Time-management for JEE preparation: Don’t spend your time, invest it
The greatest advantage of good time management practice for almost every conceivable thing is the freedom to avoid last-minute nervous-breakdowns, time-crunches etc. It gives confidence to the students preparing for JEE and other entrance exams as it ultimately gives them enough time for a detailed revision as well. And we know that with confidence comes optimism and thus enhanced performance in entrance exams. A well-planned approach towards time management right from the beginning would ensure that the preparation is complete and no last minute short cut techniques like selective studies are used to cover the IIT syllabus. In short, control what you do with your time. Don’t let the time control your moves.
Steps for time management
- First and foremost maintain a proper planner. This should include the dates of all the tests that you are aiming at in addition to your board exams schedule (when declared). Come 2013, there might be just one common entrance test for engineering colleges. Still this step is important as you would need to plan for boards, internal tests and other exams that you wish to appear for in addition to JEE. In addition the planner must have the details of all the different mock tests that you have to appear for etc. and also the time-table of your preparation. Additionally list the complete IIT syllabus for assistance in goal-setting. (Long term plans)
- Plan out your daily activities based on their importance level. Set your priorities straight: Finish the most important tasks first. (Short-term plans). This would ensure that you are right in the direction towards entrance exam preparation. For instance, look at a sample planner in the image here. Here one would need to finish the most urgent and important tasks first like preparing for a test scheduled on the next day. Then move on to the important, but not urgent tasks like practising Maths for JEE. Remember that the ‘not important’ tasks can wait, you can take care of them while you are taking a break.
- Identify your times of highs and lows. Some people are energetic in the morning hours whereas some people work the best at night.
- Normally difficult activities must be handled first. Addressing most dreaded problems at that time of the day when one is energetic and fresh would increase the chance of success in entrance exams. Consequently one would feel motivated to work towards simpler goals after handling more complicated ones. Example: If Chemistry is your strength and the mention of Mathematics scares you, then you might want to practice Maths problems right in the morning and Chemistry at the end of the day, if you are a morning person.
- Keep your workplace organized. Students preparing for entrance exams often live and sleep on their books and notes. In experts’ opinions an uncluttered place of study generally ensures a clearer mind. Document your notes in a proper order. It would save your time by making it easy for you to find the notes as and when you require it.
- Try to phase out as many unproductive tasks from your daily schedule as possible over time.
- Avoid procrastination: Most of the students continue postponing their plans of studying seriously for ‘Tomorrow’, whereas the fact of the matter is that without a strong resolve and determination this plan would never really materialize.
Give up the habit of saying later for everything:
- One very practical reason for such an attitude of students is unrealistic goal setting. They end up resolving that they’ll finish the whole IIT syllabus in a very limited time along with a host of other activities and when they fail to do so, become disheartened and thus discouraged and can’t even finish half the IIT study material
- Set short-term, more realistic goals for yourself during entrance exam preparation. Seeing yourself achieve them would act as an encouragement, and make you more positive.
- Always remember to divide the task into smaller parts to keep it from becoming overwhelming. Don’t aim at finishing all your IIT study material in one go, rather be realistic and take baby steps by dividing the IIT syllabus into smaller sections.
- As the proverb states: ‘The first step is always the hardest.’ Find the courage and motivation to take the first leap, the rest would automatically follow.
- Whenever you get stuck with a problem, make note of it then and there, and refer to your IIT study material, online video lectures or take your lecturers’ help as soon as possible, so that you can take care of the confusion well in time and proceed further. Don’t wait until the last moment to clarify your doubts.
- Divide your time properly between then three subjects; Physics, Maths and Chemistry. Concentrating on your weak points might be a very good idea. A subject-wise and topic-wise time schedule might work wonders. In short, draft a time-table for yourself, but more importantly stick with it. Example of such a time schedule would be: 6:00-7:00am Physics (Vectors-Theory), 7:00-8:00am Organic Chemistry: Hydrocarbons (Chemical Equations)
- While studying for IIT-JEE the better option is to study all the three subjects simultaneously instead of wrestling with a subject for a few days, abandoning it to study the other two, and resuming it again after a few days. The reason being: Simultaneously studying the three subjects ensures that the IIT syllabi for all the three proceeds at a reasonable pace, and time that would have otherwise been lost in revising a subject each time one picks it up after a break can be saved.
- Note down the points to remember, concepts and short-cuts for each topic in a summarized form. This would help during last minute recapitulation just before the entrance exams.
- Avoid overreactions and anxiety: No matter how well you plan out your each move, there will always be contingencies that might alter your planned course of action. Make sure not to let these hurdles impact you in anyway. The secret is to avoid overreacting and to keep your cool.
- Get updated syllabus: Before starting your preparation for engineering entrance tests make sure to get the updated IIT syllabus from either IIT’s website or some other reliable source.
- Reward yourself for each achieved goal and each met deadline. This would act as an excellent motivator and would give you something to look forward to. Each time you meet your goal, go catch your favorite movie.
- Take breaks: Very importantly, don’t forget to include in your schedule the time to socialize, engaging in your hobbies etc. to keep your mind refreshed. Take short breaks between your periods of study to rejuvenate yourself.
Time management during the Exam is also very important
- In order to prepare yourself completely for entrance exams, don’t use calculators while practicing numerical problems. Some Senior Secondary Boards like ISC allow the use of calculators board exams, so students are in a habit of using the same, however to crack IIT or some other engineering entrances one must be quick with mental calculations. This can be achieved only by continuous practice.
- While practicing from IIT-JEE study material or practice papers for any of the engineering entrances, make sure to develop the habit of dividing time properly between different sections, i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Aptitude, depending upon your hold on the subjects. This would ensure that during the actual entrance exam you manage to do justice to all the subjects.
- While writing the engineering entrance test don’t lose your composure. Move on to the next problem if you are unable to understand a question or are nowhere close to the end after your self-allotted time for the particular problem is over. There is always the option of coming back to the problem later instead of losing time on it initially.
- Attempt easier problems carrying more marks first as the rule of thumb. This would give you a good kick-start and boost your confidence.
- Sometimes the answer can be arrived at just by eliminating the improbable options. Using this method at appropriate places can pace you up.
Time if managed properly for entrance exam preparation can thus act as the competitive advantage against one’s fellow IIT aspirants.
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