Here are my ABCs that will gear up students for the tough season ahead even as the examinations inch closer. These exhortations are given in a random order so that they would orderly fit an A-G acronym. Some of the exhortations are supported by an incident in the life of the most brilliant student we get to meet in the entire Bible—Paul. Here they are:
ATTEMPT questions for all the marks in your exam paper. If we don’t even attempt to answer all questions we are showing contempt towards God who loves to bless any honest effort. If your efforts were zero then even if God multiplied it a million times it would be still a zero! Before Paul achieved anything for Jesus we read that he tried to “attempt” things for Jesus (Acts 9:26).
BURN the midnight oil. Chances are that for some unavoidable reasons you have started dusting your textbooks just before the exam season. What do you do then? There is only one answer: burn the midnight oil and sacrifice sleep. If you can stay up late or get up early to watch live cricket action out of Australia and New Zealand then surely you CAN do the same for the sake of your studies. You must! If Paul had a task to complete he would not mind tossing aside sleep (2 Cor 6:5; 11:27).
CONCENTRATE when it comes to doing well in exam. What matters most is how much concentration you put in your studies and not just how long you study. It is about quality rather than mere quantity. It is about how deep you can go into your subject. Forget your friends for some time. Turn off the TV for a while. You can catch up on the latest Cricket action little later. Concentrate. Paul was quite adept at that. He wrote, “I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross” to the Corinthians (1 Cor 2:2).
DIVIDE equal time to answer each question you know the answer for. You may know the solutions for all the problems printed in your Maths paper. But solving them on the answer sheet will only give you the marks due to you. Because Paul was a good time- manager, he could confidently tell the folks at the Ephesus church to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16).
ENJOY the entire exam season. Don’t think of them as a “necessary evil.” When I was in Bible School, some of my most enjoyable times were the exam times. Boy, it was fun! You see, your mind will never entrap what it never enjoys. Paul taught young Timothy about a “God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy”—your God and my God (1 Tim 6:17). If God has provided us “with everything to enjoy,” the word “everything” includes most definitely studying and examinations!
FEAR the Lord because that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7). Doing daily devotions even during exam time, praying before you start to study or before you start to write an exam, refusing to copy, etc are pragmatic ways you show the fear of God amidst an increasingly God-defying generation of students. Paul was a stand-out student in Gamaliel’s school before he met Christ, before he had the fear of the Lord. But guess what? He confesses that all that he accomplished outside of a relationship with Christ was “rubbish” (Phil 3:8).
GOOFING UP in one exam paper does not mean you are no good in that subject or that all is over. It just means you should work more hard in the same. Just a little more! So don’t give up! If that subject is Chemistry you will do well to write out the complex equations a dozen times before the exam, instead of flipping through them as you perhaps did. If that subject is Maths you would do yourself a world of good by solving the problems step by step instead of reading the already solved problem like it was an Enid Blyton’s Novel! Forget what happened in that exam and face the other exams with a fresh mind. Paul’s counsel is relevant here: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3:13).
I could take you till we reach Z. But I guess you’ve to return to your study room…!
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing De Google Generation 4m Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people supported by Indian who are blessed by his writings/messages. Find out more about this ministry by liking www.facebook.com/googleduke).