Taking an exam is not easy. Simple! There are no two ways about it. It becomes even more difficult when you are preparing for a competitive exam. None of us wants to have thousands of students preparing and competing for the same thing that we are preparing for. But that is exactly what we have to face when we decide to prepare for an entrance exam.

The world is filled with cut-throat competition. No matter how small your aim is, or which exam you decide to prepare for, you have to face a level of competition that you have never experienced before. From management to engineering, from commerce to arts, from business to fashion, no matter what field you choose, you will find that there are thousands of students just like you waiting in line for their turn. At this point, there are chances that the excitement and zeal that you would have begun with initially fades away.

In fact, such a huge number of applicants is the reason for the birth of competitive examinations. If you have an exam insight, you have probably already started preparing for it. But it is imperative that you prepare in the best way possible to make sure that you get the desired result.

Here are 10 such tips that will make you crack any exam of your choice:

1. Do not procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of a student. It is one of the biggest follies that a student can have. If you are prone to procrastination, then you should forget clearing any competitive exam. If you are a student preparing for a competitive exam, you should never feel that you have more than enough time in hand to prepare. Always keep in mind that for every second that you leave your topics pending for later, there are thousands of students preparing. Therefore, every second that you miss out on, you are not just creating a loss for you, but you are helping all your competitors, who you are supposed to fight against. If you leave the topics pending for later, you will not even realize and the date of the exam will be hanging over your head. Well, this is something that you do not really want. Therefore, make sure that you check in advance all the topics that you need to prepare for. Keep in mind that you cannot afford to waste any time and leaving things for the future is only going to make things worse.

2. Set a time table

Once you know what all is there to prepare, the next logical step is to plan how to prepare. One of the most basic ways to advance from this point is to prepare a time table and follow it. It is one of the most basic ways but also one of the most effective ones. Therefore, prepare a time table as soon as you know your syllabus in and out. There are certain things that you should keep in mind when you prepare your time table. You should include both your short term and long term goals in the time table. Doing so will help you in effectively preparing for the exam. Following a time table makes you more disciplined and it makes your preparation smooth. It makes it easier for you to track your progress and make any changes that you might want to. However, when you set your goals, make sure they are realistic ones. It is very easy for one to write unrealistic goals on paper and dream of achieving them. But when it comes to turning the paper into reality, things generally do not go as planned in case of unrealistic achievements. Therefore, make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.

3. Focus on understanding the concepts instead of learning

Make sure that at all times, you remember that you are not preparing for a school exam. A competitive exam means a different level of competition altogether. Therefore, it is important that you focus your energy on understanding the concepts and not on rote learning. Make sure you understand that cramming and rote learning is not going to cut it for you in this case. You might have relied on cramming all your life, but it is going to be different with this exam. Understanding the concepts helps you in remembering the concepts for a very long time as compared to cramming and rote learning. And that is exactly what you need to succeed in a competitive exam. Moreover, if you have a clear understanding of the questions, then it is more likely that you will be able to handle the questions in the exam. It is okay if you create your own memory tricks or acronyms. But it is not okay at all to solely depend on rote learning. What you can do is make your own short notes as they will prove helpful for you when you need to revise just a few days before the day of the exam.

4. Take note of your progress

Studying regularly does not mean that you are going to clear the exam, no matter what. Just studying does not mean that your preparation is complete. It does not mean that you do not need to do anything else to succeed. It is important that you take note of your progress at times during the course of the preparation. Doing so will give you answers to a number of highly important questions. It will tell you whether or not you need to make any changes to the process you have been following. It tells you whether or not you are proceeding at the right place. Moreover, you can check whether or not you have achieved the short term goal that you had set initially.

Therefore, take a note of your progress regularly and check whether you have reached the point that you expected to buy that time. If not, then think about the changes that you need to make in order to make it happen.

