Littlethings4all's Blog

A blog for people who love life

(7) Seven steps to pass an exam

By Eddy Montilla.


During my academic years, I remembered that my best moments were when I had to take an exam, something that usually puzzled my classmates because while they were in stony silence and there was mounting anxiety for the test, I was… smiling! And since this idea can be easily open to misinterpretation, let me tell you that I was happy not because I was intelligent (I was not and I am not), well prepared for the exam or because vacations were about to start, but because my classmates and I lived in different realities. The only problem they had was to pass the test, but in my case, I was plagued with problems at that time and to take an exam was the smallest of them, so I had a good reason to be very happy. I had in front of me a problem with two possibilities only: I approved or failed the exam. That’s all. Since you probably share the same reality as my classmates did (fortunately, not mine!), let me give you some specific steps that will help you to pass your exam.

Before your exam

Step 1: Don’t take notes directly on your school notebook or computer


     Inside your classroom, there are a lot factors that lead to distraction or mistakes: Time is limited, the beautiful girl at your side, etc. If you take notes directly on your notebook about what is written on the blackboard or your teacher says, you might take mistakes with you too, mistakes that you will probably not check later and will consider them exact data. Besides, by transcribing your notes later at home, you will be reviewing your lessons day by day without even realizing it. This idea is excellent, especially if you find it hard to study every day. As for computers, students rely on them more than ever. However, to take notes directly on your computer might not be a good idea because it might interfere with your ability to remember information. You are just typing and don’t have time to think, but when you take notes by hand, your limitations to write at the same speed as your teacher speaks force you to listen carefully and take the most important ideas. During this process, you are learning.

Step 2: Increase your energy levels


     To do well in your exam will require all your powers of concentration and sustained mental effort, and that means energy consumption. Have a good breakfast and, if possible, a piece of chocolate or something before your test “for fuel”. For those who usually have butterflies in their stomach when they take a test, a cup of green tea or coffee is acceptable (only for university students).

Step 3: Do not study minutes prior to your exam


     Except for something really important, like a piece of information that you forgot and could have strong and negative impact on your grades, keep your hand away from your notebook. What you could not learn in six months will not be memorized in two minutes. If you browse through your book to make sure that you “remember everything”, you will be confused because your mind cannot give you an answer as quickly as you browse through your notebook and that would only serve to make you feel nervous. Try to laugh, read o remember a funny story, so that you can be in better position to receive the test.

Step 4: Read your exam first

     It is not a waste of time, as many people say. By reading the test first, you will know exactly where to begin, how to allocate your time and you will know well where to tread too. Those who say: “I start from the first question and if I cannot answer it, I go to the next one” usually end up losing time and getting anxious because they don’t remember what questions they answered, what questions are left and how to use their time properly.

Step 5: Plan how to answer your questions


     Start from the easiest topics first. Then look at your watch and divide the minutes that are left into the questions you are not answered yet. If you have a multiple choice test, remember that one question has not connection with the topic. Another answer can be ruled out without much effort. Then, you only have to deal with two possible answers, that is, you have 50 per cent already! If you have to answer a question with a lot of details, you should begin with the most important facts in the first paragraph: who, when, where, why, etc., and if you don’t remember some information, you have another ace to play: “pad the test out” with general ideas.

Step 6: Trust yourself rather than your classmates

     Don’t cheat on a test. By doing so, you will stoop pretty low. The most intelligent students sit usually near the teacher because they do not want to be distracted or asked during a test. So, the other students around you are in the same situation as you are. There is no point in asking them this or that question. Trust
yourself and gradually you will gain confidence for future exams.

Step 7: Control your emotions


     A lot of mistakes that we made during an exam are the result of anxiety, the feeling of nervousness that examinations produce and physical and mental fatigue after long hours studying for the test. Take a deep breath from time to time and do your best to maintain serenity because pressure makes us forget even the easiest things in a test.

     Finally, remember that a test is just a piece of paper with questions and topics. It is neither more nor less than that. A test does not necessarily reflect your ability to do this or that or your knowledge. I know a lot of students who do well in a language exam, for example, but cannot start a simple conversation using the language they are studying despite their grades. Study to learn and have fun and you will see that to pass the exam will become easier.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, coaching, Education, Family, general knowledge, Inspiration, Journalism, Life, Opinion, Personal Experience, Personal Motivation, Social, Think piece, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your question; my answer: Who are the saddest people in the world?

