Looking beyond exams for effective learning

Looking beyond exams for effective learning

not just grades Good results don't always guarantee a successful life. The current world needs a workforce that is dynamic, experimental and inquisit

Looking beyond exams for effective learning

As the exams approach, students face anxiety in a big way. On the other hand, students who are confident about their preparations cause anxiety in their homes because of their apparent nonchalant attitude.

Regardless of what grades students study in, many are of the opinion that only pure memorisation leads to good results. The performance purely depends upon how well they memorise and reproduce the subject matter. But we all know the reality.

Exams are not the perfect evaluators of  learning, knowledge or skills of students. In fact, every classroom will have students who study just before the exams and score better than the ones who would have slogged their entire year.

It has also been observed that a student who is good in creative and out-of-the-box thinking is rarely rewarded in terms of grades. In fact, many such students don’t manage to get excellent grades because they cannot train their mind to focus on memorisation and reproduction of the right answers.

On the other hand, it has also been proven that students who begin their education in India and then go abroad for their higher studies and work, perform exceedingly well. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the lives of Satya Nadella, Vishal Sikka, and Rajiv Suri.

There is a lesson for all of us in these examples. While one needs to score well in exams, one also needs to understand and imbibe the true meaning of the subjects. These successful people didn’t just stick to their syllabi and dared to venture beyond the routine. They analysed, questioned and evaluated everything that came their way, academically or otherwise.

Hence, it is safe to assume that the road to true success lies in maintaining a proper balance of the learning process and exam preparation. Here are a few simple tips that may help in attaining this balance:
For students:

Before studying a topic, question what it is all about, how it is connected to what you have learnt earlier, how its learning would be useful to you in future, and what are the challenging issues in that topic. This process doesn’t take much time and helps you get more involved in your preparation.

After completing a topic, revise your learnt concepts. If it helps, connect it to some real-life incidents or discuss it with your friends. You can also try to apply the learnt concepts to your daily life. These activities help retain the matter for a long time.
 Never stop questioning. When you learn the right answer for a particular question, try to understand the reasons behind the rightfulness of the answer. It satisfies your creative and exploratory mind, and helps develop a good memory.
Divide every topic into smaller bits and examine them. The most difficult decisions of life can be resolved if we take them up in installments. Understand the first part completely before you move on to the next one. If you fail to do that, you may be able to memorise answers, but true learning would not have taken place.

Have long-term career goals and try to connect each subject with your ambitions. Many students neglect certain subjects thinking that they are not relevant to their proposed career, but that is not true.

Recently, a student who was passionate about becoming a pilot realised a little too late, that geography is as important as physics in aviation. Another student who went to Germany for his higher
studies found that he was picking up on German pretty fast as his grandfather had taught him Sanskrit, a language that shares similar roots of grammar with German.

In today’s technologically-advanced world, it is being predicted that DNA chips will replace the silicon chip in computers and cyborgs (combination of cyber and organic) will soon be a reality.

Consequently, a person who is an expert in computer science technology will also need to possess a strong foundation in biology too. The list is endless, but the lesson to be learnt is that a vehicle runs on four wheels. Neglecting any one subject can hold you back or create limitations later.

When the exams get over, many students neglect their textbooks, which is a mistake. This mistake creates a gap between the previous year’s learning and the beginning of the next year and students struggle to catch up with the learning pace again.

After exams, do make it a point to revise the learnt material at least once. By doing one last revision, you would have strengthened and reinforced your learning and you would be better equipped to face the challenges of the upcoming year.

For parents and teachers:

Yes, there is too much competition right now and you want your child to score the highest marks. But do give a thought to the above-mentioned factors before you pressurise your child to perform well.

Ensure that you spend some quality time with your child discussing the learning process, the methodology of learning most suitable to each one, and how true learning will ensure that they are happy and content.

Know your child’s capacity and their shortcomings before you burden him with high expectations.

It has been proved many a times, that the topper of a class is not the one who ends up with the best career or the highest salary. It is important for the young minds to understand the true meaning of learning. They need to look beyond their exams and focus on prepping themselves for the dynamic world. Only a true learner can survive and live a better life  in the future.