Thursday, May 29, 2008



Getting along with your instructor is an effective study skill that is certain to help you get the best possible grade.

You're paying for the coaching and putting in the time. You have the right to get as much from the instructor as you can. Here is how to get the most from your instructor:

1. Important information and hints are usually given out on the first and last class, and during the first and last 10 minutes of each class. So be punctual, stay to the end, show up for every class.

2. Ask questions during class. There are no bad questions.

3. Pay attention, look and act like a professional. Nobody respects a clown or a pest.

Learning quickly is possible if you know the secrets.

What you achieve depends on your answer to 2 questions.

Have you asked yourself these two vital questions?

  1. Why am I taking this coaching?
  2. What is the greatest benefit I will get from this coaching?
    (other than marks)

Doing what you want, to get what you want, should be your main concern when choosing coaching or attending classes. Even compulsory subjects are easier to endure if you decide ahead of time to get something of use from them, and then go for it.

The answers to the two vital questions are your motivators. Strong motives make studying and achieving what you want easier. Hopefully you answered the two questions before starting for the coaching - but better late than never. Answering these two questions before each class will help you get the most out of your class sessions.

To get the most from each class, approach the class with a winning mindset. Know what you want to get from the class and make sure you get it - after all, you are the one who is putting in the time.

Prior to each class,

  • Take 10 minutes to check the course outline and briefly preview the pertinent sections of the textbook.
    This will make you more aware of terminology and concepts that are being introduced in class. Do not study at this point. Skim the introduction and summary, look at the section headings and subheadings, examine the drawings and pictures. Make notes of new words, new units of measure, statements of general laws, and other new concepts.
  • Decide what you want to get from the class you are about to attend. Writing this down in the form of questions to be answered is effective.

After the class

  • Review your notes to make sure you understand the main ideas and
    the solutions to the sample problems.
  • Read your text for clarification and understanding.
  • To check your understanding of the class, try practice problems

Here are powerful methods for improving your marks. Are you using all of them?


* Try to work through problems. Keep a list of the problems you had difficulty completing, and any questions that may have arisen when you were doing the assignment. Make a list of questions that may have arisen while you were in class or while doing your homework for school. By doing this you will know exactly what to ask your instructor.

* Try to sit with students who understand the class.

* Get to know your instructors. They will always be your best source of information for your classes.

* Be an active student in class. Ask questions; participate in class, etc. Many questions can be asked right there and then to the instructor.

* Read your syllabus. Understand what's expected of you in each class, make sure you write down and remember deadlines and other special dates.

* Form and maintain a study group.

Do Seek a tutor

* Before you run into difficulties.
* When you need help understanding the homework.
* When you need help understanding ideas.
* When you are falling behind.
* When you are feeling frustrated.
* When you feel like giving up.


* Don't wait until the day before or day of exam to get help. Help may not be available. Learning takes time, effort and planning. A tutor's help isn't enough to learn in one evening what should have taken a month of methodic work. Tutors will complement your work, provide you hints, suggestions etc. but will not replace good, honest, hard work.

Study skills that change note-taking into effective learning.

During class:
1. Divide your page into two columns.Use one for class notes; use the other for comments and questions.

After class:
1. As soon as possible, review your notes. Do not rewrite your notes.
Rather, summarize important ideas and relationships in the comments column. Also, add notes from your readings.
2. Write questions that come to mind and discuss these with your instructor or study group. Write the answer.

Here are some problems solving tips that will help you develop study skills and get higher marks.

1. Identify what principle the problem involves. Is the problem about projectile motion? Circular motion? Conserving energy? This will help you analyze the problem and make sense of the givens.

2. Get help immediately from your instructor with those problems where you do not understand what you did wrong.

3. Showing your work makes it easier to find mistakes and to prepare for exams.

4. Work on understanding concepts, rather than trying to memorize a recipe. Learn to apply principles to solve problems; there are too many kinds of problems to be able to memorize all the recipes. Trying to memorize
recipes makes it less likely you will be able to solve new problems.

