Every year, countless students take their Board Examinations.
Every year, a huge portion of them cheat themselves out of a better score by making silly, largely avoidable mistakes.
Don’t let yourself be one of them.
These are the five most common Board Exam mistakes, and what you can and should do instead.
1. The Case Against Cramming
We have a way of putting off unpleasant and difficult tasks, and Board Exams certainly qualify as both. There are probably a hundred things you’d rather do than study for your exam, so why not do those things instead. It’s no big deal – you’ll make it up later with a classic cram session, right?
You may think you’ll be fine following a quick cramming or mug up session, but the fact is this rarely works, especially with something as important as your Board Examinations.
For one thing, cram sessions don’t help you prepare for a broad range of questions. Sure, you might have quickly refreshed a couple of key concepts, but what if you’re asked something outside that narrow purview? What if you’re required to do some critical thinking?
What’s more, far from helping you refresh your knowledge before a test, cramming can actually leave you exhausted before your exams. Ideally, you should be resting your brain and relaxing before your Board Exam, not anxiously cramming and tiring yourself out before you even put pencil to paper.
Tedious though it may seem, the best way to study really is just that – to actually study properly, in focused sessions, doing a little bit every day for a week or two at minimum before the exam.
2. Misallocating Your Study Time
It can be difficult to know how much time you should spend studying, let alone how much time to allocate to any one topic. One common mistake is to over-study things you already know well. Yes, it’s important to practice and refresh, but too often we spend too much time on things we already know precisely because of their familiarity.
If you are that comfortable with a topic, however, chances are it isn’t the best use of your precious limited study time. Make sure you’re spending the bulk of your time on subjects with which you struggle. What’s more, we all get tired the longer we study, so be sure to focus on the most difficult subjects when you feel freshest.
3. Not Reading Questions Thoroughly
When taking an exam as important as the JEE, every answer counts. Nothing’s worse, therefore, than losing easy points because you answered an easy question incorrectly simply because you misread it.
As tempting as it may be to bend to the time crunch and try to speed through seemingly-easy questions, always take the time to read and answer every question thoroughly. Test makers often put instructions or language into questions that can trick you if you don’t read the question carefully.
4. Leaving Easy Questions for Later
Board exams aren’t just a measure of the knowledge you’ve accumulated – it’s a race against the clock. You don’t just need to put the right answers down, but do so before time expires. Because time is limited, it can be tempting to skip easy questions and attempt harder ones first. The thinking goes that you should answer harder questions first, as they take more time, and then blow through all the easy ones at the end.
However, this thinking is in error. Yes, you have a time crunch when doing your Board Exam, but that’s all the more reason to get the easy questions out of the way in short order. The sooner you get them done, the sooner you can move on to focusing on the harder questions which require more attention. You don’t want to have to do those harder questions first with the knowledge that you still have to do more questions afterward.
It is imperative that you spend as much time as needed on harder questions. That will not be possible if you still have to answer easier questions afterward.
What’s more, getting easier questions done first can help you build confidence and momentum as you move on to the harder ones.
5. Not Checking Your Answers or Rereading Your Essay
Another reason not to leave easy answers to the end? You should ideally be using that time to check your answers or reread your essay. Hopefully by the time of your exam you know the material inside and out. Even if you do, however, even the best of us make mistakes, and we unfortunately have a tendency to make them at the worst possible time. You don’t want to accidentally bubble in C instead of D, silly grammatical and spelling mistakes, and over easily-corrected errors to cost you valuable points. Once you finish, double and triple check your work until the test managers call time.