Board Exams 2021: Best practices and strategies for students appearing this year

CBSE, ICSE and many other state boards have announced the dates for board examinations and students appearing in the exams must be a anxious lot by now.
By Monica Malhotra Kandhari
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:06 PM IST
Though there are no magic formula and no tip will guarantee success in board exams, there are a few tips that can surely help in their preparation and streamline their hard work to be more fruitful.(HT File)

CBSE, ICSE and many other state boards have announced the dates for board examinations and students appearing in the exams must be a anxious lot by now. The academic year 2020-2021 has been like none other as virtual classes became the only option.

Board examinations are considered an important stage for a successful future as they have an impact on gaining admissions in a college and course of one’s choice and eventually leading to a successful career.

It is noteworthy that CBSE had decided to conduct the exams based on a reduced syllabus considering the hardship faced by the students. However, for students appearing in the exam, it remains the most important exam as their score will remain with them for a lifetime and hence the stress.

Though there are no magic formula and no tip will guarantee success in the exam, there are a few tips that can surely help in their preparation and streamline their hard work to be more fruitful. Here is a list of top best practices and strategies for students appearing board exams:

Practice previous year’s questions: The key to a wholesome preparation is understanding the pattern of the examination and what better way than attempting previous years question papers. Practising with actual question set while keeping an eye on the allotted time duration will help in getting a feel of the actual exam. This will also lead to a better understanding of the nature of questions asked in the exam and the pattern of the examination. The benefits of practising previous questions is significant and should not be overlooked.

Allocate equal time to all subjects: Time management is of the essence both during preparation as well as in the examination hall. During preparation, sufficient time must be allotted to all subjects to cover the syllabus. Following a set time table with allocated time for study, rest and physical exercises will induce discipline and result in timely completion of preparation with sufficient time for doubt clearing and revision where necessary.

Revise: The importance of revision is twofold. One, it helps in remembering facts, figures and other details studied. Two, regular revision help learning become more permanent and reassuring thereby reducing anxiety and boosting confidence. There are several techniques of revision and you adopt the one most suited to you and make it a habit. Regular revision has the added benefit of making learning more than mere memorisation as it helps in recalling information as and when necessary.

Prioritise the challenging areas: Tougher subjects and concepts laden ones require more practice or study and needs to be given first priority when preparing for an exam. Students generally tend to avoid these subjects and leave them for the last-minute preparation. It is not advised to allot more time to the challenging part.

Choose your material and follow the pattern: In todays’ digital world there are ample sources from which materials for preparation can be sourced from. It is important to source materials from a reputed source which aligns with parameters such as difficulty levels, the time required to provide an answer etc followed by the board. Once you have chosen your material, try to begin with the 5 marks questions and work your way up. Keep an eye on the time you take for a question and identify important questions that carries maximum weightage and prioritise them.

Proper attention should be given to MCQs: MCQs are designed to assess ability to remember or recall basic and foundational pieces of knowledge. Answering these can be tricky at times and are best attempted early one to avoid last minute rush. Neglecting multiple-choice questions can prove costly as they contribute to your score. This year, with the change in question paper pattern, the weightage for multiple choice questions has increased and they need to be answered well to attain the desired marks.

Interpret and analyse the Questions: Students should carefully read the question, analyse them, understand the question and then start attempting the answer. It is also important for students to interpret the meaning of the question accurately and provide the most accurate answer.

Proper Presentation of the answers: Examinations are by and large a pen-and-paper affair. There are some basic hygiene and etiquettes to writing which if followed will present the written answers in a more easily comprehensible and legible form. A neat and tidy handwriting, allotting sufficient margins and clean answer sheets leaves a positive impression on checkers. Answers must be written in a precise manner avoiding jargons and fillers. Writing answers strategically and keeping it to the point by including only the required information is the key.

Manage Stress: Preparing for an examination is already a stressful affair and add to that the COVID-19 induced stress, students will be under tremendous levels of stress and learning how to manage stress effectively will be the key. A healthy attitude and confidence will go a long way in managing stress and maintaining composure during the preparation and examination phase. Self-confidence and a positive outlook will help in focussing on the task at hand and a more fruitful preparation.

Be safe and healthy: The rigour of extensive exam preparation takes a toll on health and it is important to keep a check on mental and physical health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and adding a dose of daily exercise to the mix will help in boosting memory and concentration power. Schedule enough time for physical activity to refresh the mind and help maintain good health. Yoga and Meditation are a great way to gain mental relaxation and improve concentration. Listening to relaxing music is also proven to stimulate the brain and have a positive impact on your ability to memorize.

Utilise Gadgets productively: Gadgets are like double edged swords, they can be a source of distraction or they can be the gateway to productivity depending on how we utilise them. An endless stream of information is now available at our finger tips and it is upon the user to make the most of it. Gadgets of all hues and shapes are available with functions such as audio notes, alarm clock, countdown timers, notepads which can all be positively utilised as an aid to exam preparations. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be overwhelming at best and a distraction. Avoiding social media or limiting social media usage is advisable when preparing for an exam and in general.

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