Need to strike a balance while preparing for both board and competitive exams
Being a class 12 student in India comes along with great academic pressure. This is mostly because a student’s career and bright possibility in future depend on his or her individual skill to overcome the conjoined challenge of the board examinations along with several competitive exams. The students not only have to prepare for both simultaneously but also have to ensure that they score well in both as mark sheets of both these exams determine how secure and successful a life they would live in years to come.
Juggling between board and competitive exams is not an easy task and the difficulty level of the two sets of exams varies. There is a need to balance preparation for both and handle the pressure and anxiety that students experience from them. While board exam papers are set keeping in mind the ability of an average student, entrance exams offer more complex questions and are way ahead in terms of question paper standard. These exams test logic, aptitude and reasoning ability of the students, and inculcate a competitive spirit among them to get into top colleges across the country.
Usually, the board exams start in the month of March, while competitive exams begin a month later giving students a leeway to plan their strategy and perform well in both. However, this year competitive exams such as IIT –JEE will be happening twice a year. The first attempt for IIT-JEE will begin from January 9 onwards. Following this, along with board exams, the students will be burdened with 18 other competitive exams like NEET, Comedk and AIIMS. This can put them under immense stress.
With exam season fast approaching and less time in hand, the key to achieve one’s goal and fulfil the dream of getting admission to a desirable college will depend on how efficiently the students balance their time and tackle stress while preparing for both the competitive and board exams together.
Students can adopt the following steps to take a balanced approach which will assist them in boosting their performance and ensure that they come out with flying colours in the examinations.
Go by the timetable and a systematic revision plan: It is necessary for students to follow a scheduled time table and a revision plan at this hour. A systematic revision plan enhances clarity both concept wise as well as course wise. Furthermore, it also allows them to keep a track of their performance. The timetable and revision plan should be devised in a way that the course for both competitive exams and the board exams is covered with equal focus on both the conceptual and theoretical topics. An ample amount of time should be dedicated in practising and revising the weaker subjects and basic concepts as students often make big mistakes while attempting the basic questions during competitive exams. It is also essential for students to not make any drastic changes in their time table and limit the time they dedicate for leisure and other activities at this time in order to channelize their complete energy on preparations.
Opt for mock tests for better preparation
Though the syllabus of board exams and competitive exams are broadly similar, the examination pattern is different. Board exams follow the traditional practice of blending questions of short and long answers, while the focus in entrance exams is on multiple choice questions. Thereby, it is important for candidates to practice mock test papers of every subject for both the exams on a regular basis. The preparation can also include solving/answering previous years’ question papers. To be able to do this well, students have to be regular to class and follow a proper time table. Mock tests enable students to differentiate between basics and higher level questions of a subject. This helps them face the board exams where basics are crucial, and the competitive tests, where complex questions are vital. Students should get used to this difference by taking up mock tests frequently.
Correlate topics of board and entrance exams
Students can also try to correlate topics of both the board and entrance exams. This could make problem-solving easier and result in positive outcomes from both the exams. In case a topic you are studying at college is similar to the one at your coaching institute, try to complete studying this topic as fast as possible so that you can concentrate on other topics.
Make your exams stress free
An array of exams is bound to have a psychological effect on students. This gives rise to stress, anxiety, fear and restlessness leading to decrease in concentration and overall efficiency of the students. It is advisable for them to maintain calm as there is no point in panicking and studying for 8-10 long hours, when one cannot retain the concepts that can be grasped in just two hours. It is essential to follow a good sleep pattern of at least four to six hours and maintain physical health by participating in activities such as yoga and meditation. A good physical and psychological balance help in boosting their overall performance.