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


Aparna said...

you r right sir......
no one respects a clown or a pest.
your write up's r really very inspiring &touchy...i now am experiencing a hearty feeling for being a student of SCHOLARS.even if just for a year.nd i do feel you r a teacher in true spirits.

Mallika said...

It was good reading your suggestions. However, I feel that it focuses only on sc. subjects---esp. Phy.
Can you pl. write something general for other stream students.