In order to learn, assimilate and master subject content, one needs to Plan, Implement & Analyze.

This raises a question what is smart work? How do we implement it in our learning process? Let’s understand smart work V/s Hard work in following lines:

“Smart work is the right work done at the right time” and “Hard work is often the easy work you did not do at the proper time." - Bernard Meltzer

To familiarize ourselves with what we mean by smart work, let us try to understand with an example.

We are all familiar with Marathons –

• Learning is also like taking part in a marathon, which needs Understanding of the task in hand (Pre-class preparation) - an overview, which helps to know what is the path to be taken, distance to be covered, time to clock, terrain you need to encounter etc. in a marathon.

• Once you are aware of the task requirements, you need an expert who would facilitate better preparation (Teacher or Coach facilitation)

• The expert facilitates in-depth understanding of the task at hand (Gives you a better understanding of the topic)

• The expert also helps you to tackle and negotiate the challenges terrain poses to you (Challenges you may face in learning).

• Strategies to be employed at different stages (Review of performance through Tests)

• Efforts incomplete without following a systematic practice regime (post-class working, with worksheets, reference materials & tutorials).

• This develops Mental & Physical stamina to sustain and run the distance (Intellectual Stamina)

• Create Summary sheets or mind maps (highlights of important aspects of concepts neatly structured) for effective revision.

• Rehearsals (Pre-final Tests)

In conclusion, one can say systematic learning is a combination of Planning & implementation, which involves Pre-class preparation (approx. 1 hr.), which will lead to enhanced participation in the class and better assimilation of core concepts.   This will set stage for committed, meaningful post-class working sessions (reaching approx. 4 to 6 hrs./day for students in +2). The post class work should culminate in preparing summary sheet / mind maps, which should be regularly used for revision. A series of self-tests is to be taken for analysis of performance and strengthening of concepts. Such a systematic approach would build confidence in the student to solve multi concept problems. This   will help the   student to face the challenges and be successful in cracking Competitive Examinations and carve a career path in subject/subjects one is passionate about.

START BY DOING WHAT'S NECESSARY, THEN WHAT'S POSSIBLE, AND SUDDENLY YOU ARE DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE.

THE Do`s & Don`ts Guide

Do`s

  • First and foremost, realize that you are at a juncture in your life, where you have to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Realize the responsibility you carry on your shoulders.
  • CHALK-OUT a good study plan (approx. 3 to 4hrs/day= 21 to 24hrs/week to begin with and steadily increase the time depending on your needs)
  • Work towards implementing your STUDY PLAN of 3 to 4hrs/day a DAILY HABIT.
  • Pre-Class, Post-Class working SHOULD be part of DAILY routine.
  • After gaining confidence on a specific topic create SUMMARYS which will help in periodic revisions.
  • Incorporate Self-Test to analyze performance. After every performance analysis work on your weak areas.
  • Interact with teachers, clear doubts on a daily basis (do not pile up your doubts, it creates a blockage in your learning).
  • Incorporate an exercise regime (Physical, Mental).
  • Always study in a Read, Recall & Revise cycle. Visualize questions which can be asked on the concept during each cycle (for e.g., Read a concept for 20min, understand it then recall the main & the sub concepts learnt, think of probable questions for this concept and try to answer them as you revise.)
  • Have a habit of a small break after substantial learning. Decide your own way of taking a break which can refresh and rejuvenate.  Enjoy what you have learnt.
  • Share your learning with your peers. Make it a point to have discussions about studies in a peer group. Think of varied questions for discussions. Think of multiple solutions.
  • It has been observed that successful students plan and implement their learning process well. This only goes to show that perseverance and hard work can yield sweet SUCCESS in Exams.

Don`ts

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  • Keep away from distractions like Video games, social networks, Mobile, Television etc. Self-monitor your time invested Vs returns on these activities, start with a cutoff time.
  • Attending Classes is CRITICAL.
  • Focus on quality, well planned, systematic time on studying rather than last minute, stressful, sleep less, unplanned, haphazard & unyielding long hours.
  • Do not keep pending topics which are memory oriented. Last minute revision of these topics can create a lot of confusion resulting in ‘blanking-out’ of even known topics during exams. Plan for these topics earlier and start Practicing them periodically.
  • Do not be over confident that you will be able to study for the last 2 to 3 months.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions of friends, teachers or mentors.
  • Obedient but none participating students are detrimental to their own progress.
  • Do not study only one subject the whole day.
  • Do not oversleep or under-sleep.

For Parents:

  • Spend 10 minutes in non-accusing & nonjudgmental talks with your   child.
  • Support your child especially when he is going through a difficult phase.
  • Help create and keep up study schedules.
  • Have a personal touch on his schedule considering that each child has his/her own needs, capacity and interest.
  • Sustain their Motivation.