Updated October 2022.
Preparing for the board exam may be one of the most daunting tasks for any practitioner of any field. A lot of students face various difficulties when preparing for the board exams so here are some practical tips that we have gathered over the years of listening to board passers.
Practical Tip #1: Change in Mindset
A lot of things need to change for you to cross the gap between a student to professional. And you can start with changing your mindset. This is maybe the easiest to do but it is also the change that needs the most repetition until you master it.
Mindset is defined as “the established set of attitudes held by someone.” Currently, most of your attitude is that of a student since you have been training as a student for the past years. We are not saying that you will stop being a student but you need to become a better more proactive student. That is if you still aren’t.
Change in Preparation Mindset: From Exam to a Career
The first thing that you need to know is that you are not just preparing for an exam. The reality is you are actually preparing to become a professional in your specific field. Passing the boards means you change or mature from being a student to someone capable of upholding the quality standards. The board exam is just the opening of a whole new career for you.
If you prepare for that whole lifestyle change and not just for the boards, your retention will improve. You will start thinking of ways how to take in the learning and how to apply them long-term instead of simply retaining them to answer questions.
Monday Mindset: From Burden to Blessing
Successful board passers and accomplished professionals see Mondays as a great day to start pursuing more steps to reach their dreams. They rise up to Mondays with purpose and vigor while most students look at Mondays as a burden that brings an end to the past weekend.
How you spend your waking moments especially on Mondays determines a lot of where the rest of your week will go. If you want to be productive, start doing that on a Monday morning.
Practical Tip #2: Change in Activities
Change in mindset is just the start to being a full-pledge professional. The activities that you plan and do on a daily/weekly basis should undergo evolution to match your evolution from student to professional.
Create a Study Plan.
You probably have to spend 5-years finishing your current course. It does not mean you will have another 5 to prepare for its board exams. Since you don’t have a whole lot of time to prepare, what you need is to create a study plan.
A study plan will help you target specific topics that you have difficulty in thus increasing your chances of passing the boards. (NB: We have outlined the steps in creating a study plan in another post.) What you need to know for now is that if you don’t deliberately plan to study specific topics you are actually not preparing your mind to learn those easily. Making a study plan helps to not only open your mind about certain topics it also helps your mind to anticipate and accept any learning easier that will be given to you in those areas.
Weekly Goal: Mastery of a topic
Part of your study plan should be to master if not be really comfortable with a certain topic in your boards. This way, with every week that passes by, you gain traction and a steady accumulation of knowledge in the totality of your field.
Create a rest plan.
When planning what to study, make sure that you also plan strategically on taking breaks and rests within those days and weeks. A short break will prove very useful in making you physically and mentally fit for the long haul.
A rest plan can help you to ease your mind on specific minutes, hours, and days in the week. If you already have a plan on what to do on those breaks, you will feel lesser anxiety when those rest moments will come.
Even God rested on the 7th day, so should you. The purpose of rest is not only to take a breather but to take time to appreciate the beauty of your growth. When the mind is rewarded like that, it becomes more efficient in gaining more knowledge.
Practical Tip #3: Change in Habits
The changes in your activities should eventually create useful and fruitful results for you. Make sure to turn those little successful activities into habits.
It was said that it takes 30-days of repetition to create a habit and 30-days of no repetition to destroy one. So as you try to continue becoming a professional, make sure to start creating habits that help you maintain a professional standing.
Make reading your books a habit. Starting now.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a board exam passer – you really have to read. A lot.
All engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and fields with professional licensure examinations will tell you that in one way or another, they have mastered a certain book. And that is at a minimum. So do not wait for the final months to do that. Make reading your book a habit starting now. (NB: Chemical Engineers know for a fact that even if Perry has a lot in store, it won’t open itself to the right page without the right knowledge of its owner.)
Start the habit of knowing the buzz.
After board exams when you will become a professional, no one will be telling you of specific changes and updates to certain standards. You need to be updated with the latest on your own.
So you might want to start subscribing to content specific to your fields from respective sources over the internet. Know the latest global advancements in technologies that your field will use.
Research and join groups that talk about updates to local standards and applications. Not only will that information be useful in your line of work later on but they also are a few points that will come out of your board exams.
Do you have any more tips that you use to prepare and pass the board exams? Share it with us on the comments below and we might just feature you in our next blogs.
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