It’s that time of the year, isn’t? I am sure if you are a class 10th or class 12th student you have started feeling the heat of the board exams. You have started to feel a bit nervous and vulnerable. You keep on having weird thoughts about the day you will actually give your board exam.
Board Exams have a very special place in every student’s life. Every student has a dream of smashing the board exams. And to blend this dream into reality, students work immensely hard, slog day and night, keep on going the extra mile just to not make their dream a mere mirage.
But what most students don’t understand is that along with all of this hard work, you also have to learn the vital skill of attempting and presenting a test.
What is the point of all those numerous sleepless nights and days you spent studying if you can’t score sky high in your exams?
What’s the point of all the concepts you know if you are not able to present them in a descriptive and presentable manner?
No student wants to go through this fate.
So, let’s learn the art of attempting a board exam and make your preparation for board exams even more concrete.
Use Simple Language
While writing the answers, try and be as much simple as possible. The examiner who will be assessing your answer sheet will also be assessing answer sheets of around 300 more students so he/she doesn’t have the time to check very complex answers. So, try and write simple, straightforward and to the point answers.
Generally, simple answers are awarded much more marks than a structurally complex one, so try to avoid using tough or not so common words excessively in your answers.
Also, try to present your answer in points wherever possible. Not only will this make your answer spotless, it will also make it quicker and easier to read.
Although some questions demand long paragraphs as answers, if the question doesn’t have such prerequisites always try and ditch the long paragraphs and go for an answer in points.
Priya Venkatesh a teacher at Gregorian Public School says:” Write in points, and according to the marks allotted.”
Look at this answer for an example, this answer script belongs to the 2017 CBSE Board English (Core) topper.
The language used in this answer is really quite simple, there are no complex sentences and also there are no traces of tough or less frequently used words.
The answer has the charm of being blunt yet interesting at the same time. And that’s what you have to learn too.
Also, what we can grasp from this student’s answer is that laying emphasis on important keywords by underlining them in your answer can also prove to be helpful.
Write What is Needed
You cannot write a page or two for just a 1-mark question. You have to learn the art of writing according to the marks.
Your detailing in the answer should be directly proportional to the number of marks the question holds. If it is a 6 marker, you can go and explain the answer in much more detail but if it is a 1-mark or a 2-mark question you would not want to go into too much detail.
Also, don’t beat around the bush and try to dive straight into the topic.
Vinita Johri, an educator at DPS Ahmedabad says: ” It is not essential to write whatever you know — examiners as per Board guidance always prefer clear and crisp answers. Always try to write subheads, this gives an examiner an idea on what has been communicated, at a glance. Remember this is just another exam and not the end of the world. So be calm and confident as you appear for the exam. A calm mind can work wonders and it will reflect on your performance.“
You don’t want to annoy the examiner by writing answers that go around in circles but never hit the real target.
You have to learn the subtle art of attempting and presenting an answer just the way an examiner likes. You neither can’t just underexplain the concepts nor can you provide an explanation that is so circuitous that your answer sheet becomes an enigma.
Present your answers in apple-pie order. Presentation is also pretty important in Board Exams. Use a Black pen for headings and a blue pen for other things, try to space out each word so that each and everything is clear and visually appealing.
You don’t want to lose your precious marks just because your answer wasn’t readable. So, work on your handwriting and learn how to draft good answers.
Adit Bedi, a teacher at St. Marks Public School says ” Try and be as neat and possible, your handwriting may not be the neatest of all but it should be readable that’s it.“
Take a look at this extract from an answer sheet, it has just the right amount of spacing between each of the subparts of the answer. The handwriting is also pretty neat. The answers are also aligned to the left side of the page and enough space has been left at the end of each line.
By doing all these small detailing in your answer script you will make it unique and more admirable than others.
Draw Diagrams Wherever Necessary
A figure has the capability of depicting more than words. Always try to draw a diagram wherever necessary in your answers.
This way you assure the checker that you know what you are writing and also diagrams are easier to understand as compared to words.
But don’t do it too much! You have to carefully place these diagrams, you can’t just put a diagram in every question. Look at the question, understand it, and if it is quite complex or asks for a diagram then only go for it.
Don’t Leave Any Question
Board exams don’t have any negative marking for an incorrect answer, so what’s the point of not attempting a question you don’t know the answer to?
If you don’t know the answer to a question, leave some space for it and come back to it after doing all the questions and try to attempt it.
Most of the board toppers say that even if you don’t know the answer to a question or vaguely remember the answer to that question, attempt it, who knows maybe you get marks just for the formula or the important keywords you wrote.
There have been cases where some questions asked in the board exams were incorrect or not very clear, and bonus marks were awarded for these particular questions BUT to only those students who had attempted that particular question.
So, make sure you attempt every question that comes your way.
Do Questions According to Your Will
Attempt all those questions in which you have full confidence first and then go on with the other questions.
There is no need to attempt the questions in the order they are asked, just make sure you attempt the questions to which you know the answer to, first.
And don’t forget to put the correct question number in your answer sheet.
But just make sure that you attempt all the parts of a particular question together.