By Eddy Montilla.


Those who bring happiness to the others by making them laugh, but don’t have anyone who can do the same for them.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, coaching, Life, Love, Opinion, Perseverance, Personal Experience, Personal Motivation, philosophy, Phrase, Quotes, Spirituality, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought of the day: Money and culture

By Eddy Montilla.


An uncultured, but rich man is like a star without brightness, windows that are misted up. A wise man without money is to do things by halves.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, coaching, Inspiration, Life, Opinion, Personal Experience, Personal Motivation, philosophy, Phrase, Quotes, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curiosities: Why do whales live in water if they are mammals?

By Eddy Montilla.


Most kinds of mammals don’t lay eggs, give birth to live young and produce milk to feed them. They are warm-blooded and air-breathing and live on land. The whale belongs to this group, but lives in the water. Why?

     Whales, in the beginning, were land mammals, but observe that these animals are very big and need, therefore, tons of food to live. This pressing need forced them to spend more time near mouths or go to the sea looking for more food: fish and shellfish. In order to facilitate the process of surfacing for air, mutations moved whale noses farther and farther back to a point that they are located today on their backs. So, whales evolved to live in water through a process of natural selection in order to satisfy their need for food.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Anatomy, animals, Articles, biology, Blogging, Curiosities, Education, Journalism, zoology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tanabata festival in Sendai: You see it and never forget it

By Eddy Montilla.

Every year, when August arrives, more than two million visitors from all over Japan and international tourists go to Sendai (capital city of Miyagi Prefecture) to enjoy Tanabata, one of the three great festivals of the region.


     The station and the city’s shopping arcades are decked out in thousands of colorful streamers made of Japanese traditional paper (washi). The biggest and most striking ornaments are usually in the shopping arcades of the city. However, Tanabata decorations can be seen in different streets and buildings. In general, local shops prepare these decorations every year, but schools and other institutions and organizations participate too.


     The decorations have on the top an ornamental ball called kusudama and streamers that are between three and five meters long.


     These impressive decorations are hung from ten meter long bamboo poles.


     Seven different small ornaments attached to the main one make Tanabata decorations in Sendai something exceptional. These decorations are paper crane, net, paper kimono, purse, trash bag, paper strips and, of course, the streamers. Each of them has special meaning and symbolizes people‚Äôs wishes and prayers for a particular situation. For example, the crane means prayers for long life and good health, the purse for successful business, etc.



     Tanabata festivals (also called the Star Festival) are held across Japan in July 7th, but because of the use of different calendars, it is held in August in Sendai. Its origin dates back to more than 2,000 years ago when, according to a Chinese romantic legend of a princess (Orihime) and a young man (Hikoboshi). They fell in love each other and were very happy. Orihime was very good at weaving and made fine clothes, but the princess did not pay attention to her work and his father, the emperor Tentei, decided to separate them and he decreed, as punishment, that the couple would only be allowed to see each other on one night each year: On the seventh day of the seventh month, the moment when two stars, Altair and Vega, cross paths.

Things to see and do

     The Sendai Tanabata Festival is held from August 6th to 8th every year. However, what it really marks the start of the festival is a spectacular fireworks display held a night prior to the festival (August 5th). With thousands of fireworks set off from the shores of the Hirose River, this is something worth seeing. It starts around 7:00 p.m., but since people come flocking into town to see the fireworks, it is advisable to be earlier if you want to get a good and delightful spot.


     You can also taste traditional Japanese food and sweets since a lot of food vendors and temporary food stands are there for this especial occasion.


     And do not forget…


     An umbrella!! Yes, it happens every single year: It always rains during the festival. Fortunately, it is not intense rain and it will clear up after a couple of hours.


     Good festivals are tested by time. Tanabata festival passed the exam with good grades many years ago. If you want to experience something really good, one of your destinations might be Sendai and its Tanabata festival.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Articles, Arts, Blogging, Countries, Culture, Journalism, Life, Travel, trip, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curiosities: What is the biggest animal in the world?

By Eddy Montilla.

