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Board exams or IIT prep? Strike a balance

Last updated on: January 29, 2010 17:28 IST

Besides acing your board or final exams, there's a bigger challenge awaiting many of you in Class XI, XII this academic year: striking a balance between school studies and preparing for entrance exams for IIT, engineering and medical programmes.

Attending school and test prep classes, living up to your parents' and teachers' expectations and coping with this vast influx of knowledge, can prove to be pretty stressful!
 
Read these simple tips on how to strike a balance and give adequate attention to both school and your preparation for IIT-JEE and other competitive exams.

And be less stressed!
 
Look at the big picture
Ensure that your goal is clear: do you want to be an engineer and crack the IIT-JEE? Or get into medical school? Once you decide on the goal to be achieved do not expend energies on doubting your potential! Plan each day of the academic year, taking into account that you need to divide your time and energies between school and your test prep classes.

Do not ignore school
Many students make the mistake of neglecting school work and focusing only on competitive exams. Homework, project work, taking class tests or unit tests and completing practical work, are just as important. Treat school a practice ground for all competitive exams! There are two scenarios:

  • Your test preparatory centre may cover the syllabus faster than your schools. So, why not school classes as concept revision time? Listen to what your teacher is saying, and crosscheck with your understanding of concepts. Clarify all doubts in your classroom, then and there.
  • The chapters covered at your test preparatory centre are different from that done in schools. In this case, make sure that you keep pace with chapters taught at the centre. Treat school classes as introductory sessions, and be mentally prepared to absorb a little more on those days.

Take all tests at school
No skipping! If you have already completed these chapters at your centre, make the effort to score well. If not, you will know that you need to work harder on these chapters.

Sometimes, you may have tests in chapters not already completed in your test preparatory centre. Take the test anyway and do not worry about how you score. It's important to stay positive, and test your knowledge on area only covered in introductory sessions at school.

Your good marks might surprise you! So, don't underestimate your potential to understand concepts well enough in introductory sessions only. If you don't fare so well, don't be discouraged. Focus and prepare for the next test! 

Beyond exams
Besides class and your test prep centre, you also need to factor in time spent on recurring school activities like lab work, project work, assignments, etc. One way to anticipate the time spent on these is to talk to seniors and get a heads-up.

My teacher, my guide
Take your school teachers into confidence, and discuss problem areas whenever you find time. Is your time management working? Do you have subject-related queries? They can also suggest a logical way out, which is aligned to your goal as well.

Take a break!
In between tests, and travelling from school and back, and the centre and back, it's very important to 'chill'. Short vacations and spending time with your family and friends, is a must.

These time-outs will help you rejuvenate as well as refresh your energy levels. Secondly, they give you the space to introspect on your study strategy; what's going well, what's not going so well at school and the centre.

Identify corrective measures, discuss with your elders, friends and teachers, and get ahead!

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