How can I get more marks in my Board exams?
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How can I get more marks in my Board exams?

  • Written by
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 06 Mar 2019

Doesn’t everyone want that? Not just the students, but the parents as well. As a result, students work to the limits of their capacity, often spending the night burning the midnight oil, and pushing the stress level of the entire system to the brink. Hence everyone – from Satguru to Prime Minister Narendra Modi are extolling the kids to put their best foot forward without getting stressed out. As a millennial impact strategist, and someone who has always aced his exams, I am going to give you strategic insights into how to go about preparing and taking the exams, especially from the perspective of ‘last few days’ before the exam.

 

First a real-life story though. One of my mentees, was prepping for his Grade X CBSE board exams last year. He has always been a top student and had prepared extensively through the year. Yet, he was tensed and was getting paranoid about not having revised a particular topic for the ‘nth’ time or having missed out half a mark question in his previous exam. Plus, the next exam was of Social Sciences – a blended subject consisting of History, Civics and Geography, with extensive course load and even more of ‘parrot-like’ cramming. He had to revise over 40 chapters before the exam. In the end, he found himself short of time, despite preparing well beyond midnight. He could not finish 17 chapters. And this further compounded his stress levels. Exasperated, and on the brink of a meltdown he called me at 1 in the morning. I had the following conversation with him –

Nishant: “Abhishek, I don’t think I will do very well in my Social Science exams”

Abhishek: “Why?”

Nishant: “I could not revise 17 chapters. Also, it is 1 in the morning. I don’t think that I am going to get enough sleep either. In this exam, I have to write endlessly. I don’t think that I shall have the energy to do it. I am going to fail miserably.”

Abhishek: “How many times have you read the 17 chapters? When did you last revise them?”

Nishant: “I have read each of them at least a dozen times, if not more. I could not do revise them yesterday, but I last read them about 8 days back.”

Abhishek: “Great! You know your subject then. How does one last revision help you? Worse, it will make you even more stressed. Here is a suggestion – try to go into the exam with the intent of looking forward to something new. Try to enjoy the exam. And something that is not very recent in your memory, like the 17 chapters that you did not do today, but you know well, (remember, you have revised it more than a dozen times) should be fun. The important point is to enjoy the exam and not spit out what you have just remembered. If you can do that then not only you would have fun, but you shall also score better marks.”

Nishant went with the intent of ‘having fun’ and not necessarily ‘scoring the maximum marks.’ He actually put forward his best performance in Social Sciences and scored a whopping 99/100!

 

Let us understand what happened here. May be, you can use it in your upcoming board exams.

Understand the difference between Potential and realizing your Potential: A simple definition of Potential are the marks that you will get given unlimited time. Most people, who have worked consistently throughout the year will have this number either equal to 100% or close to it. Some other might have this number lower because of a variety of reasons, like inability to grasp certain concepts, poor preparation, or plain laziness. Closer to the point of exam day, you should not work towards increasing your potential. You should rather work at making sure you realize your potential. So, if, for instance, you do not know a certain topic and your potential is 99%, then it is a good idea to focus on realizing the whole 99% rather than improving your potential by 1%. Central to this premise is the fact that potential improvement can happen only through long term effort and requires much higher time-commitment. Closer to the exam, you do not have that much time. Therefore, the little time that you have would give you a better return were you to utilize it in making sure that you realize your potential.

 

How to realize your Potential: The answer is different for different people. However some points are obvious – you don’t open new battle fronts (no new topics, that you have not done in the past), you take adequate rest and prepare your mind for the impending exam, do your thing to get in the zone – may it be listening to music, or playing a sport or eating your favorite ‘rasmalai’, etc. Nishant, aka the example above, could get into the zone by not stressing about what he has not done, but rather looking forward to the exam. Central to the notion of realizing your potential is the concept of Performance Mindset.

Performance mindset is a state wherein you are able to deliver ‘peak performance’, in this case realize your potential, or achieve the highest possible marks. It is a ‘zen’ like state where output comes out effortlessly and you are able to put forward your best performance. It needs to be distinguished from preparation mindset, which is focused on learning and consuming new material.

Many students find the period during the exams or just before that to be extremely stressful because they are unable to segregate performance and preparation. For many of them, periods before the exam are a confused mishmash of preparation and performance readiness – with the eventual outcome which neither increases potential, nor help them realize their existing potential in the best possible manner. Imagine yourself trying to cover up the one chapter in History that you have not prepared earlier (preparation) and also making sure that you get adequate rest and revision (performance readiness). Your mind is confused and is unable to deliver 100% on either of the area. Even during the exam, you might be agonizing about the missed chapter (leave alone your state, should there be questions from that chapter), and not in a fluid seamless state – ready to deliver your 100%. As a result, you might end up delivering way below your potential and miss out on getting very high marks in your exams.

Performance mindset - if you can build this small practice into your routine closer to exams, I am sure that it shall give you a 5-10% bump in your final results. Irrespective of anything, do enjoy the exams – these are moments of performance, where you can showcase what you have done throughout the year and also test your capability. For once, forget about marks and focus on ‘performing.’ Nothing can go wrong there.

All the best!

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