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How to study for exams [Part 2]

In the previous blog, we discussed the mindset for studying for the exams and also some techniques like the Pareto principle and small incremental process which go hand to hand with proper study techniques. In this blog, we will discuss three more effective study techniques.

  • The Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman was an American psychist and also a noble laureate he was not only a genius in quantum mechanics but also he was a master at explaining very difficult concepts to common people. Like if there is something a common person wants to understand regarding science he would explain it in so simpler ways that even a person who lacked a science background would understand it easily. Bill Gates even talks about him as a "teacher which he never had" or the teacher he wished he had. So when you are using the 'Feynman Technique' while studying the first thing you have to do is read a particular paragraph or a concept try to understand every minor thing about it and then close the book and ask yourself "how can I explain this to a 5yr old?" or at least to a person who has no connection with organic chemistry. This is how it works you have to assume that you are explaining a concept to a kid. In that way, you will get to know that you will have to explain in so minute and simpler way so that the person who has no connection with that concept would understand it easily. This, you have to go on with yourself with the book close, and at whichever point you stumble to explain the concept you need to do that part again. This technique is quite simple and sober. When you break the concept into much simpler chunks it becomes easier for you to understand and also when you try to explain to a kid the concept appears simpler and clearer to you.

  • Past paper analysis

This is the best thing you can do when it comes to selecting the important 20% of the chapter. That is the Pareto principle which we discussed in the last blog. When you want to know what is important from the bulk majority of the thing which you have to memorize you can mark down the important parts by analysing the past examination papers. Ask your seniors regarding the college or the school papers. Look for the websites which provide the previous year's paper compare the papers and find out the questions which were asked the most number of times. When you do this you can even check your preparation level by answering the question without referring to your textbooks. Keep this habit of past paper analysis with you because most of the papers are created on a basis of past years. No one puts an extra effort to change the whole paper as the human mind follows the law of least effort or which is also called as cognitive ease.

  • Active recall and spaced repetition There was a guy called Hermann Ebbinghaus who was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and the spacing effect. So according to him, the forgetting curve is the graph of our memory retention. We tend to forget the information which we have read over time. So in to avoid the forgetting curve, you have to interrupt it in between. You have to revise the information before the graph goes down.

So let's say I studied a part of halogen derivatives in the morning to store the thing which I have read I will revise it in the evening again. Then I will revise the same concept the next day in the morning. After that, I will revise it on the weekend and again after 2 weeks, and in the last, we will revise it at the end of the month. So when you keep revising the thing you tend to remember it more easily and also when you have repeated the information a certain number of times within a definite period you retain the information without forgetting it. That is what we call spaced repetition and active recall. Also instead of chunking the information and revising it again and again at just one particular time doesn't give better results. So stop revising before the exams because you mass-revise all the things. But when you use proper space between the repetition and then go through the concept you remember more. The best way to do this is by tracking the concepts over time. I used to do it on Notion which is a great app for note-taking. This is how I used to keep a track of the chapters that I was revising. [sometimes I didn't use to track the concepts when I used to repeat it so you will find the difference in the dates 😬 please manage it.] Get the template here .

So these were the 3 techniques which I used to study. There are still some things that we need to figure out which we will see in the next blog. If you liked this post then please subscribe to our mailing list below.

Till then cheers ✌️.


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It seems nice after reading this, I hope I succeeded in doing these three techniques.

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