Exam Preparations

Explains learning system for 10th and 12th students and provides practical tips for Exam Preparation

Event :- Seminar on Exam Preparation conducted on 26th Jan 2012.

Venue :- Swaminarayan Temple, Sabri Hall, Kandivali (E), Mumbai 400101, Maharashtra, India

Organizers :- Yogi Divine Society.

Speaker :- Mr. Rajesh Patkar (M.E. computers) , Director Rajesh Patkar Institute

This seminar describes a time tested Learning System to prepare students for exams.The whole seminar is divided into 8 parts.To get the best result see the videos in the Video PlayList Sequentially

Learning System

Pressure Utilization

Why do we have that feeling of tension when we go for an exams or appear for an interview or are asked to deliver a public speech? When our ego is attacked at the core, our reptilian brain gets active, which results in creation of certain fluids in our body. These fluids affect our perceptions . It becomes a battle for survival and you start experiencing that unpleasant state of mind called anxiety or tension.

Reptilian brain is known for its Fight( I will overcome impediments) or Flight ( It's a hopeless situation) Response. So during exams students feel lost, helpless and are full of worries and tension. Train your brain to Fight and not to Flight... But How? ...You need a system. You need to know what the problem exactly is , before you try to solve it. You need to know where you stand on the map before you can start using the map. You can use the pressure situation to your advantage.It can be a blessing in disguise.

Pressure State discussed in this video session is a Negative Pressure State, like tension or frustration.There are Positive Pressure States caused by Passion, Motivation. In both the scenarios one needs to utilize the Pressure (Energy trying to express itself)

Exam Preparation - 1. Pressure Utilization

Preserving Attention

Time Dilation using Flow Technique

Time Management and Time Table won't help if Attention Management is not taken care of. Just allocating some time for an activity doesn't gaurantee results. How much attention you have allocated to the work at hand is vital. The rate of interruption in any given task is increasing with proliferation of technologies like mobile phones.

Productivity can be achieved when you completely align yourself with the task at hand. We must achieve a flow state to be most productive. Flow cannot be heralded at our wish, unless we are masters of our calling. The reason some people find themselves more productive at nights is that there is minimal distraction and flow is easy to come.

When Flow comes Time dilates ( relativity of time) . What you can do in 1 hour in a flow may not happen in a week's time without flow. Effectively, with time dilation you are increasing your time if you enter a flow state.

Time management is important but Attention Management is vital. Students and Professionals who learn the skill of Attention Management achieve more in less time.

Attention is one of the Most Valuable Resource for a student. Create a study space where there is minimum Attention Break, Stay away from Attention Thieves and come out of habit of Attention Proliferation. Try to reach the state of Flow and increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

Exam Preparation - 2. Preserving Attention

Pinpoint Scope

When it comes to the GOAL. ONE is a very important number.

It is really important to have ONE goal. Narrow your requirements to the extent that only ONE remains visible. Focus your energy on that scoped Target. Separate the non-essential from the essential. Take guidance from you teachers, parents, seniors or Guru if you cannot identify that ONE thing you have to focus on.

If you have only ONE thing to focus , and are able to relate all other goals as subordinates to this ONE goal , then... ,you are at a great advantage.

Preparation

For Systematic Exam Preparation, students must study the Answers keeping in mind the following 4 dimensions .

  • Conceptual
  • Factual
  • Methodical
  • Creative.

A well prepared student is one... who has acquired the following skills

  • Understanding Concepts
  • Knowing Facts
  • Following Methods
  • Being Creative

Persistence

Persistence ( Retention )

Is pushing contents form Short Term Memory to Long Term Memory.

Those who find it difficult to remember things and feel they have a poor retention capability, will need to use some of the following tools to enhance their persistence. ( Quantization, Hierarchical Organization, Sequencing ,Repetition, Visualization & Metaphor)

1) Quantization

Make things measurable and hence manageable.

2) Hierarchical Organization

Organize information in Hierarchy ( well IT guys do it always, File structures, tree, XML). Books are also organised in hierarchy ( Chapters, Topics, Subtopics etc ) .

