How To Study Effectively For Board Exams

A proper plan always helps take out some of the stress related to exams. Here are some tips to guide your child on how to study effectively for the board exams.

By Leena Ghosh  • 8 min read

How To Study Effectively For Board Exams

There are three words that are crucial to preparing a study plan for the board exams — planning, planning and some more planning. Studying for the boards is not about burning the midnight oil or being cooped up in the study room for hours on end. Rather, it is about recognising your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and working on both.

How to study effectively for exams

If your child is appearing for his boards this year, do not change your entire schedule in preparation for the upcoming exams. Instead, help your child get ready for it by making an effective study plan. We help you break down the process and tell you how you can help your child prepare an effective study plan.

Before making the study timetable

1. Figure out his strengths and weaknesses: There will be subjects or topics your child will need to put more hours into compared to others. Before making the study plan, decide which areas need more work and which don’t and make the plan accordingly.

2. Plan her schedule: Some children prefer studying in the morning and others prefer doing it at night. According to Dr Micheal Breus, author of 'The Power of When' published in 2016, each person has a chronotype – an internal body clock embedded in our brain – that decides the time when we are at our peak, be it for learning or performing a physical activity. Understand your child’s schedule and help her decide which subject she wants to focus on at a particular time. However, if your child is a night owl make sure you keep a tab on time to ensure she gets enough rest as well.

3. Decide the time to be devoted to each subject: It’s important here that your child is realistic about his goals rather than trying to fit it into a set table. Help him decide how much time it’ll take to cover each subject based on his strengths.

While making the study timetable

4. Assign a colour to each subject: Once each subject has a colour code, it’ll be easier for your child to navigate the timetable and see if all subjects are being given enough time for proper preparation.

5. Note down ‘break time’: Your child can’t study 24/7. Make sure she takes enough breaks of short duration and pencils them in, in her timetable. Important meals and sleep time should not be counted as breaks. Encourage her to take 5 to 10-minute breaks after completing one hour of studying.

6. Mix it up: Make sure your child has a balance of subjects every day and doesn’t devote many hours to only one subject. This way he will be more productive and retain lessons better. In fact, science has shown that interleaving, a process where students study more than one subject or a topic at a time, produces better results. In a study titled, ‘Interleaved practice improves mathematics learning', by Dedrick and colleagues, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 2015, it was observed that students who adopted interleaved practice produced higher scores.

7. Set time for revision: Revising the lessons for the day will help your child retain them better. So, make sure she revises whatever she studies each day. If you can, prepare mock oral or written tests based on the chapters she covered that day.

After making the study timetable

8. Print the schedule: Print out a copy of the timetable in large and legible font, so that the plan and schedule are clear to your child. Stick it up on the wall or place it on the study table, as per convenience.

9. Allow room for flexibility: As much as possible, encourage your child to stick to her schedule. However, allow for the timetable to be flexible, if required. In her enthusiasm, she may have set unrealistic goals, or on a tough day, may not be able to meet her daily targets. Make sure she doesn’t beat herself about it and moves things around on the schedule to make room for revised plans.

Study tips for exams from toppers

ParentCircle brings to you tips from last year’s toppers. Here are some of them:

Sreelakshmi G, 2018 Class 10 Topper

While revising the syllabus for the exams, remember to label the parts that require careful studying. Make notes for last-minute references. Decide which subjects you should study in the morning and which ones in the evening.

Raksha Gopal, 2017 Class 12 Topper

From January, I put in more study hours – seven to eight hours after school with breaks in between. I set goals as to how many chapters I had to finish by the end of the day. So, I studied for eight hours with half-an-hour breaks every two hours.

Make sure that your child understands that the study timetable is a plan to help him study and not an indicator of success. If he feels stressed because of the exams, take some time out to talk to him and address his concerns in the best way possible. Seek expert help, if necessary.

How To Study Effectively For Board Exams

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About the expert:

Reviewed by Meghna Singhal, PhD on 31 January 2020

Dr Singhal is a clinical psychologist with a doctorate degree from NIMHANS (Bangalore) and holds a post-doctorate in parenting from the University of Queensland (Australia). She is Head of the Content Solutions Zone at ParentCircle.

About the author:

Written by Leena Ghosh on 12 February 2019; updated on 10 February 2020

The author is a journalist, writer, editor and the mother of a spirited young girl. In between juggling the roles of being a full-time cheerleader for her daughter, a thorough professional and a part time chef, she dreams of finishing the first page of her unwritten book. 

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