Scientific approach to preparation has become imperative to ace any competitive examination and hard work simply will not land you a job which is why research is being carried out on teaching skills, education and learning methods to understand scientific ways for textbook reading, memorising, note taking and effective reviewing.Once you embark on following these study tips, you will have enhanced efficiency and gain competitive skills.Here are a few scientific study skills which will assist you attain success in Civil Services Examination:1. Get into the right mood like Pavlov’s dogPavlov conducted a classical conditioning experiment on dogs where dogs started salivating as soon as they heard the bell ring in anticipation of food which brings us to a very important conclusion and can be successfully applied with your studies as well. If same subject is studied at the same time and same place, your brain makes the association and gets trained accordingly.Later on, you just have to follow the clock and you will get in the mood to study the subject within 10 minutes. It will even work like a charm for subjects you hate or dislike.2. Shorter study sessions work better than marathon sessionsNow, it’s an established fact that students learn as much in one-hour session spread over four days as they grasp in one six-hour marathon session. It means that students could cut their study time by at least 30 per cent by employing a well-planned study schedule or timetable. When you opt to study for less time, your brain functions better due to imposed time restriction.advertisementMost of the candidates who have got through the Civil Services Examination are being reported saying that they are able to cram much more a day before exam than a regular day. Research reveals that during study breaks, mind remains engaged in absorbing whatever you have learned without making any conscious effort.So, experts recommend that you should not study for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch when you are trying to learn the names of countries and their capitals, dates and events, math formulae or foreign language.3. Sync your school timetable and home study scheduleWhen a topic is covered in a coaching centre, civil services aspirants should study it as soon as they get back home. Revising the topic and preparing revision notes can immensely help them. It has also been noticed that quickly memorising questions, learning diagrams and brushing up facts just before examination greatly help.4 Smart work is better than hard workYou would have heard top honchos from the corporate world saying that smart work is better than hard work. It is applicable for students preparing for competitive examinations as well. Alertness of your mind and attention you pay to the subject matters more than the time you spend on it.There are many strategies employing which you can keep yourself alert including:Minimise distractions. It is better to study 2-3 hours in a quiet place than 10 hours of studying with noise of TVLikewise, it is wise to start with boring or most difficult subject when you are fully alert and pick up most interesting or easier subject when you are feeling downTo re-orient your brain, it is better to take a 10-minute break and reward yourself for work done.5. Do not study when you are sleepyEverybody feels sleepy at a particular time and feels like not studying anything. Attempting to study at that time is total waste of time. Most of us get slothful after having lunch.Similarly, for some of us studying early in the morning can be too painful.6. Do not schedule similar subjects one after anotherYou get interference, when there is not enough space between radio waves.Likewise, brain waves need to be spaced out too. It has been noticed that clubbing similar subjects together is not as effective as putting contrasting subjects one after another.For instance, studying Physics after Mathematics might not be a good idea. It is advisable to sandwich English or History Literature in between.7. Note taking in class:Making scientific notes is vitally important and hold the key to your success in the competitive examination. Make a habit to underline the ideas that are described important by concerned lecturer. Also, you should write down common mistakes your teacher tells you about as ‘#points’.Similarly, you may write sentences that start with ‘in essence’ and ‘therefore’ in a separate line as they are often the summary of what has been taught in class.advertisement8. Textbook reading method that actually works – OK4ROK4R method devised by Dr. Walter Pauk can assist you pack more information through power reading. Here is how you go about it:O for Overview: In the first glance, just read headings, sub-headings, introductory paragraph, and the summary at the end of the chapter K for Key ideas: Now, it is advisable to go back to the beginning of the chapter and try to skim through the key ideasR1 for reading the chapter or the topic from beginning to end: Now, since you already understand what is being discussed, go through the entire chapter and see full explanation of the ideas that have been presented and how they have been explained.R2 for Recall: Now, put your book aside and pen down major points of what you have gone through and prepare your notes in few words or sentences.It will take a minute or two, but doubles up retention time of the topic you are studyingR3 for Reflect: Now, since you have kept the material in the storage units of your memorychew over it and try to find significance of what have been read and its relationship with other topics you have learntR4 for Review or Revision: On weekends, you can test yourself on what you have learned throughout the week. Quizzes and tests might help you go through your notes again. These time-to-time revisions or reviews help you retain the information forever.9. Color your booksNeat books are linked with good student, it may indicate that they may be ‘unused’. You can colour dates and numbers in blue, main ideas in red, and supporting facts in Yellow. Also, mark stars, boxes, circles and hash in margins, wherever required, to make revisions easier.10. Refresh button:It is essential to take breaks and relax during your hectic study timetable. Use this time to watch a movie, play a sport, listen to some songs or rejuvenate yourself.-With inputs from Mr. AK Mishra, Managing Director and Founder of Chanakya IAS Academy Read: 6 famous museums around the world for book lovers Read: These funny engineering memes are sure to make you laugh For more details, follow India Today Education or you can write to us at [email protected] .