The balancing act between Balancing Boards and Competitive Exams

Karishmma V Mangal _ Director and Trustee Thakur International School - Cambridge

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Cat exam syllabus

Students of Class 12 from across the country experience immense stress and apprehension during their Board Examinations. Students know that every year, the competition to get admission into the best of the country’s academic institutes is getting tougher. Competitive Entrance Exams for such institutes start right after the Board Examinations, leaving limited time to prepare for the former. This leaves students in a dilemma to choose between Boards and Competitive Exams.

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What should be the strategy to revise?

  1. Pick the common part of the syllabus- The syllabus of most competitive exams is based on the Board Syllabus. Hence, go through the syllabus of every subject in both examinations and make a list of topics that are common to both. Your primary focus should be to finish these common topics off. Prepare these topics in detail and practice all possible kinds of questions, ranging from theoretical questions to multiple-choice questions. This will ensure that you have studied a big chunk of the syllabus of both exams.
  2. Move on to completing your favourite part from the remaining syllabus-Once done with the common topics, you will find that you are familiar with some of the topics that are left. These are the topics that you are comfortable and confident in. You should revise them thoroughly so that you don’t have to commit any more time for them. Doing so will save time on the days before the Exam and will also help relieve that last-minute stress.
  3. Pick a challenging topic from the remaining syllabus- By now, if you revised everything well, you must have revised almost 90 per cent of the syllabus. But there is a chance that some topics were too hard to revise with the other topics. You should make a list of these topics and then study the hardest topic first.   Never leave a topic that you think is hard to study or understand. Instead, start by learning every such topic from scratch. This will not only make it easier for you to understand the topic but also increase your conceptual and theoretical knowledge which will eventually help you score better marks in both Boards and Competitive Exams.
  4. Finish off the entire syllabus- If time allows, finish off the entire syllabus and get yourself completely ready for the exams. If you go to the examination hall knowing that you’ve revised everything well, you’ll be in a better mindset to attempt the exam. But even if you leave some topics, you should be confident and calm on the exam day.

What if you haven’t completed the syllabus yet?

Take a look at the Question Papers of the last 5-10 years. You will notice that some topics or some type of questions are asked repeatedly while some are rarely asked. Analyze these papers well and finish the topics with heavy weightage first and skip the others. Once done, you can repeat the same process for the remaining syllabus. This will cover most of the important topics which will ensure that you score well. You can refer to question banks as well if time permits.

Some points to keep in mind:

  1. Take Rest: Exam months can be hectic, but one must not forget to take rest. Remember, a sleep-deprived student cannot give his/her best performance
  2. Eat Healthy: Your body and brain reflect what you eat. Eat healthy foods so that your body functions well and you don’t get sick.
  3. Exercise: Take breaks between study sessions to exercise as it increases concentration and relieves stress.
  4. Take advantage of the Internet: The internet is a goldmine of content. You can use websites like YouTube to clear doubts or study new topics.
  5. Never give up: Preparation might get tough, but you should focus on your goals and never stop believing in yourself and continue studying hard to get to where you wish to be. Always keep your mind calm and find motivation.


Following these steps will improve your chances of scoring well in both board and competitive examinations.   Preparation will be challenging, however, handling it one day at a time would be a great way to manage stress and expectations.

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