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Dealing with the pressure of university admission tests

Md Zarif Tajwar Shihab | Published: September 04, 2019 22:20:36 | Updated: September 12, 2019 00:06:54


A partial view of Dhaka University, a dream institution to many admission seekers in the country

University admission season is arguably one of the most stressful and pivotal parts in a student's life. Academic and career dreams are realised or broken based on how a student performs in these tests. As this year's university admission tests draw closer, there are some things all candidates should be aware of.

A month prior to tests, all students face limitations of both time and learning capacity. This period calls for careful utilisation of all resources. Shanjida Hossain, a second year student at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Dhaka University says, “Studying a whole array of books just one month before the admission test is not a wise thing to do. You need to be selective about the preparation you take and the books you consult. If possible, talk to a senior or a current/graduate student of the relevant institution and ask for advice regarding the materials for last moment preparation. Then divide your time accordingly and make sure you allot a significant amount of time per day. Also, don't forget to take care of your health and make sure to get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet for fuelling your effort.”

Studying smart right before admission tests increases knowledge retention, and keeps the student primed up for facing the tests.

SM Hossain who got chance in several prestigious institutions like DU Computer Science and Engineering Department, IBA-DU and BUET Mechanical Engineering states, “The first and arguably the most vital step in preparing for the admission tests is to gauge as accurately as possible, one's strengths and weaknesses. If you know what you have, you can figure out what you need.” Through the course of admission preparation a student learns about his or her abilities. Within three months most people complete the test syllabus and become aware of the usual question pattern. Hence, students should be well aware of their strong and weak points prior to the entrance tests, and they should ideally work on their weak links and further strengthen strong areas based on the content of past papers. This exercise helps to make their preparation as holistic as possible.

Overconfidence is a killer. For students who are well-prepared and confident at the end of three months, slacking off during the last month can be catastrophic. Admission tests are a race, so do not stop running until you are done with your tests, otherwise someone will overtake you and take your seat in your preferred university. DU Finance student Mostafa Ishmam shares his experience, “I was really well-prepared for my DU IBA admission test. But during the last month, I got complacent as my mock performances were good without exerting further effort. Additionally, I had the cushion of DU Finance to fall back on. This attitude at the end cost me heavily as I could not succeed when it really mattered and missed the opportunity to study in my desired institution.”

The daunting volume of competition, huge syllabus, and unsatisfactory mock exam performances, along with various other factors make some students lose hope right before the tests. Jannatun Nujhat Oeshi, a current business student and university admission preparation instructor who also got opportunity for admission into the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) of BUET, says, “Many students work very hard for the first three months of the admission season but at the last month many of them get frustrated and stop studying hard. I have seen many potential students who couldn't get into their desired institutions just because of this negligence at the last moment. You have already learnt what you needed to. The last month should be ideally utilised by revising the lectures and doing exercises. If you can keep the patience and keep working hard like the previous months, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.”

And finally students should try and appear as many mock tests as possible, regardless of whether they are prepared for it. A real exam experience is much more effective to prepare for that one admission test you are targeting. Success in these sessions will boost confidence and also produce back-up options in case something goes wrong in the admission test for the target university. Not performing well in an admission test that you did not prepare for will not falter your confidence.

Islamic University of Technology (IUT) CSE student Ahemd Al Fayad who also cracked the other admission tests says, “Although your prime focus will be on one stream of tests, apply to all institutions that you're eligible for. There's a massive sense of satisfaction and achievement when you get opportunity for admission into multiple schools and can choose the best one, with a smile etched in your face, as if to say, 'I won'.”

The writer is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at
zariftajwar4@gmail.com

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