3) Sequencing

Sequence is easy to remember ( eg time-line of FB) than the information scattered around without any common thread. Stories and Movies are easy to remember as there is a chain ( sequence) of events in it. Movies become more complex to understand when the sequencing rule is not followed. If there is no inherent sequence in the things to remember ... create one.

4) Repetition

When all else fail, one thing works, Repetition. Repetition doesn't expect too much talent from us , however it expects sincere intent and effort. It is time consuming, but always gives result.

5) Visualization

If a picture is worth a thousand words then an animation is worth a thousand pictures. If possible, try to visualize the subject you are trying to learn. When someone sees things happening in Real world or Mental world ,Retention increases. Animate the subject in your mind if you want persistence. Diagrams help.

6) Metaphors

To teach someone an airplane you can start with a sparrow, draw parallels and make learning easy. Metaphors work like magic , they increase retention and also develop deep insights. Adults ,who are self-learning new things, can use this very effectively as they already have a lot of real world and subject knowledge.

Presentation

Presentation is a subtle communication of your Ethos, Personality, Values, Beliefs, Understanding and Experience.Written communication is but one way , albeit a constrained way, of presentation.

While writing answers in a paper , especially in a subjective exams, a student must take care of a few things. Not only the content but also the formation(form factor) of you answer paper is important. Only form without content won't fetch you marks. But quality content without proper form may disappoint you in terms of marks.

Keep in mind that you have to make the life of Paper-Checker easier. Don't let the Examiner struggle to give you marks , let him feel obliged to give you marks. Your paper must please the examiner.

  1. Appropriate Content is the most important element
  2. Symmetry is Important ( Balance the placements of Diagrams , Tables and Text )
  3. Uniformity is Important ( Index, Every answer on a separate page, Paragraph alignment etc.)
  4. Highlighting is Important ( Make it easy for the examiner to know that you are aware of the salient points)
  5. Cancellation must be done neatly.
  6. Completing the Paper is Important ( No incomplete paper however neat and clean gets 100 out of 100).
  7. Use Step-wise Refinement technique where ever applicable.

Prioritisation

How to manage learning in a short period of time. What to leave out and what to concentrate on?

Prioritization

  1. Necessary
  2. Possible
  3. Impossible

Prayer

Prayer is our request to the universe to help us in our goal. Prayer opens us towards the grace of God and Guru. This grace is continuously flowing through the universe and is present in every atom. The more we are sincere in our efforts , more our heart opens towards his grace. My Guruji H.D.H.Hariprasad Swamiji says that one should always pray to God before starting any activity.

Letter to Students and Parents

In this letter to students, I have expressed my thoughts on the approach a students should have towards the outcome of an exam. I have tried to reason the equation { Outcome = Decision + Uncertainty }

Dear Students,

Are you worried about your results and your career? If yes, then It's fine, It's normal, until the worry has started disturbing your studies and affecting your lifestyle. If worrying is degrading the quality of your life, then I want you to understand the following equation.

Outcome = Decision + Uncertainty.

To understand this equation you will need to understand and few background terms and concepts. Have a look at the diagram below.


Values

Although several books have been written about Values and Value Systems, I would like you to view Value as "What We Like".Religion, Society, Companies, Schools, Colleges, Traditions and Cultures all teach us what we must like and what we must dislike. There are rewards and punishments to corroborate values. Value System is thus a framework of predefined likes and dislikes mandated by some accepted authority. However, irrespective of what the whole world says, our very own Value System is ultimately the result of What We Like.

If someone likes to be Rich and Flamboyant, then spiritual concepts like worldly detachment won't motivate him. He may agree to the concept and even appreciate it , but will not make it a part of his value system. At the end of the day, no matter what we endorse and publicly accept, our value system is defined by What We Like.

Objectives & Goals

From Values come Objectives. You like realisation of your desires. These desires emanating from your value system, create your Objectives. For instance, you are interested in money, and think of being rich, then Being Rich is your Objective. When an Objective becomes measurable it becomes a Goal. So, if your target is to earn one million dollars in the forth coming year, then that's your Goal.

