You are already highly motivated

  • You already know the value of hard work and true merit.
  • You know the value of smart planning and solid revision in these crucial weeks before the upcoming Board Examinations.

You are better than you know

  • You know that you are more capable than the exam results will show, since all of us can do better given a second chance.
  • But the problem is that there is no second chance with such an examination.
  • These marks are stamps upon your life forever.
  • The results from the examinations will forever be used to gauge your capability for further studies and for any career options you will choose.

You know that time is short

  • These next two months are therefore the most crucial and critical months in which you can enhance tremendously your chances of improving your results before the examinations.
  • With so little time left for the Board Exams, we need your immediate and urgent attention to your most important exams coming up in less than 2 months from now.

The good news is

  • We have seen in the past many years that after the second comparative as well as after the pre-boards examination, students have improved their average percentages by 20-40% by the final exams in March.
  • You can do the same.

But there is a catch

  • Most of what you can accomplish between now and the Board exams will depend most importantly on your determination and an inner desire to do well.
  • A high level of determination combined with smart and hard work, will allow you to show tremendous progress in these coming days.


To be successful, what you really need is focus. Focus means to concentrate intensely on your work for a few hours. Even a half hour of focused effort can get more done than an entire day of distraction and multitasking.

  1. Focus
    Distractions won’t help you focus, but do you actually cut them out? Getting into a state of concentration can take at least fifteen minutes. If you are getting distracted every five, you can’t possibly focus. Cut out email and SMS alerts and answering, etc.

  2. Become a Hermit
    Request that people don’t interrupt you. Become a hermit and stay away from other people or you will break your focus. Create a private space, refuse to talk to anyone, put a sign on your door to steer away drop-ins. Don’t answer your phone.

  3. Your Environment Matters
    Your environment impacts your ability to focus. Get a quiet corner in your house to work in, away from the television and other household noises. Set it up just the way you want it.

  4. Have Short and Long Term Goals in Mind
    Know what your goal is clearly before you start. If you aren’t sure what you want to accomplish each day, each week and in the revision time left before your exams, the confusion will make it impossible to focus.

  5. Divide the Work
    Clearly divide the work into short manageable units of work and identify what you will do first, second and third. Taking a few minutes to plan can save hours in wasted thinking. This is like sharpening the saw before chopping the wood.

  6. Set Deadlines
    Time is limited. If you only have a day to complete work that could easily take weeks, chunking it into specific deadlines will strip away everything that isn’t crucial. A tight deadline can save you from procastination.

  7. Look After Yourself
    if you allow yourself to get chronic sleep deprivation, overuse stimulants like caffeine or eat fried, fatty foods, your concentration will suffer. Try to cut out one of your unhealthy habits for just thirty days to see if there is a difference in your energy levels. Even small steps can create dramatic changes in your ability to focus.

  8. Take Short Breaks
    Uninterrupted study periods of 90-120 minutes are a must. Any less than that and you will waste too much time getting started before the flow can continue. It is, however, possible to sustain focus for longer, but you will probably benefit from a quick breaks in the longer working sessions.


Differentiation as described in Key #2 is a powerful way to plan your revision. Your differentiation strategy must be developed first before a plan of action is rolled out. In preparing such a strategy, you must be willing to take time to answer some important questions, such as:

  • Which subjects do you find the easiest?

  • Within each subject, starting with the one you find the easiest, what are the topics you are best at?

  • Within each subject, what are the things you need to commit to memory and what are the things that require a better understanding?

  • What are your stumbling blocks in each subject?

  • What are you really good at, and in which aspects you could, with a little effort, make great improvements?

  • How good is your memory? You may need to have memory aids to help you recall facts and develop a different study strategy that includes making a good summary of the essential facts you need to remember and going over them frequently in the revision process. Read on to find out from the memory guru himself – Biswaroop Roy Chaudhry – a two time Guinness World Record Holder.

If external diagnostic evaluations are not available, do your own diagnostic of your skills, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Empowered with such an analysis, you can make a very targeted plan of action and be more efficient and strategic in your revision process.

Even if you get it wrong in some ways, this is not important. The framework suggested above can put you in an analytical mode. This helps you study smarter and not just harder. You find you are gaining marks and confidence in the process.


Managing between conflicting goals is not easy. In your present context you have two jobs–a day time job at your regular school (yes, going to school is like having a job) and an evening time job at a tutorial center / coaching which it seems some of you are attending.

Parents are keen that you attend these evening classes and both you and they sometimes feel that these evening courses will help you improve scores. My personal research has shown you are better off using that time to really work with your own personal strengths and weaknesses.

You are being run in the study mills first during the day and then in the evening with a different teacher, often in large batches where it is impossible to give importance to your personal needs.

Sitting passively and listening to even a great teacher is not going to necessarily gain you marks because learning in that format is mostly passive. When you study on your own, you struggle more. However, this is active learning. This will guarantee you more marks. While doing so, you are able to determine which concepts you find good, moderate and difficult for you.

