How to Study and Pass in Examinations

How to achieve effectiveness in your study
Effectiveness will only come out of your studying process or effort if you know:
(a)   What to study
Studying will become easier to achieve with the aid of a comprehensive syllabus and detailed outline of every topic on the subjects or courses involved.
(b)    How to study
How to study is another important point that must be critically considered.  Therefore, based on your disposition, you are expected to adopt the most suitable approach. Answers to the following questions will assist you in determining your best approach to studying:

  1. Can I read and understand among people where there are distractions?
  2. Am I the type who understands by underlining or writing out vital points or straight reading is enough?
  3. Do I assimilate at first reading or I need repeated readings for assimilation?
  4. Do I normally read before examinations?

All these questions must be answered and actions are taken as appropriate.
(c)      When to study
As a result of individual differences, the time to commence study differs. Some may need to start studying for a particular examination a long time ahead to complete the syllabuses while others require a shorter period of study.
Some people do not achieve maximum concentration during the day but find reading and studying easier during the night.
Determine which is your ideal time to start studying and at what period to achieve effectiveness.
The corollary is that many people fail in examinations due to inadequate coverage of the prescribed syllabuses. We also have those who fail since they adopted the wrong approach while others fail due to inadequate time management.
The best way forward is to synchronize and solve all identified problems. This can be achieved by adopting an effective personalized studying pattern in the course of preparing for examinations.
(2)     How to improve your study skill
(a)     Interest
Show interest in what you are studying daily. You also need to have an interest in what the lecturer is saying irrespective of your perception of his/her personality because your interest in a particular course is related to your interest in the subject teacher. Perfect Interest is a sure key to success in any study effort.
What you keenly engage yourself in daily is what you end up doing best. The moment you perceive a topic or subject or a course as being difficult, to achieve success in it may require a change of heart.
Success comes easily only when we change our negative perception of a particular area of study to a positive one. There is the need to see a particular subject or topic as very easy to handle and when this is backed up with keen interest, success will no doubt be the result.
(b)     Concentration
You can improve the power of your study through concentration. When you are studying, avoid mind wandering; rather, shift your interest to what you are studying. Whenever you want to concentrate, you have to do the following; observe, remember, compare and contrast as applicable to what you are studying.
Strict adherence to the above guides will no doubt aid your assimilating some important points. A sentence may require an in-depth analysis to arrive at the innermost meaning. Anticipate how the question could come and at the same time understand the interrelationship of some parts of your reading materials. Concentration demands devotion.
(c)      Understand the guiding Principles
Many candidates record failures in some topics, subjects or courses due to lack of understanding of the guiding principles.
What you do not understand would be very difficult to apply, thereby leading to failure. For instance, English Language, Mathematics, Greek, Shorthand or Typewriting are some of the subjects that operate on certain guiding principles. Efforts at attaining success in these subjects without first of all learning and following the principles are not likely to produce a good result.
There can be no production of a good essay, correspondence, summary or dealing with comprehension exercises in the English Language without an in-depth understanding and application of the appropriate grammatical principles. It is a sheer waste of time studying other aspects of English at the expense of studying the principles of English grammar, which is a critical prerequisite.
The same thing applies to Shorthand, Typewriting, Accounting, Research Methods, and other similar subjects. A thorough understanding of the theoretical aspects of the guiding principles of any given area of study is far, more important than a constant practice or any attempts at studying these subjects at a higher level.
