Are you afraid of March?
Because ‘March’ means the pressure to score good marks in CBSE board exams.
It does not matter if you aim to perform your best in 10th board exams or 12th board exams – the pressure remains the same.
You wonder how to concentrate on studies during exams despite the distractions.
Revision, revision, and more revision – but still, nothing seems to work.
Well, here’s the consolation – you’re not alone feeling this way. Most of the students feel the same (even the bookworms with shiny golden spectacles) when board exams are around the corner. Fortunately, there are ways to beat the exam anxiety and score high in boards without losing sleep.
And that’s exactly what I am going to teach you in this article.
Anxious About Board Exams?
Anxiety is a symptom that you have more items in your ‘To Do’ list than you can handle. So, working directly on it won’t change anything because anxiety is not the issue – the issue is clutter.
Let me clarify:
You see, everybody has only 24 hours each day, and if you want to score your best marks in board exams, then you must utilise those hours wisely.
Decide for yourself – what do you want to do?
Do you want to spend time on unproductive activities (clutter)? Or Do you wish to utilise your precious time to focus on studies to achieve your goal?
Clutter can mean a lot of different things, but from the perspective of scoring good marks, we’ll focus on two main categories: Social media, and friends.
Next time, before you open Facebook or Whatsapp, run the stopwatch on your smartphone, and notice how much time you spent on socialising.
We don’t even realise how much time has passed by when we are on social media because it’s addictive. And believe it or not, social media is the most significant time-killer.
Have you ever thought what do you do on social media by the way?
You browse photos.
Check status updates.
Stupid jokes eat your time away.
You surf aimlessly for ‘real’ stuff (which is not there anyway).
Do you think it’s a wise use of your time? I’ll leave that to you.
There’s nothing wrong with having friends if they are real friends (and not a bunch of losers lurking around to use your Wi-Fi).
Would the people I call “friends” still be with me if I had no Wi-Fi or computer (Or gaming console like Xbox?)
If the answer is no, then most probably you’re spending time with some good-for-nothing-fellows. And it’s time to say goodbye to them.
Congratulations. You’ve just identified the clutter that was holding up space in your life.
Wish to Score Good Marks in CBSE Board Exams? Do Some Decluttering
It’s time to clear the clutter – let’s tackle the social media first.
Whatsapp is a significant time waster. So, if you want to free your time (a lot of it), then you must ask yourself, “Do I need it, can’t I do without it?”
FYI, I had deleted Whatsapp from my smartphone back in 2015, and guess what, and I am still alive (surprise, surprise).
You need to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them I don’t use Whatsapp.
“What? Are you not on Whatsapp? You’re not serious, are you? How do you stay in touch?”
Well, there’s something called “text messages”, and every smartphone has it.
I know peer pressure can make you feel ‘backward’ for not having Whatsapp on your phone.
It turns out that the people questioning my decision of quitting Whatsapp are themselves tired of it. They wanted to dump it, but can’t because of peer pressure.
If you’re not in a position to quit Whatsapp once and for all (I doubt it though because you always have the power to take control of your time), that’s fine. How about dumping it temporarily (until your board exams got over?)
If you’re serious about scoring your best in board exams, you must say goodbye to social media for the time being — log out of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform.
And do remember to turn off the notifications emails so you won’t get disturbed during your study time.
Let’s Cut Some People, err, I Mean, Clutter
Some people take your time for granted because they think they have a right to interrupt you.
The truth is that there’s no need to oblige them. Get rid of the timid attitude that people have the right to disturb you with their problems any time they wished.
Inform such people that you’re preparing for board exams and won’t be able to entertain them. Start making a distance and gradually the time-wasters will fade away.
You’ll feel relaxed after decluttering your friend-list. The good-for-nothing-fellows and the annoying phone notifications will vanish. And now, you shall have plenty of time to focus on studies.
Decluttering done – mission accomplished!
Now let’s talk about studies.
Below are some useful tips to help you score good marks in board exams.
NCERT Books First, “Refreshers” Later (or How About Never?)
In my 12th class, I didn’t take the time to read NCERT books and relied solely on ‘refreshers.’ Then one day, one of my cousins visited us, (who had topped the board exams in his school days). He was discussing my board preparations, “So, have you completed the NCERT books?”
NCERT books? No. (I was a bit confused).
“What…Why? What are you studying then?”
Hmmm…refreshers (I replied meekly).
“Shit…The most important thing one could do to score well in boards is to understand the concepts with clarity. And the best way to do that is to study the NCERT books – thoroughly.”
And there I was – staring at his face like a retard.
Now, here’s the thing – I know that as a student, you may have bought the argument that NCERT books are not detailed enough, and that might be true.
