Reading, reading and remembering nothing at the time of exam. Is this the fear you are facing now?
If yes, the following worries may be frequent hassle in your concentration.
1. I am reading manythings, but I doubt if I am able to remember them.
2. I have read earlier, but I am not able to recall answer/fact.
3. Yes, it is at the tip of my tongue, but I cannot recall it properly.
4. Should I keep reading new things?
5. Should I read and revise with a proper schedule?
If you have been victim of this unending questions, don’t worry – it happens with all.
What is the solution?
How to read so as to retain maximum?
What should be method of revision?
Friends, solution lies in effective technique of reading.
1. Concentration : It is sine qua none. Without concentration, you will grasp nothing. It will be a wasted effort and wastage of time. Endeavour to read with full understanding and focus. If you cannot grasp meaning of a sentence or implication of a paragraph, re-read it. One should never end reading without sufficient clarity of the topic.
2. Pick up the crux : What is important? When you read a paragraph, there is one topic sentence and other sentences are elaboration of the matter. The sentence may come at first or middle or last in the paragraph. Pick up the crux of paragraph and write down in margin in one or two words, e.g., Food Quality – if the paragraph goes on narrating quality of food. This will make easy for you to revise quickly. Sometimes book itself gives title to paragraphs.
3. Make notes or Underline : You can also highlight important data or facts if necessary. Underlining key words should be a habit. You can make notes if necessary (Refer to Post : Prepare for Civil Services) otherwise underline or highlight text in the book. You can also write relevant figures from newspaper or other source which you are not going to preserve long, in the margin of the book. This will make the information very handy.
4. Revision : The most important part of preparation is habit of revision. However, when you read the matter for the first time, concentrate as if you are never going to revise it. Concentrate as if it is the last time you have access to the material. Once you finish the reading, close your eyes and try to remember it again. If you cannot recall some important part of matter, re-read it immediately.
I feel best technique for revision is : 1 + 1 + 1 + 1.
1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 1 year ! Fixed for lifetime.
Whatever you read and remember today, must be revised after 24 hours, i.e. 1 day. Then second revision should be after 1 week, i.e. 7 days. Then after 30 days and the 1 year, if possible.
Some people make mistake of reserving Sunday for revision. I feel that matter read on Saturday will not require that much effort as the matter read before 5 days. So everyday sometime should be given for revision. Topics read on Monday should be revised on next Monday; topics read on 2nd of a month should be revised on 2nd of next month and 2nd of the next year in same month, apart from fixation of matter on the very next day, of course.
There may be a spirit of inquiry and a doubt, as all rational minds would have, that how to remember what to revise at what time? Have I gone mad, as this itself will require a perfect revision. But I have not gone mad (more than what I already was!!!).
You should keep a diary. When you start reading, point out, date, time and topic. Once you finish reading, also write down the topic in To Do List of your diary in the same day of Next Week, same date of next month, and date box of next year.
In your diary, on the right side of daily pages, give a heading : To Do : Revision. Daily when you will open page of concerned Date, you will find the Revision Schedule on your Right Top Corner. Give one hour or a little more time to go through highlighted and underlined portions, you will be able to recall it.
How much time will it require to Revise ? I guess, if first reading has taken 5 hours, its first revision on the next day will take 50 min to 1 hour. Second Revision in next week would take half hour and after one month too, it would not take more than half an hour. Only Pre-Condition is that you must have read and understand the topic in the first reading. If it was not done properly in the first reading, it will be tough to revise in given time, because it will be same as a new reading.
Due to shortage of time, I am not going in matters like : ‘Advantages of Revision Technique’ etc., because it is you who have to implement and decide, I am not here to sell my product, but just to share my experience.
With full sanity, I agree that what suited me may be found quite useless by a few and also may change future of many.
Well wishes to you all.
– Rohit Vadhwan, IFS