Success in Board Exams: Hone your exam skills with these tips

3 min read

Dr Amrita Dass, Founder-Director, Institute for Career Studies (ICS) Educationist & Career Consultant

The article has been published by the India Today Web Desk


Exams postponement should be used wisely. (Image Credit: Freepik)

The countdown has started. You are about to appear for your board examinations. You wonder whether your study approach is suitable, whether it will be a tough paper, etc. And although you’ve been revising regularly, sometimes, your mind goes blank.

Let me assure you that most of us experience these feelings because of nervous tension before exams. Right now, what you should focus on is using the exams postponement to revise thoroughly.

The following strategies will help you hone your exam skills:

Before-exam Tips

1. Revise Effectively

Make brief lesson-wise notes. This acts as a recapitulation exercise and saves the time of rummaging through textbooks at the last minute.

Use the following memory techniques –

  • Monitor your comprehension
  • Read examples to clarify concepts
  • Use mnemonics like rhymes, acronyms and letter links
  • Organise your ideas
  • Repeat key points

2. Solve Model Test Papers

This is a must to practise time management during exams.

3. Make a Smart Study Schedule

Maintain a smart study schedule. Study heavy and light subjects alternately. Don’t indulge in selective study. Take short breaks between periods of concentrated study.


Tips for writing the papers

1. Read questions carefully; Time your answers

Preferably pick questions that require to-the-point, short answers or diagrammatic representation. Leave space for answers you would like to attempt later.

2. Focus on Presentation

Neatness is very important. Go for paragraphing and spacing. Avoid erasing, scratching, etc. In each paragraph, underline the key sentence.

Use your general knowledge wherever relevant. Remember, like all challenges, taking an exam competently depends on effective planning, efficient strategies and a confident approach.

3. Complete Early; Check the Answer Sheet

Complete your paper at least 10 minutes early and go through your answer sheet. Check that you have not omitted any question/sub-question. Ensure that you have numbered your answers correctly, and recorded your details (name, school name, roll number) properly.

4. Watch out for these Words

The following words are commonly found in essay-type questions. Understanding them is essential.

  • Analyse: Break into parts and discuss, examine/interpret each.
  • Compare: Examine two or more aspects. Identify similarities and differences.
  • Contrast: Show differences / Set in opposition.
  • Criticise: Make judgments. Evaluate comparative worth. Criticism often involves analysis.
  • Define: Give the meaning – specific to the course/subject. Definitions are usually short.
  • Describe: Give a detailed account. List characteristics, qualities, etc.
  • Discuss: Debate the pros and cons of an issue. Write about any conflict. Compare and contrast.
  • Enumerate: List ideas, aspects, events, things, qualities, reasons, etc.
  • Evaluate: Give your opinion or cite an expert’s opinion. Include evidence to support the evaluation.
  • Explain: Show logically how an idea/concept is developed. Give reasons for an event.
  • Illustrate: Explain through concrete examples/comparisons.
  • Interpret: Comment, give examples, describe relationships, explain the meaning, describe, then evaluate.
  • Outline: Describe key ideas, characteristics or events.
  • Prove: Support with facts – especially those presented in class or in the text.
  • Relate: Show the connections between ideas or events. Provide a larger context.
  • State: Explain precisely.
  • Summarise: Give a brief, condensed account with conclusions.
  • Trace: Show the progress of a subject/event.

Remember, there’s no short cut to success. If you’ve worked hard, you will succeed. Additionally, a nutritious diet, regular exercise, adequate rest and a positive attitude will make a huge difference.

Good Luck!


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