It was the month of September when the notifications were officially out; it was pretty much around the same time that the anxiety and fear started to kick in, the time of the year that decides your future. It’s just this one exam that can make your career, or hold it for a period while you decide what to prioritize in your life.
Appearing for GATE is no joke. The main task for you is to prioritize everything that is there in your life. It starts right from the amount of sleep you get to the amount of time you waste on social media. By this I don’t mean you have to be socially isolated, but that it is necessary to constantly keep a tab on your time so that you know how to make the best out of it.
I’m a pretty lazy laid back person for starters, so for me to follow a time table is pretty much a huge task. All that I needed was a strong determination and to constantly have in mind that ‘this’ time that I have right now should be worth it in the end. So my days always started late, followed by untimely eating, wasting time on social media, binge-watching Netflix and in the end when I was bored of all that I held my books for two hours and tried to fit in whatever I could and carried on with the same routine every single day. It was then that I realized who am I kidding? It is MY future; I decide it by my actions. If this is how I was going to be for the days to come, it’d pretty much be like spoiling my life with my own hands.
I soon buckled up and I knew if I wanted to achieve my goal I had to prioritize everything. I started incorporating small changes initially like:
Waking up early to go for a morning walk
It might seem silly to you, but a morning walk for me was very refreshing. It boosts up your metabolism and provides you sufficient concentration to get back and hit the books. You have to make sure you’re up as soon as the alarm starts off- as hard as it may seem, it is important to know that those few minutes of the day impact your entire day in a large way. When you’re up and at it right from the minute you wake up, you’re sufficiently motivated to carry on throughout the day.
Studying for two hours in the morning and two-three hours in the evening
Now that your mind and body are refreshed, it is the perfect time to study. It is essential to know that your body can take in information only for a particular amount of time; if you cross the saturation point, you just keep re-reading everything and still fail to follow it. It takes me two hours of full concentration to study well and get it properly in my head. After this I make sure I get a proper break – playing games, listening to music, etc. it could be anything you’d run to in your free time. I then got back to studying in the evening around 4-6, followed by early dinner around 7 pm and hit the books from 8-9. This last one hour of studying was dedicated to the revision of the topics that I covered during the day. This way it helped me remember longer. Since the exam was in February, it was required of me to constantly revise the topics covered so that it doesn’t look brand new to me one month before the exam. I then slept for 8 hours and continued the same routine every day. There were days where I switched relaxation times with revision times.
Find the right motivation
There is a tonne of motivational videos on the internet. Get yourself the right videos and the right points. If that doesn’t appeal to you, reach out to your seniors who can guide you through it and constantly instill a ‘CAN DO’ attitude in yourself. The more you fear, the more you panic which will interfere with your studying capacity. So it is necessary to keep a calm mind and constantly motivate yourself every single day. Also, make sure you stay away from any kind of negativity – it could be friends, siblings, etc. you wouldn’t want people to let you down.
Cutting downtime on TV, Netflix, etc.
It is important for you to know that as much as you need to study, it is also equally important to have a social life. I always used all the possible apps. I soon realized most of them are a mere waste of time. For instance, Facebook – I realized I don’t even use it anymore but just keep checking on notifications; so that was the first app uninstalled. The second that followed was Snapchat – many of us use it just to maintain the streak and I was one among them, I straight away knew it had to be out too. The time that I was free, I used Instagram for around 5 minutes or watched an episode of FRIENDS and that was it.
Switching social media with GATE mock tests
This is a very crucial step and you WILL know when you can start taking mock tests. The whole of January I dedicated half my time to studying and the other half to mock tests to truly know where I stood. By studying, I mean revision. It is very essential to revise everything a month before the exam and the perfect time for attempting mock tests. By doing this, you expose yourself to a variety of questions and stimulate your thinking capacity.
When everything is getting too much
This is where you can switch your studying with educational YouTube videos like Shomu’s Biology, Unacademy courses, etc. You will notice that watching videos help you remember a topic for a longer period rather than studying off a black and white textbook. It was around this time that I started sacrificing social media and FRIENDS (TV show) and switching them up with videos from YouTube or Unacademy. This way it not only helped me deal with my concentration capacity but also helped me with revision and memory power. So any hard topic, I made it a point to watch a video to help me remember it better.
These few months are crucial; you should know how to cut off outings, family gatherings, hitting the movies, etc. You just need good amount of sleep, good eating habits, meticulous planning of your syllabi, avoid doing things that waste your time, watch a motivational video and constant revision every single day. In the end, the view from the top is all that matters.