Dr. Arun Mittal
Learning is broadly of two types –‘for knowledge’ and for ‘scoring marks’ in the academic exams. However, both are important in education. But when it comes to the board exams ‘scoring marks’ probably becomes more important because the Indian education systems (especially while giving admissions to the students in undergraduate courses) largely depends upon 10+2 marks for traditional courses and upon entrance exams for engineering, medical and other professional courses. Learning for marks and learning for knowledge have always been an issue of debate for long.
In the above context, I find students, parents and even teachers in the dilemma, when it comes to the prioritization of a particular ‘learning type’. However most of us work more towards ‘learning for scoring marks’ and frankly, there is no harm in it, because any student throughout the year gains a lot for knowledge from classrooms lectures, assignments, projects and other activities. So, its ok to let him learn to score marks now, in the last 2-3 months.
Preparation for exams is not only critical for students but also for their parents. In fact, everyone knows what to learn but only a few know how to learn. With the help of an in-depth analysis on this issue, I have found three strategies for effective preparation of board exams namely Time Management, In-depth Learning & Revision and Focus.
Consider time as money and allocate it to your subjects. Time should not be counted in number of days or months like 90 days or 3 months, rather it should be counted in total number of working hours. Working hours are those which are productively devoted to the study e.g. five hours a day (in addition to the time spent in the school but including tuition or coaching time). So, you have 450 hours in 90 days, which is the maximum time with to prepare for all your subjects (five-six subjects in total). Now, allocate this time to the individual subjects as per their nature. Mathematics, Accountancy and Physics etc. may be more time consuming as compared to the other subjects like English, Business Studies and Economics etc. The benefit of Time Management is that whenever you waste time you immediately realize that you working hours are decreasing.
In-depth learning and revision
Question papers at this level normally contain very few elementary questions. Most of the questions are asked in-depth and also in a widespread manner. Hence, ‘not preparing’ some portion of a chapter is as risky as the ‘not preparing the whole chapter itself’.
In-depth learning and revision is done in three phases – In the first phase, learn all the chapters thoroughly. In second phase revise all the chapters so thoroughly that not even a single problem remains unattended and in the third phase do a final revision. The time allocation in first, second and third phase may be 50%, 30% and 20% of the total time allocated to that subject. Learning in first phase includes the problem solving with hands on experience and cramming the critical definitions. The second phase completes a revision and the solutions of the problems which were left unsolved problems in the first phase. This phase includes a quick revision of all the chapters and testing your learning at fingertips’. In this phase, while revising, close your eyes and test whether you have memorized the important definitions, steps of the processes and other critical points.
Focus basically helps in the effective implementation of Time Management and In-depth Learning. Planning loses its meaning without proper execution. That is why focus is the most important strategies out of the three strategies discussed here. Focus helps in two ways: One, it ensures that the time budgeted for study is used only for study and second, it makes your learning effective by lowering distraction and improving concentration.
Students are confused with ‘use of breaks’ during the study. Most of the students use break time to play games, watch movies or videos, however these are not the best ways of entertainment during the exams. There are two types of activities generally done for entertainment and rest – Addictive activities and Non-Addictive activities. Games and Movies are bit addictive and they may lead to increase the time of break taken during preparation. Non- Addictive activities are walking, taking a power nap, light exercise and like. These activities will not lure you to increase your break time and your preparation regime will remain unaffected.
In a nutshell, the proposed three-fold programme, if implemented, will ensure a successful preparation for the board exams.
Finally, stay away from your cell phone while preparing. No whatsapp is going to tell you that the world will end in next few minutes. No Facebook notification is going to change your destiny all of a sudden and not call or message is going to make such a big difference in your life. So stay planned, learn thoroughly, and be focused.
All the best!
Dr Arun Mittal is a Motivational Speaker and Author of celebrated book I Can… I Will.
He can be contacted at 09873957205