Anisha Motwani, 16, scored a perfect 100% in her SSC exams last year, but she did not sacrifice her passion for table tennis during her study leave. "Sports is as important to me as academics and playing table tennis was a way to de-stress from the exam pressure for me," says the student of Saraswati Education Society, Thane. "It's important that you treat the board exams like any other exam, so you don't crumble under the tension."
High scorers from previous years unanimously stress the need for students to relax. "Relaxation time is essential," said Yash Patil, 16, who also scored a 100% in the SSC exams last year. "I played and watched cricket to blow off steam. Be systematic in your approach to studying, and include frequent breaks that will refresh you."
However, it isn't all play to get that perfect score. Toppers advise students to set realistic targets for themselves and draw up a timetable that helps them focus on these tasks. "Know your strengths and weaknesses," said Patil, now a commerce student at RA Podar College. "Make your timetable accordingly. For instance, if you're weak in science and are studying that in the morning, balance it with a lighter subject such as English for the second half of the day."
Toppers also stressed solving past years' question papers. "You need to simulate an exam-environment for yourself, and finish the papers in the stipulated time-frame," said Kripa Jalan, who scored 94.33% in her HSC exams last year and is now studying engineering at DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering. "The paper patterns are repeated a lot as well, so if you analyse the papers intelligently and concentrate more on those chapters, it will save you time."
Students said it was important to concentrate on what you are learning, and not study it solely for the exam. "I didn't take any tuitions, so I spent time learning the content on my own, and actually wanting to know about what I read," said Rahil Shah, a student of Cathedral and John Connon School who scored 98.6% in the ICSE exam last year. "The exams go on for a long time, so it's easy to lose steam if you are only memorising matter for the sake of it. Devise ways to keep yourself motivated. I used to listen to music while doing math to make it more fun."