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How to restore your focus, momentum and concentration for the upcoming ETEA test?

One thing, I envisage, at this critical moment, is that only those students would stand out and excel in the entrance test who make the best use of these few crucial days left in the conduction of the test, while others doom to fail who find themselves culpable of wasting their precious time. Since the new date is getting closer, this blog would help the students to recompose, organize and motivate themselves and start preparation indigently as it is rightly said that you have to push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.  

The all of a sudden and unexpected postponement of ETEA entrance Test for admission in medical and dental colleges in the province has left the students and aspiring candidates high and dry. In fact, the news of the postponement of the test has provided a short respite, a breather and some moments of relief, excitement and delight for the frustrated students after months of intense toil, hard work and mental fatigue, nevertheless, sooner they realized that their joy was short-lived and their tough time, understandably stressful moments were not yet over.

How to restore concentration?

In the meanwhile, to my utter dismay, the students confided to have started losing their momentum, direction, interest, focus and even concentration. Majority of them have no idea at the back of their mind, how to cope with such a situation, how to organize and recompose themselves, how to restore their energies and how to take a fresh start. And this is indeed a tough ask for all of them.

At this crucial juncture, as there is no counseling available to them, I feel compelled to give some useful tips in this blog to those students how are appearing in the test but lost their focus and momentum due to this ominous and upsetting postponement that was by no means beyond any body’s control, so that they can make good use of their time and remained focused for the rest of few days so that their hard work of the last couple of years do not get wasted.


KMU in collaboration with  ETEA organizes entrance test for admissions in medical and dental colleges in the province each year. As more than 38,000 candidates were supposed to appear in the test at seven different centers in the province at the same time, this year, for which necessary arrangements were put in place several months beforehand.  For the last eight years, the entrance test was conducted in a smooth manner. However, this year, the whole arrangements were devastated by torrential rains coupled with a thunderstorm, the tents were raised to the ground and the test center at Mardan and Kohat were inundated. The university administration tried their level best to put the things back in place at the earliest but due to incessant rain and muddy grounds, it was impracticable to start the test in time. In this emergency situation, the meeting of the Coordination Committee came up with the conclusion to postpone the test for the time being and to announce the new date shortly.

 What should the students really do?

Here are some useful tips in order to put the students back on the track, improve their level of concentration and boost their motivation. This is for sure that some of these wouldn’t work but remember applying new ideas never harm anybody:

  • Take a fresh start

It is important, that the students should bear in mind that the entrance test is inevitable. Whatever may be the circumstances or whatever may be the bottlenecks, they shall have to appear in the test and they have no other option but to make the best preparation for it. Hence, they should take a deep breath, take a fresh start and begin necessary homework with the utmost zeal, passion and commitment.

  • Make study plans for 10, 15 and 20 days

The students should prepare study plans for 10, 15 and 20 days. They should allocate a defined amount of time for each topic, chapter and subject and then allocate some more time for revision and further add to it whenever required. Most of the students miscalculate how long a particular topic will take. It is important for them to set realistic, specific and measurable goals while outlining a study plan and scheduling each revision session.

  • Make brisk notes

Although uncertainty about the final date of the test has been removed, nevertheless, the time is short and fast approaching, the students should take brisk notes of the key concepts and important ideas so that they can summarize and revise those even in an hour or two, a day or two before the test date. Here, the students should put extra efforts as it is said that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra.”

  • Apply syndicate study

Generally regarded as a combined or group study, the practice of syndicate study is more prevalent in the hostels where the roommates or friends get together and discuss some topics for clarification and broadening mutual understanding. The students should make the best use of it these days. Some hostelites consider this as a sheer wastage of time. However, at this point in time, I firmly believe this opportunity can be used to the best advantage of the students.

The students who are not residing in the hostel can also make good use of it by attaching with like-minded students. Here it is important to beware of the distracters. This practice is best for keeping the students motivated, discussing important ideas and concepts, and above all through this activity, the students can help each other by evaluating each other’s level of preparation by means of mock tests and various assessment tools.

  • Make good use of online resources

Online resources remained always handy. Being easily available and readily accessible, it saves precious time in finding material on a particular topic, however, very few of the students make excellent use of it. However, finding the right stuff on the right sites has been cumbersome. Since the paper setters have always the temptation to resort to it, the students should make good use of it during these days when they feel a little distracted. This will help them not in restoring their concentration but will certainly help in opening up new vistas for useful online material. In the upcoming blog, I will share some of the useful online resources in order to keep the students glued to their studies.

  • Make mock test/papers of 200 questions for own self

The students should make their study dynamic and active by transforming information into questions. They should prepare well thought-out questions from a covered topic posing to be examiners testing the student and then attempt its answers. They should make own papers/tests for himself/herself on the pattern of ETEA test having 200 questions. This paper should consist of the most difficult questions he/she assume. Then they start attempting the same paper within the allotted three hours time. This he should attempt several times. With this practice, I am sure they will be able to have a good grasp of at least 200 difficult questions they had set for themselves in the paper/test. They should also try attempting old/ previous papers of ETEA. Beware that they always get bored when they repeat the same thing time and again but they need to overcome the feeling of boredom with a positive frame of mind.

Similarly, students engaged in syndicate study should prepare mock test/papers for each friend in the groups. Similarly, the students who have prepared own mock papers/ tests for himself /herself should share the same with the friends in the group. This would increase the number of questions they could easily understand and attempt.

In a nutshell, the students must take cognizance of the situation, keep themselves on their toes and should put a maximum of efforts in their preparation as in the words of Thomas Edison, “there is no substitute for hard work”.

About Dr Syed Hafeez Ahmad

Having a doctoral degree in human resource management, Dr. Syed Hafeez Ahmad is currently working as Additional Controller of Examinations, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar. He previously served the same university as Additional Registrar. These are mid-career level positions in the university's administration. Besides, he is working in the capacity of a team leader and founder of the Career Development & Research Centre, a startup launched in the Business Incubation Center of Khyber Medical University. He is having more than 18 years of professional experience in academic management with special interest in public sector higher education reforms, sustainability, academic leadership and universities' governance. He is a research blogger, Amazon associate and a YouTuber.

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