How to Revise Effectively to Crack Competitive Exams

We gain an understanding of loads of things during the preparation of an exam and D-Day. Well, we are expected to remember what we had learned two years back as crisply as we have learned it yesterday! It requires no great brainpower to say that something that we have studied recently stays well with us in comparison to something we may have read before that. However, a competitive exam puts you to the test and can be tricky. Aspirants are expected to stay as sharp as a steel sword when it comes to concepts, and there is only one way to achieve this: revise effectively.

A topic seems like piecemeal when it is fresh in our minds, but as the days pass and new layers of topics pile up on older ones, we tend to lose the grip on the old topics. It is something that a competitive exam will surely exploit. Most people who do well in competitive exams swear by the importance of revision. I daresay that, in fact, revision is by far the most important thing for a competitive exam aspirant.

Following are a few tricks to revise effectively and pass the exams with flying colors.

Immediate Revision

It is by far the most important one. It is the time when the topic taught to is you is fresh in your mind. Thus, in order to remember it for a longer time, you must consolidate what has been learned immediately. It goes without saying that one must make handwritten notes of whatever has been taught in class, even the smallest details that the instructor mentions in the class.

So, for immediate revision, you merely have to skim through these notes of yours and remember the salient features. Do remember to mark out some very critical points and shortcut tricks. When you’ll go through them once again after a month or two, you’ll only need to look at these highlighted points.

Don’t Overdo the Theory Revision

This is the biggest mistake a person can do while revising stuff. Sometimes, we keep going through the tomes of books we have made out of our class notes (trust me, the number of books can be insanely huge. I, for one, had around ten notebooks for physics by the end of the portion), and never actually progress to solving sums. You need to remember that it is the sums that you’ll be solving in the exams.

The main aim of studying is to absorb the concepts and their subsequent application in the sums and to acquaint ourselves with the variety of sums present. In the garb of revision, when we repeatedly go over the same notes over and over again, we completely defeat the purpose of revision and end up wasting our time. Instead, I’d suggest skimming through only the salient points and the tips or tricks you may have noted.

Prepare Sets of Problem Cycles

Instead of rummaging through notes endlessly, one actually should focus more on the sums. When you sit down to revise a certain topic, look at all the material you have for that topic. Then, take a set of basic questions on that topic. Without referring to the books, start solving. If you’re able to solve them, rejoice! But only for a moment. Then, take up a slightly more difficult set. A cycle of four such sets should be quite sufficient for revision.

Now, whenever you get stuck while solving a sum, merely go through that specific part of the topic for revision. An example here is in order: Consider that you are revising Electromagnetic Induction. When you are solving a certain sum that involves a rod rotating in a magnetic field and find yourself stuck, merely go to that part in your notes and glance through. In this manner, you save time and also sharpen your problem-solving skills.

Maintain a Revision Sheet

This is possibly one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal. Again, there are different ways of going about doing this, but I’ll tell you the one I found to be the most effective. Once you are done with your portion of the competitive exams, sit down and gather all the material that you have for a particular topic, say heat transfer. Now, take your time. A day if you must, but note down all the important formulae, shortcuts, values of constants, etc. or anything of that sort onto a couple of A4 sheets. Once you are done with making the sheets, you needn’t ever (honestly) look at your books again. These chapter-wise sheets are all the revision that you require.

I have suggested doing this just after the portion is over because of my personal experience. However, some believe that one need not wait until the end of the portion and may start making these notes during studying. But I do not prefer this approach as the mental capacity to comprehend things comes only after one has been taught all the topics. Thus, I recommend doing this just after the end of the portion so that it’s not too early and neither is it too late. 

And that, my friends, is all that one would require to revise for competitive exams. These are all effective, simple and time-tested fundae that many of us have put to practice. Trust me, small efforts to revise effectively will give you multifold returns.

We hope you now understand the importance and ways to revise effectively. Along with it, it is also important to remember what you read before the exam, which is sometimes troublesome too.

Exams like JEE Main and JEE Advanced require you to revise effectively, as it is important to keep in touch with what you’ve already gone through. Read more about developing such a plan here.

All the best for your exams! I’ll be happy to answer your queries in the comments section :)

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Aparajeya
Aparajeya

Freshman at IIT Bombay. Loves books, debate and anything remotely related to bibliophilia. Shares an avid love for humanities coupled with science. Pragmatist.

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