5. Be positive

This is one of the most important things that you need to keep in mind. You cannot afford to prepare with a negative attitude if you want to succeed in the examination. It is absolutely fine to be stressed. There is nothing wrong with it. But a smart student will understand that if he remains too stressed and develops a negative perspective about the entire process of preparation, then the entire process goes to waste. The first step towards passing or succeeding in an exam is to believe that you can succeed. You need to believe in yourself and your preparation.  You will have bad days during your preparation. You will have days when you will find out about the achievements and successes of your friends and peers. Instead of getting demotivated, you need to take all of that as inspiration and continue believing in yourself. If you do not, no matter how much you prepare for the exam, you will not succeed.

6. Take as many mock tests as you can

Taking mock tests is arguably the best possible way to prepare for a competitive exam. No matter what exam you are preparing for, if you can take mock tests, you should take as many of them as you can. The thing about a mock test is that it gives the student a chance to experience all that he is going to prepare on the day of his actual exam, without the sword of result hanging over his head. Nothing helps more than taking mock tests. As you take more and more mock tests, you find out which sections are your strongest and which ones are your weakest. You get to understand how you need to navigate through the question paper during the exam, how much time you should devote to each section or a single question. A student has no other way to learn these things. You can study for as long as you want every day during the course of your preparation but if you do not take any mock tests, the moment you sit down to take the actual exam, you will feel nervous. If you want to avoid that, you should take as many mock tests as you can.

7. Use the last few days to clear doubts

If you start your preparation months before the actual exam, you will cover the entire syllabus and still have a few days left with you. However, even if you do not find yourself in a similar situation, remember that the last few days are for clearing the smallest and lightest of the doubts you have. Even if you have a few topics left to cover, the smart move would be to utilise the last few days to clear the doubts and not start with the new topics. The reason behind doing so is that if you start with new topics in the last days, you might not be able to complete them, which might lead to you having a negative attitude. Therefore, the better choice is to revise all the concepts and the topics that you have already studied once. You should enter the examination hall with a few highly prepared topics instead of a loose grasp on all the topics. Therefore, make sure that you clear your doubts before entering the examination hall.

8. Set the last date

As already mentioned above, it is important that you prepare a time table and follow it. But what is more important is that you prepare that time table keeping in mind a date by which you need to finish learning the new concepts. It is important that you set the last date to finish learning new concepts. Obviously, you should set this date at least a month or half a month before the final exam. If you study keeping this date in mind, it will help you in finishing early with all the concepts and everything else that there is to learn. Moreover, when you are finished with these concepts, you will have an ample amount of time to revise and clear your doubts. It is really important that you stick with the finishing date that you set. Once you are done, you can start utilising all that you have learnt into taking the mock tests and solving model papers. Doing so will help you realize where you stand and how much more you need to prepare.

Even if you are one of the students who like to take mock tests and solve model papers side by side while preparing and learning new concepts, finishing early always helps. It gives you a lot of confidence.

9. Be the part of a circle

This might seem a bit surprising. Most people around you will tell you that you should not have anyone around you during your preparation period. In fact, the students tend to believe that they should not keep in touch with their friends or anyone for that matter, during the months that they devote to prepare for the exam. But the fact is that you should be part of a circle of students with the same goals. You should have friends who are preparing for the same or similar examinations. If you have joined a coaching institute, then that takes care of it. However, if you have not, you need to make a conscious effort to do so. Being a part of a group with people having similar interests helps you a lot. It gives you the chance to compare your progress with the other members of the group. If you find yourself ahead of these people, it gives you confidence. If you find out that your peers are way ahead of you in terms of preparations, it gives you a reality check and inspires you to work harder. Therefore, you should be a part of such a group.

10. Read the questionnaire properly

Do not rush! There are no two ways to say this. You have put in a lot of effort to prepare for the examination. When the examination finally arrives, you cannot just throw away all this effort of yours. Keep in mind that there is no need or no extra reward for finishing the exam earlier than everyone else. One of the most common mistakes that students commit while taking the exam is rushing through the question paper.

Make sure that you go through the questionnaire properly and slowly. Know which questions are the easiest for you to tackle and which ones are going to take time for you to solve. Doing so will help you a lot in solving the question paper easily.

Therefore, make sure that you read the question paper first.