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Monday, January 31, 2011

Be confident, keep concentrating

More on the approach to be adopted in the examination hall

  Think before you ink 
Let us look at a few more strategies to be adopted in the examination hall. If you feel that a very significant point or word should be highlighted, there is no harm in writing it in capital letters or resorting to underlining. But too much of coloured letters, capitals, underling, or highlighting with transparent colours may irritate the examiner. Moreover, the examiner may suspect that we are underestimating his skill in identifying what is important.
Common fears
If you fear that you are slow, and there is a possibility of your being unable to complete all answers, make amends right from the beginning. You should allocate time for each question, taking into account the marks earmarked. As far as possible, follow the schedule. If you feel you are behind the clock, shorten the answer, or mention only the relevant points.
You should remember that even if you write the most elaborate answer for a particular question, you will not score more than the maximum marks.
In descriptive papers, it is essential that you answer the required number of questions. What counts is the total score. Also, do not spend too much time and effort on `bit' questions that carry only a few marks.
Understanding questions
Yet another mistake is not reading the question carefully and thereby misunderstanding it.
For example, the implications of commands such as analyse, discuss, explain, establish, justify, evaluate should be specifically appreciated. A few seconds spent on comprehending precisely what the examiner expects from you is not a waste of time. In the matter of directions in the question paper do not assume that the pattern of the previous year would be followed in toto. Carefully read all the directions in the question paper, before commencing to answer. Keep your concentration at its best in anything that you do in the hall. After solving numerical problems, check and recheck the calculations. Also see carefully the units of quantities mentioned in the problem. Taking metres as centimetres or vice versa will lead to absurd answers.
"Think before you ink" is an interesting dictum applicable to examinations also. In the case of essay type answers, first note down the points clearly and then start developing each point.
The transition from one point to the next should be logical. The opening paragraph of an essay should invariably be an introduction and the final paragraph should indicate 
significant conclusions or inferences.
Extra space
Always leave a little extra space in the answer paper, so that you can insert a point that may come to your mind later. At every stage of answering, avoid carelessness. There is a saying that a little difference makes a big difference.
As we know, the difference of a hundredth part of a second may make an athlete a winner or loser in an Olympics race.
Be punctilious in whatever you do in the examination hall. Keep your concentration fully tuned throughout the session.
If during the course of writing, a fine expression or quote that would be of use elsewhere comes to your mind, scribble it in some corner of the answer book, so that you can use it at the appropriate place.
Extra time
In many conventional examinations, you may finish answering all the questions before time. You should resist the temptation of leaving the hall as soon as you have completed all the answers. 
There is no award for those who quit the hall earliest.
Any time that you get should be gainfully utilised for going through what you have written, correcting any error you have committed inadvertently, and improving the answers wherever there is the need for it. Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, decimal points, and page numbers have their values.
If there are objective tests, a fresh set of strategies will have to be adopted. In the first place you should try to answer in the quickest possible time. Although there are different varieties of objective tests, the multiple-choice type is the most popular.
In this type of questions, there will be a stem followed by four or five answers out of which only one would be correct. 
The remaining answers would be wrong; they are called detractors in the sense that in the first look they may also appear to be correct.
No answer would be so off the mark that anyone might easily tell that it is wrong. So you will have to know the subject content and also show the power of discrimination. There is the true/false type where you have to tell whether the given statement is true or false. 
The wording may be complex, and there may be negatives or words like seldom, often, never, generally, and rarely in the given sentences. Read them carefully and analyse the implications critically.
All parts of the sentence should be true, if we should categorise it as true. 


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