For those concepts you find difficult, you can seek out a peer, a teacher or even a coach but not to re-teach theory once more. You will find yourself listening to things you already know. This is very was teful of time.

Remember, you don’t have time to waste.

Running through the study mills

Many of you do not have the time to think and to plan your own study strategies which is what you really need, above any other thing. Most of the time it is not possible with your packed daily schedule to respond to your own daily study priorities. That is, if you were in charge of your own studies, you would not organize your day in this way.

The reason is, for example, for subjects that require memorization of facts, you cannot take more classes. You simply need to find the time to on your own to commit them to memory. If there are a few things you still don't understand from your regular classes at the school, you can ask other students to help explain them to you, or your class teacher, who will be delighted to help you.

If there are subjects as a whole you feel you are weak in, try attempting looking over solutions to past questions and any and all questions for which you have solutions written including demos of solved questions in your textbook. The chapter will suddenly appear easier to you than you thought possible.

If you still find it difficult to understand a chapter, seek the help of others or you may also go back to ground zero and study that chapter from below class level and build up understanding from below. For example, if you are having trouble understanding rational numbers in Class X, look up what you did in Class VI and build up understanding from there.

Most of the examples and theory you will need is readily available on the net and many books, for example, all CBSE books are available on-line on the Internet. You may think it will take so much time. What about the time you take to travel to and fro from a tuition or coaching center? Remember, what you discover will be in your mind forever. What you hear today, may or may not stay with you.

Your own struggle is critical to your learning process, just like the metamorphosis of a cocoon into a butterfly. A butterfly will be handicapped if others help it to come out of its cocoon!

This is also a process of self-empowerment! You need to motivate yourself and feel the spirit of positive thoughts move you forward.

A good solid study plan is far more important and you should be able to solicit the help of others when needed. Seek the help of others selectively and only when you need it. Remember, you know your own strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else.

Do not rely upon on-going external help too much, or worse still, do not get bogged down with motions of a daily schedule defined by others. You will soon begin to lose much of your inner drive and motivation. You will slowly become reliant on others for your success but no one, absolutely no one, can help you succeed more than you yourself.

If you plan your studies even a little, you will know exactly the type of help you need from others. The classes at school and in coaching centres have their own schedule, not based on YOUR personal needs. You often repeat learning what you already know.

This is highly wasteful of precious time before the examination. You can never produce your best results, even if you think you are in the bottom rung of your class in a subject by relying fully on external help. What coaching colleges do best is give you lots of mock sessions for an examination and you get loads of practice. However, there is no reason you cannot practice past papers and model papers on your own.

Though you gain in some ways, you spend far more of your time in the bargain than you need to and have little time left for self study. Therefore very often, you compromise on your bottom line – marks in your examination!

When the course work is over, you have just a few weeks left to prepare for exams. You have a choice. You can either plan a smart revision strategy that can help you improve your scores tremendously, or you can go the way you have always done. Your old preparation tactics will land you where you have always been. Even with all the hard work that you will put in now, without a smart study plan and a stragegy, you will not improve your marks. To get better results, your strategy must be better now and vastly different to how you have been preparing for your exams in the past.

With a few weeks of revision left for topics you have already learned, you should be able to master most or all of your subjects. The question is simply that of your smarter strategy, how you prioritise between subjects and topics, how you allocate time between conflicting objectives and what is your method of study–working backwards from questions or working forwards from theory, for example.

This is the difference you can bring between yourself and other students running through the study mills right now. Your new strategies combined with your honest hard work will help you get ahead of others who were perhaps better than you in the past.

How you plan and how you divide your time between conflicting priorities is the only way to maximize the results from the time available between now and the Boards.

Honest work to please yourself, not others, is what is urgently needed.

Speed and Accuracy

Speed matters tremendously. This is where others cannot really help you. You need to have the time to work out past papers or model questions by yourself. You also need to time yourself each time you write a response, just like in a Board examination when you have to be extremely time conscious. You need to be aware of how long you should take and how long you took in comparison.

If you know the questions and their solutions well but are taking too long to answer, then you will not need to revise your chapter or your concepts. You will simply need to practice similar questions for speed and accuracy. You will attempt and reattempt questions till your speed is satisfactory. If revision is done using a topic wise breakdown of past papers, you are more likely to build up your speed with confidence knowing full well the time expectations from previous papers.

Obviously speed is paramount in an examination. If you take too long to answer a question, you lose more time at the end to answer all questions. A student whom I know is really good in mathematics and could score 100% easily except that this time, she ran out of time. She had to leave two questions out because of time shortage in the examination and lost so many marks that her average score was only 73%. Even if you answer correctly, if you take too long to answer any questions, you will lose more marks than you will gain.

Handwriting speed should be focused upon in the languages and arts has to be done but balance it with legibility. Whatever pattern you follow, legibility is the most important. It gives a better impression and often, since examiners are people too, they tend to mark neat and well-presented answers over those that seem haphazard, even if correct. The first answer should be very well presented, since first impressions are the lasting impressions. They determine the mindset of an examiner which could help you.

