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Self-study for Class 12: The ABCs

Self-study is the most important aspect when it comes to exam prep. Students read about the wonders of what the habit of self-studying can do, to improve students’ scores. In fact, in most of the interviews of toppers we read, the stress on the need of self-study for success is not something new. But some students always find it difficult to start the practice of self-studying on their own and always wonder where to begin. Class 12 is when time is right for you to start a program of self-study since most of the students have seen the atmosphere of coaching classes in class 11, and they know that only a list of common questions and answers will not give them success. Coaching classes have covered most of the important parts of the syllabus, but without revision through a good self-study program, all of it will go down the drain. In addition to that, you have to prepare for your 12th board exams – this score will be important not only for the JEE but for the rest of your life. Read on to understand how you can easily start and maintain and effective self-study program to counter those nerves.

Finding the time to study

The most important criterion is dedicating a major chunk of your day to studying. You cannot suddenly jump to studying for 9-10 hours a day if you were studying 3-4 hours earlier. You will find it too big of a change and will get distracted easily. Try the following tips to ease into a more focused routine, and up the number of hours of study:

  • In the first week, try to cut down the time spent on other activities by around 2-3 hours (Is there a hobby you love way too much? Do you step-out to meet your friends and realise that time just flew by? Start by analysing your daily routine and cutting down some activities)
  • In the next week, try and see if you can further cut down the time spent in extra-curricular activities by another 2 hours
  • Repeat the process and to increase  your study time from 3-4 hours to 6-7 hours and in next week or after 2 weeks scale up to around 9 to 10 hours a day

Effective time management

After you have learned how to find the time to study, the next aspect is managing this time efficiently. A proper strategy to start would be studying with complete concentration, no disturbances, and continuously for 3-hour sessions. Yes, we know the thought itself sounds alien to you, but you have to start somewhere. The idea is to simulate real exam conditions. While studying, you have to create an atmosphere of sitting in an examination hall. While doing this, avoid doing any of the following during the 3-hour study session:

  • Studying while lying down, or in bed. To avoid the temptation of taking a quick snooze, study at a desk or if you don’t have one, sit in a chair and use an old trunk as a make-shift desk.
  • Getting up from your desk during the 3-hours study session.  Keep a bottle of water next to you so that you don’t need to get up to have a drink of water. These small distractions can add up, and then eat their way into your study-time.
  • Listening to music while studying. While a lot of students claim they can multi-task, the efficiency of retaining that information can be affected if you listen to your favourite tracks while studying. The mind can wander, and if you have a habit of studying while listening to some music, try and slowly reduce the duration of listening to music or replace it with some instrumental music you’ve never heard. This will ensure that the mind doesn’t find those familiar tracks to hum to.
  • Phone calls or texting. Even one phone call or replying to one message can lead to hour-long conversations or chats about frivolous issues that take your mind off your subject matter. Instead, designate a certain time in the day for phone calls and responding to messages. You’ll be surprised at how much better you can concentrate, and won’t miss it too dearly.

Setting a time-table

Now that the main criteria is covered, let’s talk about the time-table. You can choose your own time table to prepare for all the topics of class 12, and if you are preparing for an exam like JEE you can also include those topics in your schedule. It all depends on what suits you best, and which topics you would like to cover first, second or third, based on your comfort levels. Try and figure out which topics are your kryptonite, and work on dedicating some more time to those topics, so that you can improve. In the earlier months (from March/April on to November), you should try to cover all the topics of class 12 and solve questions of  both the JEE and board levels. You can refer to the previous year’s JEE and board questions.

Practice, practice, practice!

Practice a lot in these months. Don’t undermine your CBSE NCERT books, as they are the best to practice with. Don’t overdo the practicing from heavy reference books, but instead ensure you first master the prescribed syllabus textbooks. Solve old question papers, take mock-tests and quizzes, and ask your seniors for some tips in mastering the tricky areas. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. It’s no wonder that they say ‘Practice makes perfect’!

You will see that doing all these things is not really tough if you are really dedicated and adopt a never say die attitude. So go forth (with blinkers if necessary) and conquer those exams with a rigorous self-study program.

The boards are one of the exams that you’ll face in class 12. You’ll get different opinions pertaining to the importance of that almost everywhere you go! However, you can read more here about why the boards are extremely important. All the best!


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