Because of all my mistakes that I make every day, I had my doubts on the subject, but now I can sleep peacefully knowing that I am not the biggest animal in the world. It is the blue whale, the largest existing animal today and the largest animal ever known to have lived on Earth. This animal can measure up to 30 meters in length and weigh about 200 tons. Even at birth, blue whales are already among the largest animals if you take into consideration that during the first months, a blue calf can approximately drink 400 liters of milk every day and it also grows and gains weight quickly, as much as 90 kilograms every 24 hours. Due to its size, any part of its body is big. For example, its tongue (around three tons) can weigh as much as an Asian elephant. Despite its size, it is interesting to note that blue whales live almost exclusively on tiny animals called krill. They can eat up to 4 tons of krill in a single day.

     Finally, the blue whale is not as blue as it looks inside de water. Actually, on the surface its coloring is more a mottled blue-gray. It is estimated that blue whales can live for at least 90 years, but taking into consideration that they are animals in danger of extinction, the damage caused by man to the environment and the predatory hand of man, I wonder whether they can reach that age these days.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | animals, Articles, Blogging, Culture, Curiosities, Education, Journalism, Knowledge, natural science(s), zoology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Poems of Love: No more

By Eddy Montilla.


I am left with a feeling of sadness whenever I talk to you,

something like the bitter taste of a kiss without love.

I am left with memories that, in my mind, are reluctant to become past

and walk freely tormenting me in silence

by repeating things that I know already, things that I’ve heard in the past:

“When you are not here, I can still see you

and when you are… I wish I could run away.

There is a fire inside me that flares up over the years,

undying love that refuses to be nothing

and rises from the ashes despite the rain, despite the hail.

A strange wind blows whenever I think of you.

It puts me in a thoughtful frame of mind

and I don’t know what to do…

It does not move the curtains; it does not move the leaves…

And it draws silhouettes that don’t coincide with my reality:

Happy couples walking hand in hand,

or doves making love at the park.

It is true. It makes me see things that I don’t want to see,

things that I want to forget.

It makes me repeat a name that I don’t want to hear.

Please, run, run after your dreams

because I only want to stay here,

loving life, loving you.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Articles, Arts, Blogging, Inspiration, Journalism, Literature, Love, Poems, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought of the day: Comparison

By Eddy Montilla.


To compare in order to improve as a person is the only acceptable comparison that we can draw. Except for that purpose, it would be a simple act of vanity or an arrow that will hurt you or will hurt the others.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, coaching, Education, Family, Inspiration, Journal, Journalism, Life, Opinion, Personal Experience, Personal Motivation, philosophy, Quotes, Spirituality, Think piece, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Good Laugh: To be drowned or to hang oneself?

By Eddy Montilla.


A drunk was walking over a bridge when heard shouts coming from the river. He looked down and saw a man trying to keep his body afloat and yelling: “A rope, please, a rope!”

     The drunk, then, looked at him as if he were an idiot and responded: “That’s what I call a real as…hole! If you are almost drowned already, why do you want to hang yourself?”

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Blogging, Fun, humor, Jokes, laugh | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do Russia and China really want from Latin America?

By Eddy Montilla.

In general, if a hungry shark comes closer to a small fish, you can consider its dinner as the main reason. Many people in Latin America have seen the United States as a shark that wants to swallow them. Now that the Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping visited that region, it is, in my opinion, a propitious time to ask these people the following question: If the United States is a shark, how about Russia and China? Are they beautiful goldfish? Are they carps in a majestic Japanese garden or perhaps playful dolphins jumping out of the water? No, sir.

     In the present circumstances, the United States might not be the best trading partner for some countries in the region, but they should not be under the illusion that Russia and China are the allies that the region needs. Vladimir Putin went there looking for more international support, especially after the increasing diplomatic isolation and sanctions that were imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine conflict. As for China, this country desperately needs commodities at low prices to keep its economic production at the highest level. Chinese firms are buying and leasing agricultural land in Africa. Latin America is the other region where China can get raw materials at low prices to make products that will be sold in the same region at high prices. Any help that these Latin American countries can receive from Russia or China today, in a short or long run, it might turn out to be a headache because of the wide disparity in terms of economic position.

     Latin American countries will find solutions to their problems when they learn to work together and trust each other, when they learn that their economic growth should mainly come from themselves. With all respect that they deserve, those who think that their countries in Latin America will have a great future with Russia and China as top trading partners could be making a great mistake. Russia and China are big fish and big fish don’t usually eat each other. But you know better than I what a big fish usually does when it meets a small one.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2014 All rights are reserved.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Articles, Blogging, Countries, Economics, Journal, Journalism, News, Opinion, philosophy, Phrase, Politics, Think piece | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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