It is well established that breaking down a problem into smaller chunks makes it manageable and achievable. The same applies to test preparation. There are limited number of days that a student has when preparing for an exam and syllabus is usually large. To prepare well, one needs to plan this limited time so that the student masters the syllabus (or the most important part of it) before the exam day. Thus a study plan is the key.
Understanding main issues that lead to drop off in preparation or even attempting the exam, we figured that:
85% of students never plan their preparation, picking up casually whatever they feel like preparing and in the end complaining of a huge unfinished syllabus.
Over 90% students start preparation with full vigor but lose steam along the way (frequently very early in the process) and then struggle when the exam is around the bend.
This identifies two fundamental issues. One, the time available must be carefully planned so that maximum of the important portion of the syllabus is covered well in time. Two, the preparation when divided into such smaller portion that achieving them is easy and hence enough of a reward to continue further.
A great study plan designed on following guidelines is definite way to achieve success:
1. Make several milestones in your study plan.
2. Keep starting milestones easy
3. Keep small clear measurable tasks in each milestone so that steps to complete them are well-defined
4. Initial milestones cover up the full syllabus at a fast pace so that “I am done” feeling comes earlier. Later improving scores and timing can be brought into focus.
5. Ensure that reaching the final milestone truly means success for a student and thus pack enough practice tasks till the final milestone.
Beyond just creating a study plan, following it completely is a bigger challenge. Every student has their own speed of preparation and other behavioral reasons may lead to the inability to follow their study plan. This is one major reason for failure even for people who do plan their preparation.
Study plan must devote specific time period to finish each milestone. If the deadline is missed, a new deadline should be issued and tasks are re-prioritized. Re-prioritization is going to be very exam specific based on what portion of the syllabus is more important and where student needs to out more effort.
Success of a student would still be dependent on two factors the expertise on the subjects as well as the hard work put in. But careful planning increase the chances of success and saves a student of a lot of frustration.