This chapter has 37 questions about various aspects of study techniques, mind power, exams, and competitions that I have not discussed in the rest of this book. This knowledge instantly improves your success in any exam.
Is it better to study early in the morning or late at the night?
It depends on you. Everyone is unique. Everyone is different. Some people like to study in the morning; others prefer to study at the night. Do whatever you like.
It also means that the saying “Early to bed and early to rise …” is wrong. You do not have to study in the morning if you do not like it.
As a student, I preferred to study late at night as compared to early in the morning.
Is it better to use one book or many books for each subject?
Using just one book is a much more effective use of your time as compared to using more than one book.
Which book to use? Or, which book is the best for you?
Most of the books approved by an education board, a school, or a college are usually good. You should talk to last year’s students. Find out their comments. Look at a few textbooks. Compare one chapter from these books. Then decide which textbook you want to use.
Some students feel that they may miss something by using only one textbook. But it is not true. For subjects that are calculation-based (such as Mathematics, Physics, etc.), the numerical questions may be from different textbooks. But the difference is only in the numbers used in the questions, not in the concepts. It is better to spend full time on one textbook and learn it well than to divide between two.
I consider it a total waste of time to use more than one textbook.
Is it better to study just one subject per day or read all the subjects every day?
A rule like this will be meaningless. The important thing to remember is: Do what you like. If you feel that you can learn better by studying one subject for 4 hours (with rest, of course!), then study one subject. If you feel that more subjects per day give you a chance for better concentration, then study more than one subject.
Do what you like.
For which subjects should you make notes and for which you should not?
Take notes for all subjects while attending classes. Do not make notes for the same chapters at home again. That will be a waste of time. Revising and memorizing is a better use of your time.
For those chapters or subjects which are not taught in the class or those you are studying before they are taught in the class, make notes.
How to make notes that help you memorize. For this see Chapter 7.
How to sit on a bench/chair in the class to improve concentration?
There are two secrets: (1) sit in the front row and (2) bend slightly forward. For details, see Chapter 6.
How many hours to sleep daily for months before the exams?
The sleep requirement is different for different people. It also changes with age. A newborn baby sleeps 16 to 20 hours a day. Sleeping for 4 hours to 10 is normal for adults.
If you feel tired most of the time, then also see a doctor.
How many hours to sleep during the exam days?
During exam days and exam nights, you should have enough sleep. “Enough sleep” means what makes you fresh and energetic. Do not be sleepless in an attempt to study more.
Sleeping less than the needed sleep can make you feel tired and less energetic. And that is not good for your performance in the exam.
Should you sleep only at night or sleep during the day also?
Interestingly, 50 percent of the world’s population sleeps for a short period during the day.
You should also sleep in the daytime for a short period. This short sleep can revitalize and re-energize you for rest of the day. You will study more efficiently for rest of the day.
Can physical exercise help to improve the functioning of your brain?
Yes. All the food you eat is eventually converted to oxygen or energy. The brain consumes 20% to 25% of the total oxygen in your body.
Physical exercise helps maintain good physical health. It improves.
It improves your digestion and gives you energy. That means having more oxygen even for your brain.
For details about physical exercises, see Chapter 5.
Can meditation help you get more marks in exams?
Yes. Meditation increases alpha and theta brain waves. It relaxes you. Your brain functions more intelligently. As a result, you can get more marks.
For details about meditation, see Chapter 5.
Which school to join: small or large, government or private?
If there is a school with good past results, join that school.
For example, someone is in high school and his goal is to join engineering. If there is a school from which many students join engineering courses every year, then that is the best school.
If you cannot find such a school, then join a school that teaches for less number of hours every day. For example, a school may run two shifts so your class may be from 12:30 to 5:30 (total 5 hours) and the other school is from 9:30 to 5:00 (total 7.5 hours). Then join the school with fewer hours because you will get 2.5 hours more for self-study at home or coaching.
If you cannot choose a school based on the above criteria, then choose a smaller school. There you will be noticed more easily and you may get better marks in practical exams.
What is the difference between exams and competitions?
In any competition, very few students get 0 marks or 100 marks. A large number of students get marks in a range close to the average marks.
Every competition selects a fixed number of students. So the selection committee (or nowadays a computer) starts selecting students with the highest marks. As soon as they select the required number of students, they stop.
