We have collected the best tips and practices from top performing students around the Philippines to share their insights and experiences with you. We have aggregated them into 7 key principles to live by in order for you to pass any test or exam.
1. Nothing beats preparation
There are no shortcuts to success. Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ stated that, “success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” Passing the UP College Acceptance Test or the CPA board exams should not be seen as a random act, but rather a result of good study habits and hard work partnered with a strong will to pass the exam.
Survey says, students who start preparing early for their tests stack the odds heavily in their favour than those who fail to prepare. Learning to prepare is another principle that will be mentioned below.
2. Treat studying like a game you play, follow instructions, obey rules
Working hard is easy to understand. Put in the hours – whether it be for study or non-study activities and goals you have, but working smart is a harder idea to get your head around. Survey says that students who performed better, tends to have a careful understanding of the structure, components and intricacies of specific tests taken.
Before, if you answered a question wrong, you would be deducted a mark in certain tests. In other tests, you will not be deducted anything. Do the research and make sure you understand the specific parameters, scoring scheme and structure of the exam so that the hard work you put in is not put to waste.
3. Simulate the game situation, be ready to change strategy!
If you know the exam is in multiple-choice format under time constraints, practice this privately over and over again. Unfamiliar situations can cause stress, doubt and anxiety, which can inhibit your strongest performance. Prevent this as best you can by simulating a practice exam . There are mobile apps in the market you can download and use for free like Zookal. Train your brain to function under unique and pressured circumstances. Get used to it! Remember, it is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adaptable to change.
4. Find what works for you (learning to prepare)
Golden State Warriors guard and reigning two-time MVP in the NBA, Stephen Curry, has a detailed pre-game warm-up drill that includes dribbling and shooting. He begins with a simple two-ball dribble with both hands, then crosses them from right to left in front of his body. He does a similar pre-game routine every time. Why? Because it works for him. The same principle can be applied to study and academic life. Discover and practice study habits that work for you. Do it over and over again so the habits are embedded in your brain and body. Do you learn best by writing notes and revisiting them at the end of the week? Do you learn best in a study group? Do you learn best by drawing concepts and topics in mind-maps and visual illustrations? Experiment and discover the best ways you learn and what helps you perform. Every student is blessed with a unique identity and brain function; therefore, what works for others might not work for you.
5. Rest and reward yourself from time to time
Barack Obama, the President of the United States has endured significant pressures including meetings, traveling, lawmaking and diplomacy. However, he still makes time to recharge. For him that means avoiding mental fatigue and burnout which can ultimately hinder performances in the White House. Research has proven that planning study breaks are key, so create rewards and breaks that are regular and fair to you. Don’t be ashamed in taking a break every 30-45 minutes of study. Take a look at the graph below and compare it to the last time you studied. You tend to retain information you learn at the beginning and towards the end of the period, right? Study breaks can be like mini-vacations; they give you something to work towards.
6. Compete with yourself and yourself alone
In an increasingly competitive world, it is easy to get down to yourself and compare your situation to others.. Try to block out what others are doing and divert your focus instead on what you can do. Focus on what you have control over. If you want to compare yourself to anything, compare it to the person you were yesterday, or last month, or the last year. Everyone has their own unique life journey, do the best with what you have and with what you can. Be positive and be confident in your own journey.
7. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Not everyone has the exact same brain or access to resources. However in saying this, history is riddled with successful individuals in all industries that have started with nothing but achieved immensely. Therefore, start where you are; use what you have and do what you can. It all begins with a single step and your own personal decision to succeed. Excellence is a habit.
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