Ready for entrance test?

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Ready for entrance test?

Preparations for entrance examinations should be from Day 1 of XI Standard or I PU to have assured success, suggests Sethuraman P R.

Every student aspiring to become an engineer or a doctor would love to get qualified, preferably within the top 500 at national level, for admission into a professional college of repute and of his/her choice. But the question that haunts the students who are on the verge of completing X Standard examinations is: when do I start preparing for these entrance examinations, should it be when I move into XI Standard/I PU or during XII Standard/II PU or after the two year course? Academic experts with their rich experience and wisdom help you take the correct decision right now!

The only way to make their dream come true is that they start early, very early, say from the very first day of their admission into XI Standard/I PU, says a senior faculty member from a reputed institute. 

Most of the students feel that they would be able to crack the entrance examinations successfully if they start preparing sometime during the second year. This is not at all adequate. 

Getting qualified through entrance examinations needs focused preparation, as focused as Arjuna in Mahabharata, and with lots of practice from XI Standard/I PU days onwards. 

With substantial increase in student enrolment in XI Standard/I PU in the recent past, there is more competition among the students at national level in getting qualified through entrance examinations. 

The student needs to understand and be convinced that his/her academic performance at the end of 2-year course will be one of the factors that decide his/her admission into a professional course. 

This requires intensive efforts from the student for the entire course duration and the knowledge, skills and attitude that he/she acquires during this period will have its impact not just on the admission into a professional course soon after completion of higher secondary/PU, but will have its impact on his/her entire academic and professional path, and also on his/her getting groomed and developed as an individual. 

Further, the student should be very clear in his/her mind as to which course he/she would be taking and the institution where he/she would like to seek admission. To put it in simpler words, the student should be very clear about his/her destination or target to be achieved. Accordingly, he/she has to work towards reaching the target right from I PU onwards.

 Choosing the right course after higher secondary/PU is an important factor which should align with his/her fields of interest such as engineering and technology, medical, science, commerce, arts and linguistics etc. in which he/she would like to pursue the career. 

Such a perspective underlines the importance of proper planning by the student at this stage itself for future line of action. 
Speed and accuracy

There is a misconception among the students that preparing for the entrance examinations is as good as preparing for the board examinations. But it is not so. At this juncture, the students should be clear about the nature and purpose of Board examinations and entrance examinations. 

The strategy for tackling an entrance examination for admission into a professional course is quite different from that for handling the Board examination and the students should be made aware of this and be convinced.

While the questions in Board examinations are mostly subjective, covering within the syllabus framework with ample choice in answering the questions aimed mainly at testing the memory of the students, questions in the entrance examinations are totally objective, designed to test the level of understanding of the concepts and with no option for choice in answering the questions; above all, responding to the MCQs should be not only accurate, but also fast. Such a speed and accuracy skill in answering MCQs in the entrance examinations will be possible only if the student practices with more and more questions. 

Practice, practice, practice is the only Mantra for success in entrance examinations in this context.

In a broader perspective, the student should also be convinced that improving any type of life skills at any stage will be possible only with more and more practice.

Doing well in entrance/competitive examinations depends not only on a student's intelligence but on the skill sets that he/she acquires, like speed and accuracy, approach to handling the examination like calmness and ability to analyze, planning on effective utilization of time and resources etc; and these skill sets are acquired over a long period of time. 

Only with meticulous and continuous practice during the two years, a student will be able to crack the entrance examination successfully with no scope for error. Without such a preparation, one cannot do well in the entrance examination, however bright he/she may be. 
Right ambience 

It is not enough just to practice with more and more questions, but one should analyze his/her performance in practice tests and identify his/her strengths and weaknesses and work on eliminating weaknesses for further improving test performance. 

Such practice tests should be taken under conditions similar to examination environment. While this type of examination environment could be simulated at home itself by the students, it would be more realistic when such situations/facilities are offered to the students in an institutional environment. The observation made by an expert in this context is worth mentioning. 

He says, "Most often we hear students lament that they can solve the questions easily at home, but not in the examination hall; and this is where the importance of a simulated environment comes in, which only an institution can give." Thus creating the right ambiance for taking practice tests is a must.

Institutions where students are trained for facing entrance examinations in a highly professional manner provides them with lot of opportunities for intensive practice, through weekly/fortnightly/monthly tests - both pen and paper and on-line versions. 

Subsequent interactive sessions with faculty for clarification of doubts and for guidance in improving their test performance are also arranged. 

The students are thus trained and well prepared/guided for taking the right approach in tackling a question in the shortest possible time through short- cut methods.

Cracking the entrance examination creditably has its roots in proper understanding and application of the concepts taught by the teachers during the two year course. 

Teaching effectiveness on these fronts could very well be increased if only the teacher could relate the new concepts, theorems, hypotheses etc to day-to-day real situations and incidents while teaching. 

This will enable the students in better understanding of the concepts and its application; in turn this will lead the students to respond to the MCQs accurately and also in shortest possible time. 

Such a performance will lead them to cracking the examination successfully. This approach has already been tried and found very valuable by some of the reputed institutions in Bangalore. One may therefore conclude that starting the preparations for entrance examinations should be from Day 1 of XI Standard/I PU to have assured success in these examinations post-higher secondary/PU course.

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