Here is an important fact: there are a large number of people who miss by just 1, 2 or 3 marks. This is the most important difference between a competition and an exam. In an exam, you will say that two students getting 84% and 82% marks are both equally intelligent and equally successful, but in a competition, one may pass and the other may fail.
Another important fact to remember is that getting 45% marks may be a success in some competition. In some other competitions, you may need 85% marks for success. Therefore you don’t need to get high marks in a competition, but you have to get more marks than other students.
How should the study methods be different for exams and competitions?
It depends on your goal.
For example, if your goal in an exam is to just pass, you can study all the easy chapters and leave a few difficult sections.
In such a case, if you spend time on whatever topics you are good at and you will do well.
If your goal is to get the first rank, of course, you have to study everything in the textbooks. Even in this case, if the question papers give you a choice, then it may be okay to leave a few difficult sections.
Similarly, for a competition, find out the exact pattern of the question papers. Is there a choice of questions to answer? Find out approximately what percentage marks students need to succeed. It could be as low as 40% in some competitions and as high as 95% in others.
If you need relatively low marks to succeed in a competition, it is okay to study more of those topics that you are good at. It is okay to leave some difficult topics. But if very high percentage marks are needed, then you should not leave any topic. You have to study the complete course.
This is a difficult decision to make. Discuss these ideas with some friends. Finally, talk to older students who achieved success. It may also help to discuss this with your teachers because they may have guided students to success in the past.
Will you understand if you learn to read faster?
Yes. For details, see Chapter 1.
How to improve your memory
This whole book is about memory. You may start by reading Chapter 1. For details, see Chapter 4 and Chapter 9.
How to increase your concentration?
Do the following:
- Try to use the Sri Yantra poster for concentration for 3 minutes daily
- Learn to read faster
- Sit in the front row of the class
- Bend a little forward while sitting in the class
- Do anything that increases your intelligence or memory.
For details, see Chapters 1, 3, 4, and 5.
Which vitamins to take to make your brain work better and to improve your IQ?
Please see Chapter 5.
What type of pen to use: ball pen or fountain pen?
Use any pen that you use normally. Take one more pen to the exam just in case the first pen does not write. I also recommend using a color pen. See Chapter 10 for details.
What can you ask your parents to do for you to help you succeed?
Your parents can help you in many ways.
Some of which they already know. For example, giving you money for tuition.
You can request your parents that you do would not like to do things such as bringing things from the market, shopping or anything that takes a lot of time regularly. This may or may not be possible based on the specific situation at your home.
How to use your mobile phone to help you study?
This can be a powerful technique. However, it takes more time than most students are willing to invest.
You can record difficult lessons and listen to them. Listen when you are taking bath, when you are eating and when you are shaving. One of the best ways is to listen when you are going to sleep. For a small period between a wakeful state and sleep, there is a dream-like state. The theta brain waves are dominant in this state. A lot of information gets memorized in this state. This is even called sleep learning.
If you are a topper: Is IAS the best goal?
Yes and no. It depends.
IAS is probably still one of the best jobs.
Unlike in the past, now there are other attractive alternatives in business and jobs. For example, engineering, medical, management, or going to the USA.
So, IAS is not the only choice. You should not lose or sacrifice other options to try for just IAS. Remember that only a very small number of people are selected every year.
Should you use a timetable for studying?
Some people like a timetable for studying. For example, they write down: wake up at 6, get ready at 7, study Physics till 9, etc.
I have tried using the timetable, but I never liked it. A timetable makes me feel less flexible and more like a machine. So, I do not like it and I do not recommend it.
Still, if you like, try it.
Suppose you miss classes for two weeks. What should you study first: what the teacher teaches now or what you missed?
Since the amount of time you spend in school is very large and since we forget 82% of a lesson in 24 hours without revision, you should learn what the teacher is teaching now. Then also learn by studying extra hours what you missed.
Also, see Chapter 4 and Chapter 6.
If General Knowledge is not one of the papers in your competition, is it a total waste of time to read newspapers? Magazines?
Yes and No.
Yes as far as your success in the competition is concerned.
No, because it has some value as discussed below.
It is a popular belief that good students read newspapers and magazines. But it is not correct. Good students do not have to read newspapers and magazines.