A faulty foundational approach to studying any skilled subject cannot support subsequent efforts at attaining efficiency, effectiveness and ultimate success.
The way forward is to go back to basics and avoid despondency. The number of attempts at any subject or time spent on it is irrelevant, but the success recorded in such attempts. This implies that one may continue to fail a particular examination as long as the guiding principles are neglected or ignored. Students at whatever level should be able to go back to the simplest foundation of a problematic subject(s) and start afresh to achieve better understanding necessary to record success.
(d)      Constant Practice
Principles learned in respect of any subject must be repeatedly put into practice to attain perfection. You should properly evaluate yourself to determine adequate mastery of relevant topics before the examination. An examination is designed to test your ability, which must have been acquired well in advance of such an examination. Those who cannot perform at the required level before the examination cannot do any magic to perform on the day of examination.
It is a fact that fear, anxiety and lack of confidence are observable characteristics of those who have not adequately prepared or do not know the guiding principles of a particular subject.
The fact remains that such people may record failure for themselves even before such examinations.
The most painful aspect of failures is for one to be ignorant of the fact that previous failures are due to ignorance or sheer inability to understand the guiding principles. A notable example is typewriting examination.
Those who do not or cannot use the five-finger as laid down or those who perpetually look at the keyboard while typing may not be able to perform well in typewriting examination or tasks due to the implication of their limited speed attainment, relative to the rate required to complete a designated task.
Similarly, during shorthand dictation, it would be too late to start to think of which outline or phrase to use. These skills must have been acquired before the examination, just as the principles not earlier learned in English, Accounts, Mathematics and other related subjects may be very difficult to apply at the examination hall.
(e)     Understanding the Theoretical Basis
Most people do not understand the basis of the concepts and theories that affect their course of study. There are usually some principles, laws, formula concepts and theories to learn to understand a topic or even the essence of one’s discipline. For instance, there are management theories propounded to understand management from its various perspectives. The same thing applies to other fields of study. Similarly, we have theories guiding the study of Mass Communication, Sociology, Psychology, Industrial Relations, etc which form the bases of these disciplines.
Without a clear understanding of these theories, one may not be able to understand subsequent teachings on the subject concerned or the totality of the course of study. Adequate knowledge of a “theory” is the basis of practice and further development in a particular area.
There is no phenomenon without its basis. It takes several years’ of effort to arrive at a particular theory, concept, or principle, hence, mere reading them may not be sufficient to understand what a particular theory, concept, principle or law is all about. You must study them over and over again until you can understand them in their simplest form and thereafter, apply them through constant practice.
3.0     Methods of Study
(a)     Think first and then read
You need to think well on the subject matter before you start to read and when you start reading, jot important points down as they come to you. In the course of thinking and reading, ensure that you consider all aspects of who, where, what, when, which, why and how. You can also consult others for more ideas to support what you already have.
In the course of thinking and reading, ensure that you cover all aspects of your reading materials. You should also ensure that you have details on definitions, types, functions, significance, merits and demerits, similarities and differences.
(b)     Principle of Absorption
Absorption is to be able to retain what you have read and made use of the knowledge whenever you need it. Absorption is done y learning the most essential points by heart and to do this effectively, you must make it a point of duty to recall your knowledge as often as possible.
The following are some suggestions on how to absorb:

