How to plan for Exams

When a routine day at school turns into a lot of unstructured days before the actual exam dates, many children have difficulty in charting out a good plan or a strategy for scheduling study. While some helicopter parents micromanage every detail of their child’s work, some children, for good or bad reasons,  don’t get that kind of attention.

Whether you have a parent helping you or you are a student managing on your own,  here are some general tips that might be helpful:

Make a complete list of all that’s on the exam syllabus.

Making a list or having one that’s already been provided to you on your desk will not do. Read it carefully. Make a percentage ratio or pie chart of how much you are extremely confident in, how much not so confident and so on until you also mark the percentage of portions you are (if any) completely clueless of. The areas that need a lot of work needs attention immediately. Prioritize accordingly.

Make a sample study module.

Most of us can focus twenty minutes before we get distracted by other thoughts. There are exceptions of course. Make an effort to understand what is your limit. It does not matter if it’s even ten minutes. Check how much of the syllabus gets covered in that much time. Keep count of either the number of pages you are reading or how much of written work you are getting done. This would be your sample study module. With this as a reference, you may plan your entire syllabus and find out how many days ahead you need to start to cover it all.

Keep realistic goals

You might be feeling enthusiastic about making your study plan. However, you are most definitely going to need breaks after a study module. Your plans could also be disrupted because of unexpected hurdles, like having visitors or friends over or falling sick. You need to account for all the time that will be lost because of this.

Create a live countdown timer.

There are various free creative countdown apps you can choose from. These are not for everyone though. If you are feeling too nervous seeing the time ticking away, you may try making your own countdown chart on paper or a whiteboard. You may then put it up on a wall where you will not miss seeing it.

appointment black calendar countdown
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Make a cheat sheet for every chapter.

Every time you finish studying a topic write down the title on a sheet of paper. Read this paper again carefully a day before the exam and you need to revise only the topics you don’t seem to remember well enough. If this does not work for you, you can get creative making visually engaging mind maps. If a little more information than mere topics is what you will need then try the Cornell note making method while you are studying.

Clear your doubts ASAP

Keep a notepad near you to write down all the doubts that creep up while you are studying. Don’t let it go even if there is no one nearby to immediately clear it for you. Make a habit of meeting up with your teachers every day along with your notepad.


Studying for exams, even if the syllabus is overwhelming, is not difficult if you have planned for it well in advance.  That way you will be able to try different study methods and understand what best suits you too. A ‘plan’ will most surely relieve you of the strange heaviness in your chest that develops when you know you have time but are simply not “feeling like it”. Cheer up! You are going to do great! All the best!

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