5. Keep up with the tests, as they are due.

6. Staring at a blank page is a waste of time. If you get stuck, talk to your instructor or someone from your class.

7. Almost any problem you encounter in a physics course can be described with a drawing. Such a drawing often contains or suggests the solution to the problem. Put as much information as you can in the drawing.

8. Draw a second picture such as a free body diagram, a graph, a vector diagram. Include the coordinate system for the situation. This is particularly important for problems involving forces.( This one is for classes XI +)

9. Before doing any calculations, guesstimate what a reasonable final answer might be if you can. Check your solution against your guesstimate. This will
develop your intuitive understanding of the problems.

10. Calculate the solution by doing as much as possible without using specific numbers. Often quantities will cancel out. Do as much of the algebra as you can before substituting values from the question.

11. Ask yourself how you could do the question more quickly on an exam.

12. Practice makes perfect. Do as many problems as you can and monitor your progress with practice problems.

Here are some tips for preparing for tests and exams.

Start early - at least a week before the exam or test. Check with your instructor to make sure he or she is available during this critical time. Allocate time for the following tasks.

1. Complete questions of previous years exams that have not yet been completed.

2. Before attempting problem solving, firm up any conceptual areas in which you feel weak. Review your readings in those areas and answer the following about your reading:
a. What is the main idea in your own words.
b. List and define important terms.
c. Explain clearly the concept in your own words.
d. Draw a figurative representation of the main idea.
e. If you still don't understand something, list questions that you need answered and discuss them with your instructor.

3. For each unit, summarize your notes into a well organized annotated outline. (Simply reading notes is ineffective.) Write main ideas, definitions, and equations. For the equations define the units, meaning of each variable, and describe the conditions under which the equation applies and conditions under which the equation does not apply. Do not take the time to write all the possible rearrangements of the equation -you'll burn out. Using your scope of syllabus as a guideline is a good idea. Talking through the main ideas and comparing notes within your study group (or some weak student whom you can teach) is a good way to ensure you have captured all the main concepts and summarized them correctly.

4. For each unit redo example problems. Actually put pen to paper to write out the complete solution – just reading is ineffective. Start with problems that gave you difficulty on assignments or tests, then sample problems given to you by the instructor or in previous year papers. If you have more time, do as many problems as you can.

5. Write answers to previous years question papers (reading alone is ineffective). Writing old exams enables you to get accustomed to the board’s style, and tests your preparation. Be aware that one exam rarely covers the
entire course. The exam you will write is not likely to be the same as the previous exams. List the questions you don't know how to do and discuss them with your instructor.

Simple tips for writing tests or exams:

1. Know how the Board marks questions. Ask ahead of time whether part marks are given for work shown. If the Board expects you to explain how you got your answer, show all relevant diagrams and derivations. If you are running out of time, show the steps first then go back and fill in the numbers and do calculations later if there is time.

2. During a test, scan the questions then answer the ones you know best first.

3. Always do your rough work by drawing a line in the lower part or the right portion of your answer sheet. If the rough work spills on the main body of the paper, it gives a negative impression.

4. Read the question paper thoroughly at least twice before commencing writing. Most of the students guess what is asked in the question and end up writing wrong answers.

5. If you have enough time after you have solved all the questions, go in for the optional questions, which you have left out. The evaluators are obliged to check the whole paper and then add up the marks, which are the highest.

6. Do not cheat. It is better to fail with pride than pass with looking up another person’s sheet. The regret will come later, I assure you.

Iron Rusts From Disuse,

Stagnant Water Loses its Purity and

In Cold Weather Becomes Frozen;

Even So Does Inaction Sap the Vigors of the Mind.
George Allen

Monday, May 26, 2008


(Taken from the net and suitably modified for Indian conditions. I do not take any credit for this article, but uploading it purely with the intent that the student will derive some gain from it. Thank you)


There are things you can do to learn faster either on your own, or with others.

One of the most powerful methods for making the most of your time is to make the most of others' time and talent. Form or participate in a study group as soon as you can. You are all in it together - why not make the most of it? Teaching someone else is the best way to learn; learning from others can save hours of time.

Here are some ideas.

