With the festival season now gone by, all energies and attention would be directed towards the December attempt of the CS exam.
With less than two months left, as study time tables and exam strategies are being formulated, I thought it apt to pen down the ‘Mantra to score 80 plus in CS theory exams’..: basis my experience having scored 80 in Company Law and exemption in some other theory exams. (I mention this not for self -aggrandisement but for credibility)
This post may certainly raise quite a few eyebrows..
For in an exam where the average passing percentage hardly exceeds 5, aspiring to score 80 that to in a theory paper, would be an illusory conversation for most CS students and their teachers!
Even the select few yearning a 70 or 80 on their scorecard generally hope to quench their thirst by focusing on practical subjects like Company Accounts and Financial Management.
However, by due consideration of the following coupled with self- belief and confidence, one can easily score excellent grades even in theory subjects.
> Identify your stimulus:
To achieve extra ordinary results in any field, it is key to identify a stimulus which would keep one going despite all odds. For me, what spurred me to action, was an urge to ‘give back’ to my mother for all her monetary, mental and physical support in my upbringing.
One can easily identify her stimulus by introspection and conversation with well-wishers.
> Strategy before the Exam :
Apart from deepening one’s study of the subject, the following warrant consideration.
1. Identify the ‘Kam Main Bam’:
In every subject, there are topics which I refer to as ‘Kam Main Bam’, by which I mean topics which are not only conceptually easy but have a Sure Shot possibility of being asked in exams. These can be identified through analysis of past papers (generally through graphs and pie charts at the initial pages of most scanners). One must gain a mastery over these topics. Though generally asked for 3 to 6 marks, scoring 80 to 100 percent in such questions significantly enhances the final score.
2. Target Case Study questions:
Questions on Case studies are like Jaspreet Bumrah for most CS students: which have somehow to be played out, avoided if optional.
However, thorough knowledge of the subject coupled with good presentation of the content make case studies very scoring. While writing, one should follow the format PIRC:
P= Provision, I= issue, R= Reason, C= Conclusion.
3. Target Distinguish between:
Almost all theory subjects have topics which are plausible distinguish between questions. Scanners of most publications have separate sections on ‘Distinguish between’ in all chapters. One must be thorough with these and present them well in the exam. These questions if attempted well yield 100 % marks.
4. Be Jack of All Traits:
While Specialisation is the Mantra for professional success, to score well in exams, one must have knowledge of all topics in a subject. While the extent of time and effort may certainly vary, no topic can be totally ignored. In severe time constraints, one must at least browse through the past questions of some seemingly less significant topics.
5. Target full marks in MCQs wherever applicable.
> Strategy while attempting the exam
1. Have a peaceful mind:
The state of one’s mind just prior to the exam has a direct nexus with the result. The few minutes at the exam centre before the question paper is handed over should be micro managed: positive thoughts and self-confidence should completely eclipse all negativity and wasteful group discussions. A short prayer or a couple of minutes of meditation are the perfect start to the exam.
2. Read all questions first:
One must briefly read all questions first to formulate her strategy. The practical questions or longer questions should be attempted first. Preference must be given to questions with more sub parts ( Eg: in 16 markers, a 4×4 question shall be given preference over a 8×2 question). Notwithstanding the above, one must always attempt what she knows best, first.
3. Answer the question:
The structure of the answer varies according to the phraseology of the question. Answers to ‘Comment’ or ‘Agree/ Disagree’ questions shall necessarily begin and/ or end with the examinee’s comment/ opinion in respect of the given statement. ‘Explain’ questions can be answered in a free flow.
4. Value Addition:
If one dreams of an 80, her answer must be unique and extra ordinary beyond the standard expectation of the examiner. This can be achieved by incorporating any of the following
a) Section numbers and Case laws wherever possible
b) Amendments to the provision, if any
c) Practical usage or critique of the provision
5. Decent Presentation
6. Attempt all questions :
If one pays heed to the aforesaid, whatever may be the subject, they can easily score commendable grades.