The lives of BMM students all over Mumbai, though diverse, follow more or less the same pattern. And at some point in the pattern comes the realization that it is time to start studying for their exams (For most this happens 2-3 days, or even less, before the exams). A very small number actually realizes this more than a month in advance. For those students who have awakened or are soon to awaken and seek guidance on how to tackle this accursed ritual of testing one’s skill on the basis of an archaic syllabus… here are a few tips
1. Get Your Act…err…Notes Together.
You can’t study if you don’t have anything to study/refer
Not those little chits you’ve passed around during lecture… I’m referring to the substantial (hopefully) tome of knowledge you’ve built while you paid attention to the professor during some of the lectures you attended or while you toiled away in the college library not so long ago. (Oh wait a minute… you’ve probably just woken up :P… so if you haven’t done either of the two above mentioned activities… do not fear… there are plenty of notes compiled by students and lecturers that are doing their rounds via email. Just pray that someone forwards you a copy )
Note: Please understand that notes are not money. There’s no harm in sharing them. The marks you’ll be getting don’t depend on how well someone else is prepared. (Of course if you have an enemy… feel free to abstain from sending them anything… but don’t expect them to send you anything either.) Also, go to your college library and request the question papers of the previous five years. 75-90% of those questions (including the case study structure) are REPEATED!
More easy, upload good projects, get moderated and avail all the previous questions papers (for boards only for now) from BMMBox free of cost via these links – http://bmmbox.com/cafe/forumdisplay.php?f=4 and http://bmmbox.com/cafe/forumdisplay.php?f=3
2. Don’t wait for the Prof.
He/She’s not going to declare war on you just because you’ve started studying a part of the portion he/she’s not finished.
There’s no harm on perusing a chapter before the professor’s touched it in class. On the other hand, there’s a lot of risk involved in waiting for them. Here’s why: –
• They may have completed that part in a lecture you’ve bunked
• They may have completed that part while you were daydreaming about Katrina Kaif/ Whatever girls dream of during lectures
• They may tell you to DIY (Do It Yourself) one week before the exams.
• They may simply rush through it at FTL speed (Faster Than Light) one week before your exam.
• They may be abducted by aliens before they complete it.
Start your studies (at least just read through the chapter) regardless of where your professor’s reached in the syllabus. Once you’ve collected notes… USE them… the spider in your attic or the roaches under your bed can’t read.
Note: - If you HAVE read a unit before your professor discusses it in class… keep it to yourself. There’s no need to show off your so-called superiority in class by interrupting the professor while he/she’s explaining it. You’re not going to get any medals for it and you’re more likely annoying the Prof. and your classmates.
3. Get Your Net Set.
The Internet, like BMMBox :-), is a NECESSITY while preparing for BMM exams.
BMM requires one to stay up to date with current affairs and most subjects require students to provide a lot of current examples to justify the theory they vomit out into their papers. The Internet is the most convenient resource for this. So make sure you speak to your ISP. Do anything required (short of death threats and stone pelting) to ensure that you have a WORKING Internet connection while you study.
4. Collect your Projects and Assignments.
If you don’t have a copy of them, request your friends to share theirs.
Your projects are more often than not based on your syllabus and are a reflection of the practical application of the theory you learn. Go through your projects and the projects made by others to further understand the subject. Believe me… projects help you learn a lot of things that would seem incomprehensible otherwise. Share your projects and take some time out to go through them.
5. Form a Study Group; Follow a strict schedule.
There are many advantages to studying in groups
Get a few of your friends together to study with you. Don’t let the number of people in the group exceed four. Your groupies give you company when studying, help you understand topics that they might know but which you find incomprehensible and stop you from drifting off while studying. Just don’t get carried away making jokes or letting breaks eat into your study time.
A schedule is very important when you’re preparing for exams. Make a time table for yourself, PRINT IT OUT, make multiple copies of it and stick it up wherever you’re likely to notice it in your house (Spare the bathroom and the Television screen if you can). Make sure your leisure activities come AFTER your study time. Your study period should not be divided into different parts of the day as it breaks continuity. However, you can take 3 five minute breaks in every hour spent studying. And most importantly – STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE.
6. The Study Method.
Here’s the method I employ while studying for my exams
i. Read through the notes. Don’t try to memorize the notes. The first reading is just to get a basic idea of the subject. Read it and try to understand what’s being said. You don’t need to remember the number of factors leading to a war or the different types of headlines. Just go through the entire syllabus once. (This forms the basis for your preparation and, despite the fact that you may not even pass if you gave the exam immediately after completing this step, it is still very important).
ii. After the first step, open the previous years’ question papers, and find an answer to each question in them from your notes. Prepare these answers as well as possible while looking up the latest examples to validate the theory from the net. (After this step, you’re definitely going to pass the externals… but that shouldn’t be the upper limit for your goals)
iii. Subsequently, re-read the topics you’ve missed out while preparing with the question papers. This completes your second read of the entire syllabus.
iv. Once done with your second read… go through the entire syllabus again… but just skim through all the topics. Try to close your eyes and remember each sub point as you read it in the previous two revisions. Re-read whatever you can’t remember. (This step will go super- fast if you did the previous three sincerely)
v. For safety’s sake, skim through the syllabus again for topics you may have missed out.
• Don’t forget to ask your professor about the format to attempt your case study.
• Load up the refrigerator with some snacks. Sure you’ll put on weight… but you don’t get distracted as often when you’re munching on something.
• Get your stationery ready well before the exams. Don’t go hunting for it one day before the exam (I mean it… I get through BMM lectures using borrowed pens and notebooks )
• You do not need to take photos/videos of your ‘group study night’ to upload on Facebook.
• This one’s for the guys… give all your computer games/PSP/PS3/XBOX to friends who DON’T have exams and delete them from your computer. Once you get started on ‘em during breaks… there’s no stopping.
• Try not to pull all nighters – not only does it mess up your biological clock; you also forget most of the things you studied while your brain desperately pleaded for rest. Coffee makes no difference to this and neither does ‘Sona-Chandi Chyavanprash’ ;-).
• If the books are too expensive to buy on your own, form a book pool where each person buys one of the required books and the others make a copy of it (Xerox/Photocopier shops in remote places offer students huge discounts for large orders.)
• VERY IMPORTANT – Once done with an exam, leave the centre immediately. Don’t hang around to discuss answers and don’t check your answers after you get home. Concentrate only on the next exam.
Now that you’ve read all this, you shouldn’t be in need to read something on how to prepare for exams again!
– Raghav Rao