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Maths on your finger tips: 8 mantras for success

Last updated on: February 14, 2011 15:17 IST

Maths on your finger tips: 8 mantras for success

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KK Goel and Suresh Kumar

Now that the final board exams are around the corner, most of you must be preparing hard to achieve excellent results in every subject and even targeting a 100% score. If that be so, here are 8 mantras to scoring 100% in mathematics.

1. Be confident and say so!

You dream to score a 100% but you seldom say it aloud. You might say aloud that your target is 90+ or 95+, leaving some space for doubt. Success belongs to those who dare. So, believe firmly that you can, and dare to say so aloud.

The writers are examination experts at TCYonline.com


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2. Analyse your current score.

Try to analyse your current score, and understand what keeps you away from getting all the answers right. If your score in the formative tests and pre-boards has been above 80%, then you can cheer up! It means that "your fundamentals are very strong."

Score: 60-80% If your score has been in the range of 60-80%, then you need to brush up your concepts before working on last minute test-taking strategies.

In both the above cases, the problems are different and so are the solutions. If your score is 60-80%, here's some advice.

You need to brush up your fundamentals: pick up an NCERT text book. Scan the chapters and mark those that you are not very comfortable with. These are the areas you need to work on. Don't hesitate to approach your favourite trainer or your best friend to discuss and solve problems.

Score: 80-100% Your fundamentals are sound but you have not been able to achieve perfection. You've lost marks here and there.

Let us explore the underlying causes:

  • Trivial mistakes.
  • Inability to solve conceptual problems.
  • Vital steps missing in a theorem or in the solution of some problem. Knowing the reasons is only the first step. The more important step is the remedial measure.
  • Go deep into your answer sheets and find out where you are losing marks. How does one do this? Let's say you scored 90 in your pre-board exams. Clearly, you lost 10 marks and obviously don't want to repeat the same in the boards.
  • You have to first find out how and why you lost those 10.

For this, pick up your answer sheet. Go to the questions in which you lost marks and identify in each of them on why you lost marks. At the end of this process, you will get the real reason for losing 10 marks. If you do this exercise with as many answer sheets as possible, you will come to know the kind of problem you generally face. Then you will say something like, "I lost marks because of (a) OR I lost because of (b) or because of (c) OR I lost because of (a) and (b) both." The best part here is that you now know your weaknesses. Remember, one can only improve if one knows what to improve.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
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3. Tackle trivial mistakes

If you analyse the silly mistakes you make, you may find a few of the following categories:

A. Calculation mistakes: Most of the calculation mistakes occur in mensuration and statistics. Remember always to recheck the calculation in questions from these topics.

B. Complicated algebraic expressions: These need to be simplified. Be careful while transposing terms from one side of the equation to the other. Be careful about the signs of terms while expanding expressions with exponents.

C. Consistency: Be careful while carrying expressions and equations from one page to the next: Many students make errors while they carry forward. As far as possible, avoid a situation where you have to carry forward. That means it is always better to start a new question on a fresh page.

D. Wrong diagram: Compare your diagrams with the information given in the question. This is a must before starting to solve the problem. A wrong diagram can put you into a lot of trouble. Writing the correct data in a diagram is all the more important.

E. Weak basics: Master the formulas and identities. Understand the formulas and identities. Many students confuse mensuration formula of one figure for another.


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4. Tackle unfamiliar questions

When you revise, pay more attention to the concept involved in each question and try to understand how the concept is used. Use miscellaneous exercises in textbooks for practice of these types of questions. Remember the famous saying by Einstein: "If you can not put it in simple words, you have not understood it completely."

5. Do not miss steps

Understand the logic behind each step you use in a solution. If you understand the logic, then you will never miss further steps. Refer to the blue print and marking scheme available on www.cbse.nic.in. There you will find the weightage given to each step during evaluation.

6. Nothing can substitute rigorous practice To score 100%, you have to practice with complete devotion and commitment. Don't treat it like you are doing rough work. It is not rough work; it is serious work. Use good question banks and practice papers. You may find lots of practice material at steps.tcyonline.com. Practice for about two hours every day without fail.


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7. Tips for the final days

A. On the day before the examination. Take a little look at formulas, summaries and important tricks. Make sure you get sound sleep. Don't stay awake through the night. This is not at all required.
B. On the day of the exam. Solve a few simple questions as a warm up exercise in the morning. Don't mingle with friends who panic. Be confident and get into the examination hall saying "I am here to take on a challenge". Take a moment to recall the best times that you have ever had; be it the first six that you hit in the cricket sometime or the first 100 you scored in class.
C. In the examination hall. Use the first 15 minutes to read the question paper and plan your strategy. Attempt all the easy questions first and then the difficult ones. Finish the paper at least half an hour before the scheduled time. Take care of the silly mistakes you normally make and correct them if you find any. Check your work in the last 30 minutes; especially the calculations and the formulae. Check and ensure that your answers make sense and they are logical.

8. Take care of your health

Last but not the least, take good care of yourself. Take care of your health. Go for a diet that is light but full of energy. Remember, you can't afford falling sick in these days.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
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