1. Trade names and phone numbers/email addresses with at least two others in your class. If you miss a class, ask your study partners, not the teacher.

2. Develop good study habits by spending time with or sitting beside the high achievers in the class.

3. The main focus of a study group should be problem solving and explaining or reviewing class notes. If the group is too social or one person dominates the group, disband and form another group.

To get higher marks in any subject, win the inner game. The most important study skill is getting and maintaining a winning attitude. Here are some tips on how to do that.

1. The inner game is about empowering yourself. It is about you deciding your fate. No one has power over you unless you give him or her permission. Know your needs and respect them. They are worthy, as are you. You can respect others and still be assertive about your needs.

2. Take responsibility for where you are, who you are, and where you are heading. Blaming others, crying "poor me," playing the victim, or making excuses (particularly about things that happened in the past), are self-sabotage. These activities are excuses people use to stay stuck where they are. Circumstances or other people do not control you, think for you, or decide for you unless you want them to.

3. Every class you attend and every assignment you complete takes you closer to what you want to get. Know this and love it! Enjoy the feeling that comes with doing what you want to get what you want.

4. Know what you want. Good goals help you help others as well as your self. Buy an appointment book. Write your goals where you see them every day.

5. Know why you want what you want. Your goals enable you to be, do, or get something. Write down these motives under your goals so that you remember why you are willing to do what it takes.

6. Know what you need to get what you want. Write down all the resources available that you can think of (including people) that can help you. Write down the obstacles that will have to be overcome. Talk about what you are about to do with a significant other whom you can depend on for support. You are looking for ideas, and constructive criticism, not permission.

7. Know how you are going to get what you want. Write out a series of steps that take you to your goal.

8. Know when you are going to get what you want. Break down your steps into actions you can take and have the confidence to do. Make each action concrete and achievable. Write down in your appointment book what day you are going to do each action. Commit to your action plan. Decide what you are going to do
today, then do it.

9. Make time to be physically active and be with loved ones. You will work more efficiently and enjoy life.

"There is one quality that one must possess to win, and
that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one
wants, and a burning desire to possess it."

Napoleon Hill

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Year Passes!!

The results of the batch of 2007-08 have been declared and as expected most of the students excelled themselves.

These results are the culmination of month of hard work put in by you and the support system of your family, schools and the teachers therein. Whenever you do hard work, combined with the correct methodology of studies, you will find that your results will shine through.

There have been some cases, of course, when students who did put in hard work as the rest of you, could not come up to the expectation of their teachers and worse, themselves. To them I would like to say that life does not stop after the results are declared. It is like a flowing river, but your attitude has to be the current, which makes way even through the hardest of terrains.

Marks are definitely not an end in themselves, but they do help in spurring us on the path of greater academic glory. But if you ask me, I shall always hold that knowledge and the correct usage of knowledge is more important than the marks in your assessment sheet. Finally you are going to employ your knowledge for your living and cannot sustain on the momentary glory of an excellent mark sheet. Strive for gaining knowledge and train your mental faculties, so that whenever even half an opportunity arises in your life, you are able to convert it to a successful mission.

I bless the outgoing students for a successful career in their field of choosing. And on those who are studying at Scholars, lies the enormous task of betterment of the accolades, which your seniors have earned.


God bless you all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jaipur: A Grim Reminder!

Once again the blood begins to boil and I can hear its pounding in my ears…scattered on the road are dismembered limbs of the peace loving people of the city of my birth, and I am sitting 600 miles away feeling frustrated, lonely and very, very angry.

The tears which roll down my cheeks and which blur my vision are not unmanly….they remind me of the pain which we have been carrying of such carnages post 1990 and the pusillanimous attitude of my government to combat this kind of cowardice perpetrated by professional terrorists.

While there is immediate call for bloodletting of innocent Muslims across the country, not only would it be an overtly cowardly thing to do, it would also be playing into the hands of the very people who have planted the bombs. The communal riots which rip through a country in the wake of such attacks not only kill human beings but also damage the social fabric of the community in which we live. And revenge killings will neither stop any further attacks nor the doers of such attacks be lynched by the crowd…innocent people who have absolutely no truck with such designs will be murdered the same way that they were murdered in the crowded, noisy bazaars of Jaipur.

