We’re well on our way to the middle of February and the examination season next month. Students who will be writing the all-important Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Board Class 12 exams have started studying in right earnest, planning out all sorts of strategies to master all subjects and get good scores.
Many of you wondering how best you can utilise this (almost) one-month period between the exams can check out the smart study routines of Abhishek Sahoo, Manish Soni, Mayank Singh Rathore, Shubham Nain and Tushaar A Madhu, Class 12 students who will be sitting for the exam this year.
Sahoo of Bal Bharti Public School Dwarka does not have a time table as he “does not require one.” His aim is to do smart, effective work. He selects one subject and goes through it thoroughly and diligently for five consecutive days. After that, he solves mock test papers exactly as if he were sitting in the examination hall just to get used to the process. “After completing the test I recheck answers and correct the wrong ones,” Sahoo says.
Soni of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini finished his syllabus by the first week of February. He will now start solving the CBSE sample papers which are available on websites for all streams: arts, science and commerce. Solving sample papers helps as these are based on Board exams and give students “a feel of what the Board papers are going to be like.”
For Rathore of Sarla Chopra DAV Public School Noida the most important thing at this time is to clear concepts of each and every subject followed by adequate revision. He starts studying early by 5.30 am and continues doing so for as long as possible. After a short break, he then devotes two hours each to each subject. “I believe more in quality over quantity and make the effort to put in six to eight hours of study covering all chapters,” he says.
Tushaar A Madhu of Tagore International School in Vasant Vihar is keeping things simple. He’s doing a thorough revision of his NCERT textbooks. “I have my tuitions, but am concentrating solely on NCERT and NCERT notes. Once you revise the examples and exercise I think you are done with 80 to 85% of the Board syllabus and will be able to attempt most of the questions,” he says. Madhu also follows a 25-minute- 4-minute rule for an intense study session. “Study for 25 minutes without any distractions, keep a timer on your phone, look at the watch, do not do anything except study. Then take a four to five minute break and get back to studies. The intensity with which you study is going to help you, not the hours you spend on a chair. You need to have focused intensity, focused study,” he advises.
Nain, also from Mount Abu Public School, gives two hours each every day to “main subjects like math, physics and chemistry.” English and options get one hour each.
Sahoo studies in the morning though he’s up once in a while for up to 1 am or 2 am. However, he makes sure he gets to sleep for seven to eight hours after an all-night schedule. “Managing sleep is my fitness mantra,” he says.
Soni’s a night bird who loves to study after sundown. One should study when one’s concentration levels are high. “To me it’s at night. I love to study in the late hours when there’s no disturbance, noise, nothing – just me and my books,” he says.
Madhu is a morning person. He figures out that if he has to write the Board examinations in the mornings he has to be his best and “very alert self to give the exams from 10 in the morning to 1 pm.” He revises lessons for four to five “concentrated” hours a day.
Rathore feels his concentration powers peak in the night hours but he prefers studying in the ‘peaceful early morning hours’ as the grasping power of the mind is at its maximum and “you can understand concepts related to each subject easily.”
On the toughest subjects, Sahoo finds economics a tad difficult, because it has “lots of numericals, lots of graphs and lots of writing – and needs thorough practice”. He deals with it by taking a break now and then because the mind is like a computer. “When the computer’s memory is full we shut and restart it after a few minutes, which increases its speed, efficiency and storing capacity.” So take a break, go out in the open, breathe, exercise and get back to the table, he says.
Rathore does not find any subject to be particularly tough. “Give each subject enough time and your wholehearted attention. I believe if you prepare honestly and put in your maximum effort then nothing will be difficult,” he says. For Madhu, subjects are not tough but “time consuming. You need dedicated effort and the right amount of time to be thorough with them. Math takes up a lot of time. Biology requires reading again and again,” he says.
So how are studies and life balanced? Madhu finds it pretty easy to concentrate because he meditates. He is neither too chilled out nor too nervous but in a neutral state. “When I am in a non stress state I am able to study with my best concentration and give the right focus,” he says. He goes for long walks and meditates – which boosts his concentration and reduces stress. Friends are great too. “I call up an old friend and talk about how my preparations are going, we chat,” he says.
Rathore takes small breaks of 15 to 20 minutes, working out or listening to “relaxing music,” which keeps his “concentration intact and boredom away.”
These students are also watching what they are eating. Soni has a balanced diet with carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and proteins. Rathore follows his mother’s mantra: “Ghar ka khao aur woh bhi pet bharkey (have home-cooked food and eat your fill).”