Saturday, 23 February 2008

Class X exams: 7 tips to finish your maths paper before time

Class X exams: 7 tips to finish your maths paper before time

Suresh Kumar,

Many students, even some really intelligent and talented ones, have a strange enemy. They often find it difficult to finish the paper within the allotted time. They are forced to leave a few questions just because they run out of time and often it has been found that the questions they leave are those which they otherwise could do very easily. It can be very disappointing if you are forced to skip such easy questions.

But how can you avoid a situation like this? Many people suggest a single tablet for this "Time management". But how to manage time and how to stop it from running out is a difficult proposition, especially for an average 14-15-year-old tenth grader.

Here are certain tips by experts from to help you out to finish your paper well before time.

1. Understand your exam

The most important thing is to understand the examination you are about to take. In the class X mathematics paper, there are 30 questions in four sections A, B, C and D and we have 180 minutes to answer these questions. Here, a rough calculation is that we get about six minutes to answer a question. But that is not the fact.

The question paper contains 'very short answer' type, 'short answer' type and 'long answer' type questions and the time requirement for each type is different. An ideal allotment for the four sections is as shown below:

Section A 10x2 20 minutes
Section B 5x4 20 minutes
Section C 10X5 50 minutes
Section D 5x10 50 minutes

2. Use the first 15 minutes effectively

You get a good 15 minutes in the beginning to read the question paper -- use this time to do just that, READ. Read all the 30 questions in 15 minutes. While reading, mark the questions into categories viz easy, manageable and tough. This is done to have an overall idea about the questions and make a rough plan.

3. Don't worry about the tough ones

The moment you find that there are a few tough questions; it is natural that you start worrying about them. This is not required and will only harm your performance.

The fact is that they may look a bit tough on the surface, but when you actually work on them you will find most of them to be much easier than they seemed. So be happy about the easy ones and don't get unduly worried about the tougher lot.

4. Prioritise your attempt

Always attempt the easy questions first and then move on to the manageable ones and ensure that you complete them before taking on the difficult ones. This will ensure that you are not leaving any question that you know.

Once you successfully attempt all the easy and manageable questions, your confidence will grow and you will be mentally ready to take on the more challenging questions.

5. Ensure speed and accuracy

Use quicker methods in calculations to ensure that you are not wasting time and your answers are correct. Mostly, we take a lot of time to solve a problem if we happen to make some error in the process.

For example, if you make an error in the sign of a term (+/-), you may not be able to solve questions involving quadratic equations or linear equations. Therefore avoiding silly mistakes is very important to save time. Always follow the tricks we discussed in speed strategies.

6. Keep an eye on your watch

Keeping an eye on your watch is of course not to increase your stress. This is just to see that you are broadly adhering to the time allocation we discussed in the beginning. A minor variation is not at all a reason to worry.

7. Avoid thinking too much about a question

Thinking about the questions before you attempt them is essential; but not to such an extent that you waste a lot of time on one question.

Also you need not write a very lengthy answer to a question just because the question is easy and you know it very well. Remember, you need to just answer the question and nothing more. Any over-attempt will be a mere waste of time.

Additionally, you must practice the habit of finishing samples papers in 140-150 minutes. This will help you simulate and exercise examination pressures better.

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