“I am from a small village Besarwa in UP’s Amethi district. Due to lack of opportunities, patriarchal mindset, and other socioeconomic conditions, pursuing education beyond primary school is rarely possible for girls in my village. I, however, got lucky when I cracked a competitive exam to get free education in a locally-situated residential school which caters to meritorious underprivileged children from rural India. I scored 96.6% marks in class 12 and now I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in Social Work (rural development) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
This was not an easy feat for a girl like me who had to work not only on academics but also on my self-confidence. In order to be well prepared for my CBSE board exams, I planned out a structured approach and strategy including daily study hours, reaching out to my mentors for clearing doubts, leaving ample time for revision, and focusing on my mental health. All of this together helped me ensure that I did not worry or stress during the exam days.
TIME TABLE THAT WORKS
In my time-table, I gave equal time to all subjects in the beginning and later allocating more time for subjects where I felt I needed to devote more attention. While preparing a timetable one should also not forget about keeping sufficient breaks to avoid burning out. My timetable might not work for someone else. We need to make our own timetable which includes sufficient breaks.
In my schedule, I also devoted time to non-academic things. To maintain my mental and physical wellbeing, I played badminton, meditated, and read novels. I slept for six to seven hours a day which kept my body and mind calm and focused.
Whenever I got stuck on a particular topic or concept, I reached out to my friends and classmates. We studied as a group and helped each other clear the doubts. We also kept motivating and encouraging each other, while keeping an environment of healthy competition, which helped me to keep pushing myself to continue with my hard work.
After the group discussions, I also prepared a mind map of every topic and this helped me to get a better understanding of the concept.
EXAM-LIKE PRACTICE PAPERS
Practice, practice, and more practice is the mantra I followed! I used to solve all practice worksheets provided by my teachers and this helped me to get better at my subjects. Two months before the board examination, I completed revising all subjects and devoted one whole month to solving previous years’ question papers and also sample papers.
I also made sure that I kept a time check when solving these and tried to improve on my time as the days progressed. Eventually, I was able to not only write comprehensive answers but also manage my time and finish solving the question papers 20 minutes earlier, leaving ample time to check my responses and make any corrections needed.
EXAM WRITING STRATEGY
Being able to finish the exam on time was not my only goal, I also wanted my answer scripts to be presentable. I highlighted the important points and key words in my responses to direct the examiner’s attention to the same. This trick also helps during revision as one may find mistakes they may have made around the important details in their responses.
Before responding to a question, I tried to understand the question first and then made a mental note of all the key points I wanted to cover. Writing lengthy answers was not my goal. I believed that it would be a waste of time. Instead, I tried my best to be precise in my response and use the time judiciously.
— Written by Kshama Singh. The author is an alumnus of VidyaGyan School, Sitapur, UP and currently a student at TISS.