Some people say reading newspapers improves your English. Yes, it does. But in a very slow way. You can improve much faster by learning what you do not know and with the help of personal tuition.
The value in reading newspapers and magazines is “entertainment” and “general awareness”. Just like you watch a video or a film. In addition, newspapers and magazines are very good for you to practice reading fast, reading very fast, and still understanding the essence of the writing. Textbooks are not the best for such practice.
If you have General Knowledge as one of the papers, then reading newspapers and magazines has value. Even then, I suggest that you spend more time reading some books on General Knowledge rather than wasting too much time on newspapers and magazines.
Which is the best for you: personal tuition, coaching classes, or online courses?
I recommend all three: personal tuition, coaching classes, and online courses.
If you are good at your subject, if you can study without a teacher’s help, then personal tuition is the best for you. This allows you to learn a huge amount in a short time. You have to discuss this with your teacher.
While preparing for engineering admission, I took personal tuition. My teacher Mr. C. S. Humad was extremely helpful. We did not have classes during the half-yearly exams. I had to just go for exams and then I was free for the day. I was so confident that I did not study for exam subjects during the half-yearly exams. Instead, I prepared for mathematics. Both my teacher and I were surprised that in about 20 days, we covered the remaining syllabus. This gave me a tremendous advantage. I had finished the complete Mathematics syllabus about 4 months before the final exams.
Coaching classes and online courses
In general, coaching classes are more effective than online courses. But, you may be much faster than the other students in a coaching class. In such a case, attending coaching classes is a waste of time and so an online course can be better for you.
You may be from a small city, town, or village. In that case, there may be no coaching-classes in your town. Then the only choice you have is either an online course or personal tuition.
Can coaching guarantee success in competitive exams?
Is coaching necessary?
Are you ready to listen and discover the “REAL TRUTH’ about COACHING for SUCCESS that no coaching institute wants you to know…
Okay, consider for example the CAT exam for entrance to MBA at IIMs.
Consider these two facts:
- FACT 1: Most of the students appearing for CAT take some kind of coaching.
- FACT 2: Only about a couple of thousands get admission to IIMs.
These two facts together guarantee that only about 1 or 2 out of each 100 candidates take coaching to get admission to IIMs and others do not.
Did you already know this?
If not, this brings you to a new realization: coaching for CAT is not sufficient. If all you do is take coaching and work hard, the chances of success are very low (about 1 to 2 out of each 100 aspirants).
The solution? Find various ways, both small and big, if possible unique and not-yet-common ways, to gain an unfair advantage and to get ahead of others.
How can you get an unfair advantage?
Use our Mind Machine, MPST 2.0 video course, and other courses available on our websites.
Another example is ENGLISH. Most job-related interviews require a decent knowledge of English. You don’t have to be an expert in English, but it is expected that you speak and write English without making simple and silly mistakes.
For working people who did not study in English medium school, our 1-Page Grammar is a new way because it shows you how to speak English confidently without using 95% grammar.
You can download a free guide at www.1PageGrammar.com.
How to prepare for interviews and group discussions?
See Chapter 11.
How to develop confidence for interviews?
See Chapter 8 and Chapter 11.
How to improve your writing skills?
Read Chapter 11 first to learn about “interviews and group discussions.” A similar approach will be good for improving your writing skills.
Success in writing requires:
- Knowledge of the subject and knowledge of the language.
- How to write in an organized, simple, and understandable way.
Item (1) is discussed in many chapters in this book.
Here we will discuss item (2) only.
The best way is to ask your teacher for help. Personal tuition is also a good idea. Write an essay and get it checked by your teacher. Ask him two questions (1) What is good in my essay? (2) How specifically can I improve?
Ask the teacher for a sample essay for which he gave 100% or very high marks. Study that essay. Ask the teacher in what ways the sample essay is better than your essay.
Another good idea is to get together with other students. All of you take some tests. Then check answers, correct mistakes, and suggest improvements among yourselves. After a few such sessions, show your answers to your teacher.
Continue this process till you achieve the desired level of mastery over writing skills.
What else can you do?
I have given in this book a huge amount of information and techniques to help you get success. This book has most of what I can teach you. So, with this book in your hands, you are already on your way to success.
You can to get our courses, mind machine, and audio programs at: