The Importance of Effective Stress Management

Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress, in its most basic form, is the response to a demand placed on you. Activities you do, invoke stress in you. Stress need not be always of the bad kind. Stress can, and surely does helps the performance often. But the amount of the stress is the key here. A small amount of healthy stress is known to boost up the performance, but when the stress consumes a lot and becomes dominant, that’s when things start going south.

For you, i.e. the students, stress management is a very important task. You have to manage both time and the stress for the effective preparation and performance. If you follow clearly, stress and time are not two distinct variables in your case. Stress and time are co-dependent in your case. Like two sides of the same coin. Hence, time management and stress management need to in sync with each other all the time.

Matrix_jee

If you observe the matrix above, you shall observe that effective time management and effective stress management together translate into success and the lack of both results into failure. Failure in this case need not be absolute failure. It can be a situation where you miss your set goals by a long shot. Now for the other two situations,

  1. Lack of effective time management can lead to under achievement. It’s a state where you don’t rise up to your potential and settle for mediocrity. It happens because you couldn’t utilize and exploit your available resources and intelligence just because you did not manage your time at hand effectively.
  2. Lack of effective stress management will result in a burnout. It is a state when you undergo a lot of stress. This might get you closer to your goals, but there will surely be a performance gap. A burnout is a state where you will be fatigued all the day, you won’t enjoy studying and preparing, there will be a lack of optimism and confidence, and so on and so forth.

Let’s now discuss few simple stress management tips that will help you.

Balance

Yes. You read it right. Balance is the key. You have to balance all the things you do. You need to balance studies and preparation with rest and recreation. Remember that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Neglecting recreation and rest will result in you getting stressed out and obsessed over studies, which will hamper good performance. Take breaks, pursue a hobby in your free time, listen to some music, take a walk, do a thing which helps take your mind off. Again let me stress this enough that all these activities are to complement your studies, not to replace them.

Diet and Exercise

Sound body sound mind! Exercise or a physical activity is a must. It helps you stay fit, does wonders for your immune system, improves concentration and focus and alleviates stress. Play a sport of your choice for a short time, or take a walk or go jogging, the choice is yours. A proper diet complements exercise. Eat healthy stay fresh. Avoid junk food, avoid eating out, have home cooked meals regularly.

Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important factors. You require 6-8 hours of daily sleep and you should follow it. Sleeping rejuvenates the body and the mind. Lack of proper amount of sleep can directly affect your concentration and energy levels. Especially not sleeping well before taking a test is catastrophic. Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. Also sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do. Hence a good night’s sleep is more vital than you would think!

Communication

The word Communication, derived from Latin ‘commūnicāre’, means “to share”. Good communication can be a part of many solutions for you. Communicate with your peers about studies and preparation, with your parents about your goals and the progress, with your friends about other things. The first aid for any stress and anxiety related issues are “talking about it”. Take about your feelings, both good and bad, and let them out.

Also, keep an optimistic outlook. Do go through articles on studying techniques, jee preparation and time management techniques on this very blog, and elsewhere as well. Educate yourself in the truest sense, don’t neglect the other factors and aspects of studying as well.

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The Importance of Time Management (Part 2 of 3)

You can read the Part 1 of this series of articles at the following link.

https://mkclindia.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/the-importance-of-time-management-part-1-of-3/

In the last article, we discussed the importance of Time Management and also its advantages. We took a bird-eye view of the subject at hand. Time Management constitutes of two parts; Time Management while studying and preparing, and Time Management while solving mock tests and appearing for JEE. In today’s article, we shall discuss about Time Management while studying and preparing.

Good Study Habits

Studying and preparing for JEE won’t be much of a task once you are habituated to it. Inculcating good studying habits is important. You can do the following and improvise upon them.

  1. Plan effectively for the time you have. Set up a generous schedule considering all the instances you would be occupied. Include college, classes, sleep, meal times, etc. Dedicate a studying time in that schedule.
  2. Plan for the study time in a way that you could concentrate and focus at a stretch. Keep this dedicated studying slot in the morning if you are a morning person or at night if you feel comfortable with it. The main objective here is to get undisturbed quiet time.
  3. Having dedicated a studying time, now it’s time to study. When you sit to study, prepare a To-Do list. This list shall enlist the things you want to cover in the session. That would give you an outline to follow. This will help you study better in a planned and organized way.
  4. Create a planner style document and write down what you do, and your studying plans. This will keep you on the track as well as give you a fair idea as to how you measure up against your own expectations.

Managing Priorities

Always prioritize the tasks as per their importance. Analyze beforehand the urgency and importance of a task in your To-Do list. It’s absolutely important that you decide to work on the things that have the biggest impact, and not because it’s easy. Understand the difference between important and urgent. Important tasks must be done; urgent tasks must be done NOW. Some things can be taken care of tomorrow, later this week, or next week. Here, important tasks would be studying a chapter, finishing a deadline on an assignment, preparing for a test, etc.

Keep in mind that today’s actions will plant the seeds for your long-term success. Take a minute off your schedule, and ponder over the thought of prioritizing a task and its effects on your preparation. Ask yourself, “What positive things might happen if I make this a top priority?”

Remember: Procrastination is your biggest enemy

Procrastination is your biggest enemy. Be sure about that. Procrastination is basically putting off work. It is about not doing things when they are due and waiting till the last moment and beyond. Waiting for the deadline to come up on a test or an assignment, and then waking up frantically is called procrastination.

The worst impact that procrastination would have is on your study schedule. It disturbs the flow and the plan. The work starts piling up. The last minute stress is consuming physically as well as emotionally. Agreed that you might even complete the task in time, but procrastination would cause the quality to take a hit.

The best way to curb procrastination is sticking to the plan. If you get an assignment, plan when you want to do it, and ultimately stick to it. Plan in advance. Plan for each test you would be taking, plan for each assignment that you would be working on.

Review and Revise

Do include time for reviewing and revising your studies in the timetable. Reviewing would help you know for yourself how effective you have been while studying. It would help you identify the gaps and improvising. Time Management is learnt and perfected over time, and such reviews would contribute significantly. Revising in a timely manner helps save time over a period as you won’t have a huge load of studies to be revised.

In the next article, we will talk about how to manage time effectively during solving mock tests and while appearing for JEE.

Salient Features of MKCL Mastering JEE

You can read about MKCL Mastering JEE in this previous article

https://mkclindia.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/about-mkcl-mastering-jee

As we all know by now that MKCL Mastering JEE is a comprehensive test series by MKCL. In this article today, I will talk about the factors which make Mastering JEE stand out. In short, today’s article will discuss about the salient features of Mastering JEE.

Systematic Study Plan

As the word describes, the study plan and the test series is systematic. The time table is well laid out considering the window of the 12th standard examinations. There is an ample amount of chapter wise tests and then a good number of subject wise tests.

On the basis of the tests, you would be ranked nationwide. There is a preset timetable that you have to follow. A test missed is a test missed; you cannot reappear online for it. You would lose the chance to get ranked. Yes. It’s structured to that extent. MKCL has put up a system together.

With this MKCL Mastering JEE test series, a complete, comprehensive and systematic study plan is put together. It will not only prepare you for the examination, but also inculcate discipline and a sense of responsibility in you.

Conceptual Distractors

This is one of the most innovative and interesting factors in MKCL Mastering JEE. Lets take a look at the following question and its options now.

“When someone has trouble seeing far-away objects properly, what eye disorder is he/she suffering from?

  1. Myopia
  2. Presbyopia
  3. Hypermetropia
  4. Retinoblastoma”

As you see here, the difference between the options is very fine. Hence it forces the student to be extremely thorough with his/her concepts. It makes the student think before answering.

The basic concept behind conceptual distractors is, the multiple options in the MCQs are conceptually very parallel or alike. It’s a good way to test the conceptual clarity of a student. If a student doesn’t know the concept properly, then he/she is bound to get very confused.

Another indicative example for how the conceptual distractors work is as follows.

Which one of the below is a Chinese, Korean and Japanese national?

Picture1

If you observe clearly, we can see that all the girls in the picture are of Asian ethnicity. But without knowing the subtle details and a deep study of facial features and ethnicities, we just cannot be sure of an answer. This is how Conceptual distractors work.

Detailed GAP Analysis

Putting it simply, an examination tells you how much you scored. For example, a result says “you scored 70%.” But the same result, doesn’t tell you why and how you didn’t score the remaining 30%. It also doesn’t tell you how and what can be done to score those remaining 30%. It doesn’t tell you how you went wrong, what made it a wrong choice. It doesn’t tell you how that could be avoided. Mind you, all this time, we are talking about conventional examinations.

In MKCL Mastering JEE, you get what all the conventional examinations lack. You get a detailed GAP analysis. The GAP analysis tells you where you went wrong, which concepts you need to work upon and how can you improve. The bases for analysis are question wise, topic wise, and subject wise. There is a brief scorecard which tells you the score. More on the detailed GAP analysis in the next article. Keep a watch out.

P.S. If you are still wondering,  #1 is Japanese, #2 is Chinese, #3 is Korean! Have a good day!

MKCL Mastering JEE

You can read the ‘Part 1’ of this article here: https://mkclindia.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/mkcl-mastering-jee/

Preparing for JEE – Part 2

A.   Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

It’s rightly said so. Planning and organizing are the two most important things when it comes to studying with a definitive goal. Acing JEE is a mammoth task by no doubts and that calls for elaborate planning and deliberate execution.

Planning the studying schedule is highly subjective and depends on the capacity and learning style of an individual. But a common approach towards planning should be a one which can be easily measured. Some students plan as per the time they study while some plan on the basis of the subjects or chapters they study. Whichever way convenient, planning needs to be in place.

Another important thing is to prepare a timetable and stick to it. A timetable adds a direction to your efforts. It organizes your studying, makes it easy to see the results, and inculcates discipline.

B.   Focus and Concentration

Now that you have prepared the timetable, it’s time to stick to it. A plan isn’t that good if it’s not executed well. And to execute the study plan and the timetable, you require a great deal of focus and concentration.  Following are the few pointers which will help with the focus and concentration

  1. Choose the time of the study appropriately. Choose a time when it would be quiet and you could study undisturbed.
  2. Take breaks as and when needed. Ideally a break of 5-10 minutes after an hour of concentrated study is acceptable.
  3. Keep applying what you study instantaneously. For example if you learn a few concepts, then apply their formulae and solve a couple problems. That would instantly make you a master in that domain.
  4. Keep all the study material and required stationery handy.
  5. If comfortable, choose to study two subjects in a day. That would help reduce the saturation of knowledge and fatigue, and might even make things more interesting.

Keep the distractions away. Put the mobile phone on silent, switch off that television, and just focus on the subject at hand.

C.   Stress on Basics and Concepts

Basics and Concepts are the actual rock-solid foundation to your knowledge. The application and the instances will be varying at different levels, but the concepts remain the same. Not just thinking from scoring in the JEE point of view, but the concepts will help you in the future as well.

A novel way to get the concepts imbibed in your mind is attentive listening during the lectures. Ask questions at the end of the concept, ask for examples, apply them, and be comfortable working with them. The deeper you go the clearer it shall be.

D.   Stick to the syllabus

Now completely focusing on the goal that is JEE (Mains) 2014, while studying, stick to the syllabus. The concepts and applications are vast and important. But you need to crack the JEE. So efforts must be put in perfecting the prescribed syllabus.

E.   Use the available resources:

What I mean by use the available resources is to completely utilize and exhaust the resources you have. Instead of running behind test series and notes and books, utilize wisely the stuff you already have collected.

F.    Revise

The syllabus is vast, agreed, and even you study your best. But the more you study, there is a possibility that you might lose touch of the topics studied before. Hence, it’s very important for you to revise. Prepare your own revision schedule and stick to it. Make it a point to atleast go through and revise the syllabus you have learnt once in 15 days.

G.  Time Management

The most important factor to any exam preparation is the Time Management. Here, Time Management amounts to two things,

  1. Managing the study timings, and
  2. Managing time while solving the exams

More on this subject in the coming articles. Watch out!

H.  Update yourself

Keeping yourself up to date is very important. Knowledge and information needs to be shared for better planning and strategizing. Become a member at couple of JEE forums, go through the posts, contribute, and be active on that front. Subscribe to various blogs on the subject. Watch out for this blog for updates

I.      Believe in yourself

Lastly, believe in yourself. “If you aspire to crack JEE, and if you believe that you can actually do it, there is nothing stopping you.”

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