The season of competitive exams is here as the all-important examinations of the school boards and universities are over. Youngsters are faced with the herculean task of preparing for a number of competitive exams now.
The Medicine, Engineering, and Common University entrance tests; the UPSC, PSC, bank examinations; and those in connection with higher education and employment will all be conducted in the next few months. As a first step, the candidates need to have a clear idea of the examinations and how to approach them.
Excellent performance in the Board and University examinations is crucial for a student’s higher education and prospective career. However, they have to crack competitive exams if they are to bag admission to higher studies and get lucrative jobs.
Competitive exams vs Board/University exams
Let’s discuss some key tips that the candidates preparing for competitive examinations should know and how they differ from Board and University examinations:
• The competitive examinations mainly include questions that test your knowledge and how you apply the things and concepts that you have learned in arriving at a solution. However, the Board and University examinations are based on a pre-determined syllabus. They mostly include questions on facts and concepts given in the textbooks.
• The registration for competitive examinations is mostly done online. There is a probability of changes in the prospectus and rules every year. Hence, the candidates should first understand the criteria thoroughly before applying for competitive exams online.
• Most of the competitive examinations comprise time-based objective-type questions. For instance, one has to attempt nearly 150 objective-type questions in three hours.
• Answers to each question in competitive exams should be written only after thinking logically.
• While the Board and University examinations have absolute marks, the competitive tests use a relative grading system to evaluate students’ performance.
• Most competitive exams have got negative marking. A minor difference of one negative mark can result in your getting higher or lower ranks. Hence, attempt only those questions to which you are sure of the answers.
How to prepare well
Noted entrance test trainer and Mathematics teacher based in Thiruvananthapuram, Prasad Nair, shares a few tips for those candidates preparing for competitive examinations:
• Attempt as many mock/practice tests as you can. Self-introspect after each examination, and take the required corrective measures.
• While the candidates have to learn all lessons, they have to study deeply all the important topics.
• Revise all the concepts, facts, and formulas the day before the examination.
• Read all questions at the time of commencement and completion of the examination. You may come across those questions to which you can give the right answers at the last minute.
• Prepare one’s mind to calmly write the examinations without feeling any exam pressure.
Nenu George, who secured a top rank in the UPSC examinations, reflects on factors that helped her to succeed
• A strong, focused goal
• It’s not necessary that you crack the competitive examinations upon preparing well. Hence, you should take the failures in the right stride and prepare your mind to accept defeats and attempt such examinations again and again.
• Don’t allow negative thoughts to creep into your mind.
• Prepare an apt timetable so as to effectively use time.
• One of the primary factors while preparing for competitive examinations is that one shouldn’t mug up the lessons. Instead, they should also try to understand clearly the practical applications. If you desist from doing the same, you would fail in competitive examinations despite scoring good marks in Board, University examinations.
• Don’t study for hours on the trot. Take a break after every 20 minutes or so.
• Note down the main points in the form of a checklist and go through them just before the examinations.
• Don’t worry about exam results while preparing for the tests. Focus only on studies.
Those who realize the importance of examination will imbibe such information and ensure that they follow them. He/she may evolve into a success seeker from a mere exam candidate earlier. Also, they should form adequate preparatory guidelines and ensure they stick to them.
(The writer is a human resources expert, corporate mentor, and the Director of CoX Academy & Research Centre.)