Have you ever had one of those days? You think TODAY will be great. Today you will finally make a big dent in the syllabus. You’ll finally Phynish Physics, Master Maths and Conquer Chemistry. And then you think “I’ll just watch one video/episode/chapter of __________ (whatever works for you!)” and boom – It’s 4 hours later and all you’ve done is re-watch all of Tyrion Lannister’s scenes, watched a one hour stand up comedy special by Louis CK and seen all the latest BB Ki Vines (again).
We’ve all been there, and hated ourselves for it. But do you know what’s even worse?
If you do the same thing in the actual exam. Embibe has found that students on average waste 30 minutes of a 3 hour paper on questions that they finally do not attempt!
It’s because we don’t know which questions to attempt. More specifically, we don’t know that there are questions you must NOT attempt in the JEE/AIPMT and other competitive exams. These questions are designed as time sinks to get you stuck, losing both time and confidence.
How to Avoid Wasting Time
The most important thing you need to develop is the intuition of “Which question do I attempt”. Imagine that you are Sachin Tendulkar, and you are facing off against Shoaib Akhtar –
There are many things that Sachin will consider before he even attempts a delivery. For example –
- How far was his run up?
- Shoaib’s Average speed
- Pitch swing/bounce
- Shaoib’s Grip posture on the ball
- Air speed
- Fielding set up
- Sachin’s own strong and weak shots
- Match psychology
Which Questions to Avoid
How to analyze
In first look
Skip and move ahead when you see questions that you are –
- Not sure how to solve
- From a chapter you have not studied/are weak in
- Long – Answer will take more than 5 minutes
In the first look, attempt the easiest questions! You should try and finish the first look in 100 minutes so that you have time for the second look and won’t have time pressure when you are revising the paper.
In second look
In the second look, you still shouldn’t attempt all questions! There are some questions you have a very low chance of getting correct. Don’t let these questions waste your time. It doesn’t mean that you are giving up on them, it only means that you are going to save them for last.
Avoid questions that –
- You don’t know the necessary formula (though you may know how to derive it, do it at the end!)
- You are clueless about how to solve.
But you should spend at least 30 seconds trying to analyze and solve every other type of question. In the second look it is important to start solving. Try out 2 or 3 approaches before you give up on it.
For example, if it’s a Mechanics question, try using energy conservation or momentum conservation in the question. See if it gives you any new information.
The reason is because you usually can only see 2 or 3 logical steps ahead on the road to solving a question. But sometimes, in difficult questions the answer is more than 3 or 4 steps away from the starting point. Therefore try and take 1 step ahead in every direction you can think of and try and see 2-3 steps ahead from that point and judge whether the answer lies in that direction.
In which direction lies the answer?
Remember not to feel demotivated or embarrassed about skipping questions. Super Mario also jumps over some monsters, doesn’t he! Check out other strategies to improve your scores on our Scoring Tips page.383 Views