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Class XII exams: Maths = nightmares?
Shilpa Shet
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February 05, 2007

Mathematics is what defines life on earth, said physicist Albert Einstein. 

Some of us probably haven't yet understood what life is, or for that matter what maths is.

But maths is relevant to you if you are a Class XII student preparing for your higher secondary board exams, which are just around the corner.

While the syllabus varies for different boards, like the CBSE, state boards etc, there are a few critical, common chapters that run across all syllabi.

Dinkar Bhat, who conducts private coaching for Class XII students in Pune, says, "Most students are afraid of maths because they don't understand it fully. Students come with many misconceptions. So, I start by first building their fundamentals."

For those who have conquered the fundamentals, all they need now is practice. For those, who haven't, the tips given below could benefit you: 

Relook at the study order of chapters

Presuming most have tried going through the syllabus once, you need to identify the topic that you are worried about most.  For example, if it is vectors, focus on it currently and master it. Do as many practice exercises as you can. Then move on to the next on your priority list.

If you have created a subject-wise timetable, see that you also create a chapter-wise timetable within each subject. So, for example, if you have allotted three days for mathematics, identify the number of hours you will spend on each chapter within mathematics. It is okay if one chapter takes longer -- readjust your timetable. Try to stick to your scheduled number of days.

Some chapters have greater relevance than others

The importance of the chapters is based on how relevant they are in your studies beyond Class XII. These include vectors, calculus, geometry, matrices, integration, derivatives, and probability.

Five-year plan

The board normally allots weightages for each chapter. There are some chapters that have been given lesser weightage than other chapters.

Check the examination papers of the last five years and identify these chapters.

Note: Understand that the board is likely to change this pattern, but the papers might give you an indicator.

Formulae are important

It would help if you first memorise the formula, next practice with an example, and then go back and write down the formula from memory. 

Cram exercises and examples into this break

The day before your exams start all you need to do is list down all the formulas and important points from each chapter. There is no time to sit and practice then. Just go through solved equations and exercises.

Take adequate rest

Bhat says, "You cannot learn maths in one day. You can merely refresh what you already know. Therefore, do not try to memorise anything during that last day. Eat well, sleep well, and stay relaxed. Many of my students even watch a television show to release tension."

"I know many students who sit up all night trying to `solve' equations. They faint when they suddenly enter the closed classroom environment. They lose out on time and sharp reflexes if that happens, " he adds. 

Get online

If you do not have immediate expert help on some difficult problem, you could go online and check with discussion boards and query forums. The answers may not be instantaneous but your doubts will be cleared (see links below).

During the exam

~ Many experts say that it is important to understand the question correctly. Read each question at least three times before you start attempting the answer.

~ Do all your calculations on a rough sheet.

~ Go through the paper and split the questions in three types: tough, not so tough, and easy. Start with the tough questions. And eventually move on to the easy questions.

Important links:

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