English Why It Is More Important Than Any Other Subject

Overall results go down if English is poor that is, you take time to understand the questions and you take time to articulate your thoughts and to communicate clearly. Clarity and brevity are most important.

Bottom 1/3 rung of a class

If you are in the bottom one-third of your class, you need to think very deeply about your strategy for success in the upcoming Boards.

In essence, you know that you cannot cover all topics and prepare for all of them before the examination it is simply impossible to master all of them in the limited time possible. You therefore have to select carefully the maximum number of topics that you can realistically cover in the limited time frame. Your best bet is to review past papers in an analytical framework such as proposed in this book. Attempt past question under each topic; mark those questions you found easy or relatively easy that is those topics that with a little reference to your textbook you could answer in a reasonable time. Identify the next set of questions where you have to spend much more time but which you could basically solve on your own- these are the questions you find moderately difficult. Finally, remaining are the questions you could not solve with your own efforts. These are the questions you find difficult. Your strategy would be to do all the questions you find easy in all subjects first, focusing on both speed and accuracy so that you do not waste any time in the Board examinations. Then take the moderately difficult ones and solve them in all subjects, making revision notes and tips for memory as you go along. If time remains, then and only then go on to the difficult topics.

You must it a point to review your personal revision notes on a daily basis to ensure that they are committed to memory.

All that is in this book applies to you more it is extremely important that you keep a positive mindset. Even if you are in the bottom one third of the class, does not mean that you are less capable than others in the class. There are many reasons besides our innate capacity that result in us not performing up to our best possible level, most important being, our attitude towards life and learning. But, it is also true that given sufficient time and opportunities to practice, you could beat most of your classmates. The trouble is that time is limited before the next Board examinations. It is therefore paramount, for you especially, to follow the tips and guidelines in this book.

Top one-third strategy

If you are in the top one-third of your class, do not assume you will still be there in the Board examinations. It is a short few weeks, but a long race between now and the Board examinations. It is your strategy and your consistent efforts that will make the difference. Avoid overconfidence like plague. Leave no stone unturned between now and the Board examinations to secure every possible mark that you can get. Your main goal must be practice for speed and accuracy and review of difficult topics, since you understand most topics already. Your revision notes should be very well made and revisited frequently, to commit them into permanent memory. Finally, you must master the technique of answering questions because this is where you can gain or lose marks as you know the subject matter very well. It is very hard to covert a 92 to a 95, unless you get into the examiners brain and understand how they mark every aspect of your answer. Here time saving techniques are also very important. For example in Economics if question can be answered in a point wise manner then do not waste your time writing a long answer. Your priorities also shift to how you conduct yourself during an examination. Sleeping and eating well, being alert (see nutritional guidelines also), answering questions in the right order etc.

If you are in the middle, follow a middle path- read both and maximize your output.

Pursued on a war footing, everything is very possible.

“Human beings are inherently noble, and the purpose of education is to inculcate such attributes, skills, virtues and qualities as will enable them to contribute their share to the building of an ever advancing civilization.”


Make a similar chart with your own assessment of what you find easy, moderately difficult and difficult for all subjects.

MM: The maximum possible marks for a subject. They may vary between exams, for example, for questions on symmetry, the questions have always come in the compulsory section and have varied in marks from 3 to 8. We wrote the maximum possible marks (8) in the planning sheet above.

Planning Thought Process

If the total marks in the table above are 47+48+44+19=158 and if you are confident of getting full marks in the EASY and MODERATE category of questions (the columns that are ticked two ticks mean you have revised these concepts twice). This would mean these will get you a total of 42+31=73/158=46% marks. That is, if you do not lose any marks due to careless mistakes in the ticked and revised topics.

If you want 30% more marks, how will you get them? You might find it easiest to add these marks from the remaining easy and moderate categories first.

If you have revised and are confident of all the items in the easy and moderate categories, you could already increase this average from 46% to 60%, that is, by 14%.

How can you make up the additional 20% marks to get a total of 80%? What aspects in the DIFFICULT category could you add next, for example, first two topics in the difficult category will add you another 12/50=24% marks, most likely. Thus, for each topic you master, you add a certain percentage to your overall percentage.

This is not an exact analysis as there are compulsory and non-compulsory questions and you have to further realize that marks are not always the same for each question type. Also, you may not always get full marks so you have to always plan a margin. But your strategy for getting full marks and for the revision work must be very clear and this kind of planning will allow you to do so.

Most importantly, by making a plan according to what are easy, moderate and difficult topics, you are able to study those aspects first that you can gain the most marks in with the least amount of effort. It gives you an analytical edge and contextualizes your learning.


  • Strive to work hard always.
  • Don't use any kind of unfair means to get success because this kind of success is momentary.
  • If your intent is pure, you will achieve what you have set out to do.
  • Pray to God to guide your every step.
  • Be sincere in your work and deeds and God will grant you what you sincerely desire.