But anyone aiming to score his best in the exams must work to understand the concepts clearly. That’s the basic funda.
And that is what NCERT books do – they explain the concept in a clear and concise manner. Of course, you can use refreshers, but only after you’ve mastered the NCERT textbooks.
So, if you haven’t already done so, pick your NCERT books and start reading, which brings us to the next point – How to read a book?
“The Bird’s Eye View” Technique
Many students read books thoroughly from the very first reading. I hope you’re not one of them.
What do I mean?
Well, you should do the first reading with “Bird’s eye view technique.”
Just go through the front cover and the back cover and then the index. And then, read the main heading, and the sub-headings of each chapter.
Once you’ve done that, read the chapter in detail. This time, take notes and highlight the main points so you can refer to them later. After the second reading, re-read the lesson – for the third time. It will help you gain the best understanding of the concept.
Reading a chapter thrice clarifies the concepts, and you can retain the facts and figures more accurately. There’s one more technique you need to master, and that is:
The “Feynman Technique”
The basic idea behind this technique is: If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.
It says if you want to learn something, you should be able to tell it to others in a simple language. There are four steps to it:
Step 1. Read and understand the concept.
Step 2. Pretend you’re explaining the concept to a classroom full of students. (This will help you pinpoint the holes in your knowledge).
Step 3. If you’re stuck, reread the chapter.
Step 4. Repeat Step 2. This time, use more straightforward language.
Understating the concepts has a lot to do with your focus, which is our next point.
How to Stay Focused
Performing your best in board exams requires you to stay focused and not getting distracted. But don’t worry too much about not to get distracted because that will push you off the track.
Remember: Your life energy moves in the direction of your focus.
If you focus on not to get distracted, you will get distracted, because you are focusing on distraction. Instead, focus on staying focused. Here’s how:
Complete the Most Difficult Task First
You need to stop wasting time on trivial things. For example: Spending too much time eating breakfast, doing daily chores, or tidying your study room.
The good news? You’re not alone in wasting time.
Most of us try to avoid things that are most important and challenging (so we could keep on delaying them). Whenever you catch yourself in such a position, be alert. You’re about to fall into the trap of not accomplishing things that matters the most.
The most important thing to score good marks in board exams is to focus on studies. So, make sure you study first thing in the morning because after a good night sleep, the mind stays relaxed and you can do more in less time.
Wake up a little early. Drink some water. Walk. Answer nature’s call. Wash your face. And then study for about 2 hours.
There’s no need to bathe or eat. If you do all that, then by the time you finish, almost half the day would be over. And you’ll not feel like studying for long.
Complete your studies first and keep the rest of the things for later. Also, set achievable goals (more info below).
Set Realistic Goals to Perform Your Best in Board Exams
By ‘realistic’ I mean that you must not be emotional about the studies. Don’t try too hard to complete ten chapters a day, instead, aim to cover 3-4 lessons.
The danger in setting unrealistic goals is that if you miss by even one chapter, you’ll lose trust in your ability to accomplish. And you may not feel like studying at all for the next two days which is not a good thing.
You want to go steady and keep moving ahead every day. Remember: You get results for what you regularly do, not what you do once in a while.
Setting reasonable goals during board exams (and achieving them) will increase your self-esteem. And the success will encourage you to complete a little more the next day.
Keep in mind that frequency is the key.
Reducing TV Watching Time Can Help to Score Good Marks in CBSE Board Exams
Earlier, the number of TV channels were limited, and as a result, you knew what you wanted to watch even before you turned on the TV set.
Times are changing. Now we have set-top boxes and satellite TVs and live TVs and what not! Result? Too many choices – which means no choice at all. That’s why you have a hard time deciding what to watch.
When you’re uncertain then you don’t watch, you just surf channels. And surfing, my friend, is a beautiful, excellent, super, time-wasting activity.
If you want to watch TV, know beforehand which show you’re going to watch. When the show’s over, time’s up. Turn it off.
Selfishness Can Help You Succeed
Your only priority should be to work hard and do your best in boards.
Be selfish. Forget everything else, and focus on your studies.
Indeed, some people might take you for an unsocial or unfriendly person, but who cares? It’s your life, and the only person responsible for what happens to it is you.
It’s natural to get bored if you study one subject for too long. The best way to kill the boredom is to mix things up – try switching the topics.
For instance, if you had been studying Science for the past two days, why not switch to English for a day or two. Or, if you were practising Maths, try reading some Hindi poetry today, and when you get bored of Hindi too, switch to Social Studies.
You see, the idea is to keep your study schedule exciting and manageable. There’s no need to study a subject if you don’t feel like it on a particular day.
Nervous About the Board Results?
Do you often repeat, “I don’t want to get nervous – I need to score good marks in boards?” Guess what; it’s not working – the nervousness is not going away. On the contrary – the more you fight, the more nervous you get.
You get nervous when you’re unsure about the future.
You might fail to score high marks in board exams – many students do – you cannot control the results.
Nervousness is a symptom that you don’t trust yourself. So, the issue is not nervousness, but rather self-trust.
Want to deepen your trust?
You’ve been fighting with the nervousness. It’s time to stop that. Here’s how:
Sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and feel your nervousness. Accept it and stop fighting. Don’t condemn it – rather be friends with it.
Feel it thoroughly – surrender to it.
Say to yourself, “I acknowledge that I am nervous about the board results. I don’t know if I shall be able to get high marks in board exams. And I also know there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Keep your eyes closed and be a witness to how you feel. You may feel anything from doubt to fear to insecurity – whatever the feeling – experience it totally – surrender.
Stay in this state for a couple of minutes, and the nervousness shall start disappearing – not by your effort, but by your submission.”
Now, you know what to do whenever you get nervous about the board exams.
Just close your eyes, and surrender. Surrendering will give back you the energy that was being wasted fighting the nervousness.
Try this technique whenever you feel like it. Gradually, the nervousness shall lose the grip it once had on you.
Make Time for Fun
Preparing for board exams can make you feel lost and tired at times.
There’s no need to torture yourself though. Prepare sincerely but also make some time for fun. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Go for a walk.
Watch a movie.
Spend time with friends.
Play games (or maybe video games, huh?)
Spend some time on fun activities – they’ll help you relax – and as a result, you shall be able to study vigorously.
Practice “Ten Years”
“Ten Years” is a collection of board exam question papers for the last ten years. Practice them as much as you could because that will give you a sense of confidence. You’ll know the typical pattern CBSE board question papers follow.
Set the timer on your mobile and try to solve one question paper within the time limit. Doing so will help you fine-tune your writing speed and also the time you spend on each question. This practice helps in preparing yourself for the ‘real’ board exams.
Practice CBSE Model Sample Papers
Just like ‘Ten Years’, the CBSE model sample papers are also a good way to practice. The model test papers are similar to ‘Ten Years’ except that they are not real question papers. They are like a sample – similar but not the same.
The questions you attempt in model sample papers or ‘Ten Years’ are for practice only. Also, be careful not to fall for ‘Guess papers.’ Nobody can guess the questions that are going to appear in your board examination.
Be sure to practice model test papers but don’t buy the gimmick that those are the only questions you need to practice. You see, model test papers can help you get the ‘feel’ of the CBSE board pattern. That’s it! Nothing more. Also, CBSE changes the board exams question papers pattern from time to time. Make sure you’re aware of the latest pattern issued by CBSE.
Attend ‘Extra Classes’ to Clear Your Doubts
There’s a saying, “Eat everything but never eat your doubts.”
There are only two kinds of people who don’t have doubts – the most intelligent, and the dumbest. Rest of us need to do some work to clear our doubts. And how do you do that? By asking questions.
You can clear your last minute doubts by attending extra classes. Most of the schools help board students by providing additional coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity.
Check the Date Sheet Twice
In the 12th board exams, I studied for some other subject than the scheduled one. And I realised the mistake just a day before. Fortunately, I’ve had revised enough in advance, so I did well.
Paste a copy of the datasheet in a place where you can see it often – the mirror on the dressing table, the refrigerator, or on the books almirah. It’s important to know the exact dates of all your exams (subject-wise).
Visit the Examination Centre Once in Advance
Visit your exam centre once before your first board exam.
Familiarise yourself with the route, the bottlenecks, and the reasonable amount of time needed to reach there.
Don’t assume you’ll locate the exam centre with Google maps on the exam day itself. A Google map is handy for sure, but it is still a map – a collection of lines and images, which at times may confuse you. So, don’t take the risk.
Check the Supplies
Nothing could be more frustrating than opening the geometry box and finding no pencil. Yes, it could happen. We forget things when we’re stressed. You may assume everything is ready for tomorrow’s exam (and guess what, you may be wrong).
Check everything. I mean everything you need for tomorrow’s exam – pens, pencils, sharpeners, rulers, or anything else you might need.
Never assume. Always confirm.
The Night Before Exam Day
Suppose you had to participate in a race in the morning at 7 am, would you keep running until 3 am the night before? You won’t because your legs need time to recover from training so they can help you win the race. Just like your body, your mind also needs time to recover so you could do your best in the exam.
Many students study till late in the night before the exam day, and as a result, they get very little sleep. The body and mind get disturbed, and they face a hard time solving the question paper the next morning. Many students fail to recall even the most straightforward answers because the mind was tired.
Make sure you focus on studies during exams days until 6-7 pm. After that, forget about – do something to relax.
Go for a walk.
Watch your favourite TV show.
Do something fun.
And then, sleep earlier than usual. A deep sleep refreshes the body and mind – and prepares you for the next day.
Wake up a little early in the morning and revise the main points of the subject. That’s it. Don’t fuss. Don’t’ be anxious.
If you’ve had appropriately studied in the past two months or so, you’d feel comfortable. Anxiety is just an indicator of unpreparedness.
It’s no use stuffing the brain on the morning of exam day. The best thing would be to stay calm and kind of indifferent. A relaxed mind will help you answer better than an anxious one.
Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes
Want to try out new clothes or a pair of new shoes? Great! Just remember not to do that on your exam days.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing a t-shirt for the first time except that our skin takes time to get used to new things. And that’s why wearing a new piece of clothing or shoes on the exam day can make you uncomfortable. And that might distract you in the examination hall.
Eat a Light Breakfast
Make sure to eat breakfast before leaving for the exam centre. Keep it light and healthy and avoid oily foods like Paranthas or Poodis. Greasy food is a little hard on the stomach, and it might make you uneasy.
Also, oily food makes you drink more water than usual – which could affect your writing flow in the examination hall. You don’t want to waste your precious time visiting washrooms too often.
Do Remember to Carry Your Admit Card
I was in the examination hall attempting my B.A.1st-year question paper. The invigilator asked for my admit card. I unfolded the piece of paper, which I thought to be my admit card, and I was like, “Holy shit! What’s this? ”
I had mistakenly carried some useless piece of paper instead of the admit card. I explained to the invigilator and, thank Ram Ji; he allowed me to carry on.
It was a narrow escape; he could’ve barred me from the exam.
Moral of the story: Do remember to carry the admit card (and double check that it is, in fact, your admit card and not some junk paper).
Read the Question Paper from Start to Finish
Read the question paper from beginning till the end (before you attempt it).
It’ll give you a sense of how many answers you know and how many you don’t.
Take a deep breath and attempt the first question you’re confident about.
Attempt only the questions you know well, first (let’s call it the first phase). And keep the ones you’re not confident about for the second phase.
Let’s say you know answers to all the questions except Q1 and Q7. Don’t waste time figuring out how to solve them. Instead move on and answer others questions. That’ll save you a lot of time.
Once the first phase is over, go back to the questions about which you’re not so sure.
Now, try to think ways to answer those questions too. Aim to attempt as many questions as you could as that can help you score maximum marks.
Create a Separate Column for Rough Work, and Mark it So
There must be a clear distinction between ‘Rough Work’, and the answers. You must make sure there’s no confusion between the two.
As soon as you receive the answer sheet, create a separate column (preferably on the right-hand side) – for rough work (calculations and ideas), and mark the column ‘R.W.’, or ‘Rough Work.’
It is relevant for subjects requiring little extra work.
Mixing answers and rough work on the answer sheet is likely to confuse the examiner, which can negatively affect your score.
Oh! You Want to Score Good Marks in Board Exams? Hmm. Let’s See
That’s how losers sound.
Such people continuously demoralise you to feel good about themselves.
They know they aren’t competent enough to score well and they don’t want you to score high either. Such people can steal your dream by talking negatively about your plans.
Remember, your dream is your most valuable asset. Don’t let anyone steal it. And before anybody even tries, kick’em out of your life.
Regular Studies Make the Most Impact
Suppose you eat junk food all the time – seven days a week – 365 days a year. And once in a while, you eat healthy food, too. Which would be more impactful – junk food or healthy food?
You know the answer.
Now, imagine a friend inviting you to his birthday party (during the ongoing board exams). Would that impact your studies? Hell no!
What you do regularly make the most impact – not what you occasionally do (in this case the party).
So, go ahead and enjoy that delicious, creamy, chocolaty cake (hey, save some for me too).
Get a Sound Sleep
Do you have a pen near you? Grab it. Yes, grab it. Now, loosen your grip. What happens? It just drops down, right?
Now grab it again. Take your hand back and then throw it. It drops, but a little forward this time. Now, I can almost hear you thinking, “What does it have to do with board exams or even sleep for that matter?”
Well, the point is, you need to take a step back at times to move forward in life.
You can study in the morning vigorously if you slept peacefully last night. I have seen many students compromising on sleep.
Don’t do that baby!
Balance your studies and sleep.
Study hard so you can sleep tired. And get sound sleep so you can study with focus.
It can be challenging to score good marks in board exams, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Just be a little more mindful, and you’ll be on your way to achieving success. Good luck!
CBSE 2019 Board Exam Schedule
10th board exams: 21st February to 29th March
12th board exams: 15th February to 03rd April
You can download the date-sheet from CBSE website.