Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Improving Marks in Board Exams is no Big Deal Now

Students across the world feel the exam pressure and the stress related to it. It is especially more in our country as it’s not just exams but the dreaded CBSE board exams, which come with a persistent parental pressure of performing well. If I were to decide, I would banish the concept of exams from the world! But schools aren’t going to get rid of board exams any time soon, hence students might as well learn to deal with them as calmly and effectively as possible. Following are five great ways for you to improve your board exam performance:

1. Planning is a must, planning comes first.
Most of the students just tell themselves that they’ll study as much as possible for the board exams, and then they’ll- “hope for the best.” Well truly this isn’t a wise approach. See your exam like taking on an important project, like building a bridge! Can you start building a bridge without first coming up with a plan? Can you just begin construction and “hope for the best”? No right? In a similar way, it is important to outline a strategy for how you’ll get ready for an exam. Here are some questions to consider as you devise your plan:
  • When will you start preparing for the board exams?
  • How many hours each day/week will you block out for studies?
  • Which topics do you need to emphasize on?
  • How many mock exam papers will you solve?
  • How many times will you revise the entire portion?
  • What distractions are you likely to face and how will you overcome them?
An important saying goes like- ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’. So make sure you have a plan for every exam you take, be it a CBSE class X exam or class XII exam!

  1. Compromising on sleep is compromising on your optimal efforts.
Normally all exams are scheduled for the morning. If you would revise till late at night, you would feel very sleepy in the morning. Thus, start sleeping earlier at least one week before so that your body will have time to adjust. Else, your mind won’t be in an optimal state to give your best in the board exams. Getting enough sleep is vital if you want to improve your memory and mental focus. Though it is tempting to stay up late, but in most cases this might prove counter- productive. So perform your best after an adequate rest.

3. Last- minute mugging right before the exam is a big no- no.
It’s common for students to spend the 10 minutes before an exam doing some last-minute revision. This may provide some psychological reassurance, but overall it does more harm than good. With just few minutes to a paper, you either know the required information or you do not. If you frantically review facts or formulae during this time, you will become more stressed and anxious, which would ultimately negatively affect your performance. So rather, make use of the time before the start of the exam to relax. Take a deep breath. Be confident, as you have done a good planning and prepared methodically.

4. Gita says- Do the work, without thinking its consequences.
Thinking about the results while you are preparing, or writing board exam should not happen. When professional athletes perform in crunch time— like, when they hit the game- the winning shot, what do you think goes through their mind? You might expect them to think something like “How the crowd would react if they missed the shot”. But they would rarely say anything like that. They would normally say “I just took the shot the same way I’ve taken it thousands of times before in practice.” So, it’s this focus on the process, and not the outcome, which allows a person to achieve better results. This means, instead of feeling “I must ace this exam”, you should instead, concentrate on staying calm, thinking positive and being focussed.

5. Know and use the best exam- taking techniques.
Sometimes you might know all, but still board exams would seem like a horror. This happens when you’re not equipped with the necessary exam- taking skills and thus you end up not getting the grades you were hoping for. Here are some basic exam- taking techniques:
  • Be familiar with the structure of the exam. It’s important to know the answers to the questions like:
o   How many sections will the exam have?
o   Will there be multiple- choice questions, open- ended questions, tricky questions, lengthy questions etc.?
o   Would there be negative marks?

  • Use a stopwatch- During an exam, every second counts. Using a stopwatch will help you to keep track of the time more accurately. For example, if you have 50 minutes to complete a 50 marks exam, then ideally you have one minute per mark. So, if, after 10 minutes, you’ve still not done 10 questions, it’s time to speed up. Practice with stopwatch when you are solving mock papers. Some sections maybe lengthier than others, so you will be mentally prepared.

  • If you get stuck, move on- If you’re unable to solve a problem, don’t fret. Instead of lingering on it and wasting time, move. Maintain your composure and go on to the next question. When you’ve completed the rest of the exam, revise, and come back to the unfinished problems.

No matter how much you dislike examinations, they’re part and parcel of student life! But by following the five tips listed above, it can be hoped that the next exam you take will be an enjoyable experience with a happy outcome! All the best!

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