As a student, passing with good marks becomes your Objective, but making this objective measurable by planning for 80% marks and preparing for it in the coming 6 months becomes your Goal.

Decisions

Goals are met only if appropriate resources are allocated to achieve it. These resources include time, money, efforts etc. Decision is about allocating these resources to achieve the Goal. If resource allocation is not done the decision is not assumed to be taken.

Outcome

Even though decisions are taken to achieve desire Goals, the real final result we get is called Outcome. Outcome may be same as desired Goal or may be different. A Successful Outcome is measured by how close it is to the desired Goal. However, only good and great decisions don't assure a successful Outcome. Ask any manager in the world and he will tell you that even the best of the decisions can lead to a failed Outcome and even poor decisions can lead to a successful Outcome. How can we explain it?

The element that affects the outcome is Uncertainty. Hence we say { Outcome = Decision + Uncertainty }.

KeyWords

  • Value What we Like
  • Objective Desires emanating from Values
  • Decision Decision is about allocating resources to achieve a desired Goal.
  • Outcome The final result obtained after taking decisions and applying the resources towards a Goal
  • Options Options define the various ways in which resources can be allocated.
  • Risk Risk is the undesirable outcome and every Option has its own set of risks.
  • Strategy Strategy is a set of complex decisions wherein same set of resources are to be used to achieve multiple Goals.

Managing Uncertainty

No matter how hard you try, or how sincere you effort is, you can't assure successful Outcome. Outcome is influenced by Uncertainty. Can we do something about this force called Uncertainty?

There are several ancient and modern approaches people use to tame this force. Most of these approaches try to convert uncertainty to certainty and hence make uncertainty manageable. Once the conversion occurs Outcome is predictable.

Few possible approaches are listed below

  • Some use Probability Models
  • Some go to Astrologers
  • Some believe in GOD
  • Some don't accept Uncertainty, they say that Uncertainty is due to ignorance. They try to push the envelope by doing Research and Development and convert Uncertainty to Certainty using Scientific approach.

I believe in God. However, in theory I am not endorsing or refuting any of the approaches, nor am I evaluating or judging them. What I am trying to convey is the realisation that the a successful Outcome is not totally in our hands. If you have worked hard and smart then you have done your duty. You have taken care of one component of the equation. You don't control the second component, and it is not productive to worry about it. You can't really control what questions will come in the mind of your Viva Examiner. However, you can prepare, practice and study for your exams.

Don't feel bad if someone judges you on the basis of your Outcome. Explain them the above mentioned equation. Mature parents and teachers don't judge students merely on the basis of outcome. You must be judged based on sincerity of your efforts. If one fail because of lack of efforts then guilt is justified. However, if one fails even after best of the efforts then retrospection, seeking guidance and reorientation of efforts is justified but not guilt. You can't control how Universe will react to your action. However, you can tell yourself that there are certain Outcomes that don't deserve you.

If something is to be judged then judge decisions as they come from Goals. And judge Goals as they come from Objectives. And judge Objectives as they come from Values. So ultimately one has to be judged on the basis of his Value system and not his successful outcomes. Real education is one that leads to refinement of Value System. If Value System is right other things eventually fall in place.

In Geeta, Lord Krishna says,

कर्मण्ये वाधिकारस्ते माँ फलेषु कदाचन

माँ कर्म फला हेतुर भुर्मतेया संगोस्त्व अकर्मणि

You have to perform your duty, and if you have done that sincerely you have completed you part of the responsibility . Outcome , is beyond your control.

{ Outcome = Decision + Uncertainty }

Lastly

Don't keep your confusion to yourself. Parents are our best friends. Talk to them , Talk to you teachers , let them help you take your decisions. Take advice from experienced people, your friends may have good intentions but they may not have the right experience, maturity and competence to guide you. Cultivate Sportsman spirit. Its not about winning or losing it about performing to our best and leaving the rest to GOD.

GOD BLESS...

Yours lovingly,

Rajesh Patkar