One of the most prestigious exams at the school level – NTSE (National Talent Search Examination) Stage -1 is around the corner. Successfully clearing the two stages of the exam not only makes you eligible for the scholarship, but also boosts your confidence for the exams in future. Besides, NTSE scholarship is a wonderful point to have in one’s resume. It puts you in a different league altogether. Since it is such an important exam, it is natural for the students to feel the pressure as the exam date approaches near. However, if you follow the tips as mentioned below, we are sure that you would come out successful in the exam.
Tips for the NTSE exam
1. Be confident
Sounds simple, right? Trust me; a lot of deserving students miss out on NTSE scholarship, just because they lose their confidence on the day when it matters. You have done all the hard work. There is no reason to be worried about the exam. It is just about executing your plans in the right way. Repeat this to yourself in your mind – again and again! Remember this quote from the former American writer and President Theodore Roosevelt – “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”.
2.Have a glance
The NTSE exam is a pen and paper-based exam. One of the main advantages of this mode of exam over the online mode, is that you can quickly glace through the paper. Make full use of it. A quick glance through the paper helps you remove the uncertainty in your mind. Before the exam, there are a lot of questions about the length and difficulty level of the exam that cross your mind. A quick glance helps you answer those questions and diffuses the uncertainty to some extent. This makes you more psychologically equipped to approach the exam.
3. Focus on your strong areas first
This is again an advantage of the pen and paper-based exam. It is always advisable to solve the questions from your strong areas first. This helps you in two ways. First – as you successfully solve the questions from your strong areas (and you are more likely to do that, as these are your areas of strength) you become more confident as you approach the next questions. Second – again, as these are questions are from the areas where you are strong, you are more likely to solve these questions quickly. This gives you more time to devote on the questions from areas where you are comparatively less strong.
4. Manage time
This is very important and a key to your success in the test. You must mentally make the milestones for yourself. For example, you may decide to finish first 10 questions in the first 10 minutes, the next 10 in 12 minutes and so on. This helps you keep a track of your speed and ensures that you don’t lose your way.
The NTSE not only checks your knowledge, but also how smart you are. There will be questions where you can identify the correct options, just by eliminating the other options which cannot be the answer. We always advise, not to leave a question just because it is from a topic that you don’t know. Read the question, and you may answer the question just by elimination.
Like elimination, approximation is another way to quickly identify the correct option. E.g. if you are sure that the correct answer is between 180 to 190, and there is only one option in that range, you need not waste your time in calculating the exact number. This will help you save some valuable time.
7. Forgo your ego
This is again a very common reason why some bright students lose valuable time during the test and hence, the scholarship. How many times has it happened to you that you cannot leave a question unanswered, just because it is from a topic where you consider yourself very strong? Do not let that happen in the actual exam. It is important to understand and appreciate the fact that some really difficult questions may come from any topic and you might not be able to solve it. It is important that you do not lose time on such questions. You need to be mature enough to realise that there are many sitters in the test left for you to solve.
8. Recall from practice
There will be times during the exam when you will be stuck in a question, wondering which formula or concept to apply for the correct solution. It is important not to panic, but to recall any similar question you had solved, or any similar situation you had been while solving practice questions. You may get ‘the key’ to solve the question correctly.
9. Sleep well and have light food
Perhaps these two are the most important things you will do on the day/night before the exam. It is scientifically proven that lack of a good sleep in the night makes you less alert the next day. You don’t want that to happen as the exam demands you to be quick and alert. A lot of student study late in the night before the exam. This is a very bad idea, even if you feel that you need a revision. A good eight-hour sleep is a must before the exam. Taking heavy food before the exam means your body will need more energy for digestion and this will make you sleepy and slow. Similarly, eating too less is also not advisable as you will feel hungry during the exam. Having light and optimum meal is what you need to do. There is a break of two hours between the MAT and SAT exams. To avoid unnecessary hassles of finding an eatery/restaurant, it is advisable to carry lunch from home. You may have light food brought from home and then relax before the next test. The more peaceful your mind is during the test, the more are your chances to perform at your best.
In short, you need to be in the right frame of mind during the exam. All your hard-work will pay off if you execute your plans well on the exam day. Always remember that success is a combination of preparation and opportunity. You have prepared well; this is your opportunity.
Rajendra Kumar is an MBA graduate from IIM, Ahmedabad. He has also completed his B.E. from Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune. Mr. Kumar has 6+ years of experience in the education sector while working with several leading education organizations such as IMS Learning, Resonance and BASE education.
In his roles, he has mentored and taught students as well as worked in academics at different levels. Currently he is the Manager – Marketing, BASE Educational Services Pvt Ltd.