For example, if you choose to attempt the 29th question first and this has three parts, make a habit of attempting all these parts together and then going for the next question of your choice.
Read the Question Paper
Read and understand what the question asks and don’t be in a hurry. Be patient and try to look out for what the question is asking and then reach for a solution.
If you are even a bit off topic, chances are that you will score less in that question because an examiner who has checked almost 300 copies now tries to look for only the main keywords in the answer and if they aren’t there, he/she may award you a bit fewer marks.
If you read a question and don’t get a hang of it, take your time and read it again, you don’t want to dance around an answer and then, later on, understand that that’s not what the question demands. That would be a sheer wastage of precious time.
So, march carefully and truly understand what the question asks.
Almost all the board toppers and teachers from various schools laid stress on reading the question paper properly when they were asked for tips for acing the board examinations.
They said that the 15 minutes reading time the students get, can be gamechanger especially if the exam is a tough or a lengthy one.
In these 15 minutes, you can patiently read every question, solve it mentally and also decide which questions you will be attempting as soon as you get the answer sheet.
Abhishek Sarkar, a teacher at DPS Ruby Park Kolkata says that:” The real test begins not when you start writing but when you get the question paper in hand. The reading time must be utilised fully in order to plan and chalk out the points of the answers. A clear and legible handwriting along with proper spacing between sections creates a favourable impression.”
Choose the Question Wisely
If you have a choice in any of the questions, choose the one which suits you.
“Every choice you make has an end result.”
You have to make sure that your choice bears an end result that is fruitful for you.
Don’t make the choice in a haste, read both the questions clearly and try to draw a mental sketch of both the questions in your mind and then go with the question which seems more comfortable and easier to you.
All the 6 markers generally have a choice, so during the reading time think about both the questions and choose the easier one according to you.
Many experts from institutes like Meritnation also believe that reading time can be used quite effectively to tackle the internal choice questions and decide the question with which one should go.
Keep Time for Revision
Make sure you have at least 10-15 minutes for a complete revision of your answer sheet.
We make quite a lot of semantic or syntax errors while writing. You’ll surely miss some articles or adjectives here and there. We are also prone to logical errors like calculation mistakes, wrong formula or theorem usage. So make sure you have some time left to rectify these mistakes or errors.
Copying wrong data is also one of the most common mistakes students make. Try and be very attentive while copying data from the question paper.
Revision solidifies your answer sheet and makes it less prone to errors.
Once you are done with your paper, sit back and start reading everything you wrote with plethoric concentration and try to look out for the mistakes.
Many students find revision to be extremely exhaustive and skip it. Don’t do this mistake and make sure you revise your paper.
Although this is easier said than done, try not to panic during the exam. If you get nervous during the exam you will surely start doing silly mistakes and also you won’t be able to think properly. Nervousness blocks your brain.
Be calm and trust yourself and your preparation, keep reminding yourself that you have worked hard and you know everything that’s part of the syllabus.
It’s a board exam after all! Some questions will be sturdy and will shake your ground but it is important that you do not let these questions strip you of your capability for solving the other questions.
You have to let negative thoughts pass away, you can’t just stick with them. Because if you do, they will start dampening your performance and harm your results. These thoughts will suck all your energy and make you go blank.
No student wants this to happen, so learn to remain calm no matter what the situation is. You shouldn’t let even your mind discover the chink in your armour.
Many board toppers like Nandini Garg, Meghna Srivastava said that giving exams without stress is of utmost importance if you really want it to be error free.
Raksha Gopal the CBSE 2017 class XII topper said in one of her interviews that Board exams should be considered as more of a marathon and not a 100m sprint. A marathon requires your concentration level to be optimum throughout and you cannot panic or get nervous at the very end or you will lose the race.
Manage your Time
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”
If you get stuck at a question, just let it go for now. Don’t consider it as a blow to your ego. You have to make sure that you have ample time to solve each and every question. You just cannot keep trying to solve a single question repeated number of times.
Effective time management is extremely important while writing an exam. You may know all the questions but if you can’t keep track of the time, you will lose marks.
One of the CBSE Board topper Divyanshu Aggarwal mentioned in one of his interviews with IBN that you need to work systematically throughout the exam and not let time win the race. That is the only way you can be in a comfortable position in the exam.
Vaishali Garg also a CBSE topper said: ” You can try and give model test exams to improve time management in exams and also test your knowledge.“
Also, what many other teacher and toppers had to say was that practising sample papers can be a very good way of understanding and tweaking your speed and improving your time management for the exam.
Now that you know these tips, go on; master them, test them in your mock exams and start feeling the change in your performance.
What you need to keep in mind is that these tips aren’t very rigid and you can always fine-tune them according to your style of writing the exam. After all every samurai likes a sword of his/her own making and you are no less than a samurai.
And one more pro tip before you leave- Believe in yourself, you have infinite potential, you have diligently prepared for this moment and you are ready to face it. Never let self-doubt shake your system. And always remember to ignore the naysayers.
So, go on work hard and keep these tips in mind when you write your exam and shatter all the records that everyone thought could never be broken.
All the best! and don’t forget to take your Admit Card and your stationery into the examination hall with you.