Exams In Two Weeks!

I have to study for an entrance exam scheduled for two weeks from now. I have covered 50% of the course. I have to finish the rest as well as revise. Plus I have my first year university exams six weeks from then for which I have studied less. I have 3 main papers and 3 subsidiaries.

I don't know where to start. Please help me out if you can!

- Joanna, India

The key here is to create a realistic study schedule and to then carry it out. You have to decide what exactly it is you have to do and when you will do it.

The danger with study schedules is that they tend to be unrealistic. It’s easy to produce a plan, and it’s even easier to think you’ll study for many more hours each day than, in all all honesty, you probably will.

To avoid procrastinating, here’s a way of working that you may find useful:

Between your deadline date and today, work out what you have to do. Bear in mind that, when it comes to studying, you’re never finished - it can invariably always be better.

That being the case, what you have to do is decide what constitutes ‘good enough’ for you, taking into account the amount of time you have available to you. Apply the Pareto Principle to ensure that what you do has the maximum impact on your effectiveness.

Create your study plan without committing to a certain length of time to work each day. I’ve seen so many students set out with good intentions to work several hours each and every day:- it’s both unrealistic and unsustainable.

Instead, use a ‘looser’ study plan. By all means commit to studying specific aspects of your courses each day; but resist the temptation to commit to a length of time to do so until the day before, or even the day itself.

Get into the habit of planning the minimum time you’ll work for one day at a time. That way, it will be more realistic, and you’ll feel you’re achieving your targets rather than constantly falling short.

Here’s an example: Let’s suppose, after reading this, you plan out your study schedule for the next two weeks and beyond with the intention of starting tomorrow.

What else have you got on tomorrow? Do you have (m)any other commitments? They will dictate the amount of time you have to study.

Choose a realistic amount of time to study for, then do it. This is all about developing good study habits. Once you do that, the quality of what you do will enhance the quality of what you achieve.

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