get through an examination, especially if you don’t have a wealth of experience like a surgeon who has been dissecting cadavers.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “We have it in our power to begin the world again.”
It’s important to realize that just because you pass an examination doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee you a job.
The only way to know everything is to gain experience, and gaining experience takes time and effort. One way to get experience is to put in the time, effort, and dedication required to do the best you can at the examination.