  1. Pause after each paragraph or a topic sentence and think over what you have read.
  2. Ask yourself some salient points on what you have read.
  3. Write important points down in your own words.
  4. You should be able to describe or explain illustrations, charts, diagrams, and pictures in words.
  5. Make a summary on each page you read and underline the headings to aid your revision and retention of facts.
  6. Employ repetition to help you remember what you have studied.

(c)      Repetition could be done in any of the following ways:

  1. Discuss what you have learned with people.
  2. Explain it to your colleagues, and those who are willing to listen to you
  3. As you go about your normal daily activities, try to recall or remember what you have previously learned by repeating the main points to yourself

(d)     Effective Revision

  1. Consider what topics to revise
  2. Ensure you have the appropriate materials for study.
  3. Try to recollect the main points you want to learn.
  4. Do not waste time on points or facts you have already known.
  5. Ask yourself questions on what you still need to put in.
  6. Use every convenient moment for revision.
  7. Have good rest and recreation.
  8. Avoid mental strain and lack of sleep.

(e)      Points of Emphasis for Student Reviewers
In the course of your revision, you have to bear in mind that there are certain courses or subjects, which require that you must have concluded reading at least 24hours before examinations if such preparation is to be meaningful.

  1. Get a skeletal view of the subject.
  2. Review the main points.
  3. Study continuously rather than sporadic reading.
  4. Avoid high-pressure cramming at the last minute.
  5. Start to review what you have read early enough.
  6. Anticipate as well as you can, the kind or type of questions that will be asked.
  7. To remember new points, always tie it to an old matter of interest to you
  8. Devise an appropriate code or acronym guide to remembering points.
  9. Attempt past questions as if you are in the examination hall.
  10. Do not assume that you can answer a past question when you have not attempted it.

4.0.    Understand before you Memories

  1. It is easier to remember any materials that we understand its meaning.
  2. It is better to learn a whole part rather than segments, irrespective of the length of the passage. Reading a passage quickly and repeating it all over again could help in the course of memorizing a very important point.
  3. Spend fewer hours each day studying. This is better than spending more hours within a lesser number of days. E.g. studying two hours a day for six days will produce a better result than studying six hours a day for three days.

4.1.    Before going for Examination

  1. Study the time-table to arrange your studying pattern effectively.
  2. Locate your examination hall/centre before the examination day.
  3. Pray for success and go to the examination hall with the approved and relevant materials needed for good performance.
  4. Ensure that you comply with and complete all pre-examination qualifying procedures and at the same time, obtain relevant clearances.

5.0.    At the Examination Hall
Read the instruction carefully. Many students fail to realize that instructions are part of the examination. Non-compliance with instructions has led to the failure of many candidates in the past.

  1. Read instructions carefully and ensure that you understand them before you start to answer the questions put forward.
  2. You must know what the examiner is requesting.

Study the exact wording of the questions to discover the operative or keywords of the questions to be answered. Ensure that you understand the questions very well before answering them. For instance, “list” is not the same as explaining or evaluate.

  1. Outline or jot down the points you will use to answer each question before you start to write.
  2. Judge carefully how you use the allocated time for all the questions. Make provision for the planning of your answers, actual answering of the question and reading them over to correct inadequacies.
  3. Make sure you have a fair attempt at the required number of questions instead of concentrating on some.
  4. Start with questions you have a better understanding.
  5. For any question you are attempting, start with a good introductory sentence. This creates a good impression. Also, end it with a good summary or conclusion.
  6. Write legibly and neatly.
  7. Avoid nervousness and induced fear, instead be calm.
  8. Neat and correct diagrams and other aids to add clarity to your discussion.
  9. Give local examples before giving foreign ones.

5.1     Obey the most important person
The most important person in an examination setting is the examiner. He or she is the one who will mark your paper right or wrong.
You can keep him or her on your side by making his task as easy as you can, produce relevant answers, write as neatly as possible and keep your sketches/diagrams tidy.
To impress the examiner, your first sentence should be attractive, supply some facts, avoid stating in many words what could be said in fewer words (circumlocution) and avoid repeating the same thing all over again. It is not how much you write that matters but the points you make. Answer the questions put forward.
5.2     Digestible Facts for the Wise

  1. Do not substitute your questions with those of the examiner. Give due attention to compulsory questions and when a question has two parts; determine the main question and teat both parts carefully.
  2. Divide your day and give to each part of it a special accomplishment.
  3. Listen to your lecturer; he may be indirectly giving you some areas of concentration during his lecture periods. Some questions he would ask in future have been asked and answers proffered during one of his lectures. You need to be punctual and attentive to get some of these salient points.
  4. Commit what your lecturer tells you into memory, write them down, recollect and make them your own.
  5. Never study too far into the nights; it dulls the brains and hurts the health.
  6. Avoid the need to start reading for examination when the time is too near. Read in advance and be prepared. Do not compare yourself with anybody in terms of reading habits or style. Have your habit(s) and develop your style.

See a man diligent in his work, and he shall eat among kings. If you are well prepared for any examination, you will be free to sit down and pass the test at any place; you will not go into an examination room with foreign materials or be looking for an ally or someone to copy.
Apart from displaying confidence during the examination, adequate preparation guarantees success on completion of such an examination, thereby giving you peace of mind.
Cheating on someone else is a highly degrading subordinate role, which puts your integrity to question in the future. Good luck and God bless you as you decide to succeed based on self-effort in your examination.

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