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By Ahmad Mukoshy.
1. Stick to the Plan If you have a lot of exams coming up, it is very crucial that you set a revision time-table that will allow you to cover the subjects’ weeks before the exams. Identify the subjects you know you are weaker on and tackle them first. Doing this will lessen your panic when the exams approach. Part of the plan is to also keep socializing and sleeping to rest your neurons! Don’t leave everything to the last minute and study 23 hours a day. 2. Be Realistic If you’ve always been scoring a C in your courses, probabilities are you may not get an A! So it’s best you don’t set unrealistic goals like scoring an A all through. Doing that could raise your anxiety levels. You should remember that your best is all you can do, so don’t expect anything better. Take things as they are, so that you could study at best efficiency. 3. Physical Exercise Fitness is always necessary in whatever you do, so you really need to have some good body feelings to be able to study well. Take regular study breaks and get some fresh air or exercise. Oxygen is the best medicine for your brain when it comes to memory retention and concentration. You can only really absorb information for about 20 minutes at a time, so to give the things you’ve learnt time to sink in, take a 15 minute break, go for a run or walk and get some air into your lungs. 4. Attempt Past Exams Get booklets with a compilation of the past examinations and work on them. This should give you an idea of the kinds and levels of questions that are going to come up. If you can’t do a particular question, take it to your tutor or someone who is good at it and ask them to work through it with you. Treating past questions will prepare you for the coming ones. 5. Understand, Don’t Just Memorize It is best you don’t memorize. With topics like mathematics and sciences, passing requires absolute understanding. Questions in exams are generally designed to find out if you understand the course material rather than if you just have a good memory. They’re not looking to see how much your memory can store, but how much your brain can understand in time! 6. Avoid Drugs and Caffeine Caffeine and other stimulants won’t help you concentrate. You may think it helps, but beneath it your body is over-stressed and this could present severe problems during your exams or perhaps even on your brain. Just stick to water to keep yourself, and your brain hydrated. 7. Work Smarter, Not Harder Repeatedly reading through massive amounts of text isn’t going to do you any good at all. It is best you pick a note/jotter to keep some highlights which you need to remember or understand. Make sure you go over them at least 3 times over the space of a few days to cement them in your memory. 8. During the Exams, Relax If you are panicking or struggling with a particular question in the exam hall, just take a moment to re-orient yourself—make sure you are comfortable, close your eyes, and take 3 or 4 long, slow deep breaths. Move onto another question and, more often than not, when you’re thinking about something else entirely the answer or idea you were looking for will magically pop into your head!  
About the Author Ahmad Mukoshy is a self-taught web developer/entrepreneur, sole proprietor, and an aspiring photographer. A graduate of Physics, he started building start-ups with lots of interactive web development about 5 years ago. Some of his creations include, a site that helps people shorten and organise website links, and, a web hosting company for start-ups, enterprises and individuals.

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This article was first published on 31st July 2012

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