What then can the government do? After any such mishap, the heads in intelligence communities start rolling since they are soft targets! But in most of the time, hard intelligence is provided to the local authorities ahead of the attacks. Why then, does the police not react? If you still remember the ghastly killing of Gokul Chaat Bhandar in Hyderabad, an industrious IPS officer from Orissa cadre who was instrumental in gathering intelligence prior to the blasts, was shifted a few days before the blast. This officer had tipped off the state administration about the movement of suspected terrorists and was on their trail. Who ordered his transfer?

When the political machinery of a state is not deferential to the physical security of its citizens, it has no right to rule over them. When you occupy that high chair, your first concern should be the security of the lives of the people whom you serve…but is it the moolah that rules the roost? Have our powers that- be fallen so low as to look the other way despite being sounded off about a terrorist attack? Do they think that the lives of the common Indian is expendable and they who live in ivory towers can stay insulated from semtex and RDX? A despondent “yes’ may be the answer from many Indians, but not from that quarter who can fight another war of independence if need be…this time, painfully, with our own people who have become worse masters than the English!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom...above all!!

Right from the time that we leave our moorings from her womb and are expelled into this planet which we call home…to the time when the last breath leaves us and our body is just another inanimate corporeal frame…lies the epoch when we are first under the care, then tutelage and finally advice of the most lovable of all women …OUR MOTHER!!!

There must be some magic about the word Ma….even the Gods do not dare to intervene when we fulfill our duty towards this one creation of His…for she is not only a creature, she is the physical embodiment of all that is good and pure….she stands firm like the rock of Gibraltar should anyone try to harm her charge…and then sacrifices everything for the sake of her little one!!!

She is the one in whose lap we lay our worried heads…all our problems seem to seep away on contact with that soft cotton saree …her fingers pass through my hair, and I feel sleepy, having given up all my cares! Where else would I find this peace, this succour…

For all that she has given, we can hardly return anything to her…for all those moments, when we got those extra sweets and she had one less, when the first mangoes of the season were laid on our plates, when we got to bite into the biggest fish fry…for all those sacrifices, which a mother does and which go unnoticed, the immaculate management of the household and its budget with tight strings, the rustling up of some unique dish when my friends came visiting…we can never repay!

What we can do is to try to keep her in a peaceful and comfortable (if not luxurious) surroundings, sometimes tell her what huge contribution she has made to our lives…that without her support, life would have never ran the way it is…for she taught us our first footsteps.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Musings on a Sunday Morning!

Each day we grow up a little … some sights or sounds trigger in us thoughts, which lay dormant inside us for years. These thoughts reveal to us the nature of things of this vast unexplored universe. But most intrinsic to this thought process is the journey of our inner self – the unchartered territory which lay wild and coarse due to taboos or the programming which was initiated long back – when we were young and impressionable.

Our previous generation hardly questioned their parents / elders about the course of thoughts that they were expected to fall in line with. A minority amongst them who expressed their true feelings were either castigated as rebels, or worse, disowned.

Similar programming continued in our generation too. Centuries of distrust, fear, hate and discord were being firmly entrenched in the soft clayey minds. But as we grew up and stepped beyond the threshold of the cloistered convent of our homestead, all of us did not turn out to be as we had been taught. We realized that people were good and bad and that had no relation whatsoever with the language they speak, the color of their skin or the name of their Gods.

In our daily walk through the meanderings of life, we come across people who leave a smile on our faces or a few times, distaste in our mouth. This happens, again, without the barrier of communities of birth. But to label a whole people as unworthy or an aberration is in itself potentially dangerous. We had seen this trend in the midst of the last century and now we are further witness to a growing phalanx of a community who are forging world opinion to turn against them so that inside their own people they emerge as champions of a worthy cause – a cause which to us sounds foreign and odious!!!

Arent they the people who are legitimizing the fears and the ghetto mentality of a generation gone by?