The Ultimate Help Column

Every year, just before the final examinations start, we suddenly find columns in newspapers, talking about “How to Study and Achieve the Highest Marks in Your Examination”. I usually look at them incredulously, because, to me, they made no sense. Exams always take me unawares. I spent many exam nights swotting up late up until the wee hours, trying to pound into my head all that had taken the teachers ONE entire year to teach. Actually half the time I used to spend staring at the bed, forcing myself not to seek refuge between the cool sheets and the lovely fluffy pillow. So, in view of my ‘advanced’ years, I decided to impart my specialized knowledge in this field to lesser mortals. So from experience, here’s ….

How to Succeed in Any Examination in 8 Easy Steps

1) Keep All Your Studying till the Nth Hour: Yup, this is sure to spice up your life and help you concentrate better. Have you noticed how lazy you feel when you have 5 days of study leave in front of you? So do go out and enjoy some ‘taazi Hawa‘!! Play solitaire, sleep a bit, take longer baths, phone someone up and ask how much they have finished studying (Don’t blame me if after you do, you get extremely scared), since they might tell you the TRUTH. (of course, I am kidding) Mostly, though.. The conversation runs on these lines
You: “Hey there pal, how much did you finish in Physics?” (Or whatever you are having in 2 days time)
Friend: “Oh! I am a lazy person; I haven’t even started Magnetism. Then, I have to do Electrostatics, Quantum Physics, Statistical Mechanics, Lasers, and Optics…”
You: “Oh wow…Nor have I! But isn’t that like the entire portion?”
Friend: “Yeah, I just don’t feel like studying. I went to see a film and I was thinking about it for 2 days. Oh got to go, they are showing Friends reruns on Star.”
(Phone gets disconnected abruptly; you are left holding the receiver wondering whether it was something you ate)
Of course, at the end of the conversation, neither of you believes the other, even if you WERE speaking the truth. But then, if YOU were, all I can say is: You have GUTS! Way to go dude… ! And, of course, the chances that BOTH of you are telling the truth is 1 in quite a few billion.
2) God Help You: Speaking of God, I have seen even sworn atheists come into the Examination Hall, with sandalwood paste smeared all over the forehead or a sacred thread on their wrist. It sometimes makes one wonder if God invented examinations in order to get more devotees because every member of a Board Exam Class sends up a million prayers on the “occasion” of their life making (or marring) exams. You, in your quest for success, should go one better, go to all the religious places, read the scriptures for some more reassurance that you won’t fail, order that your parents do nothing during the three hours of your examination but pray, plead that all your relatives pray for you too. So that it’s more err… powerful would be the word I should use, right? Right!
3) Prepare a timetable: Ok, so one exam just finished in the afternoon. Just 8 more to go. Your mind should work like this:
Mind: “Ok, take a nice sleep now. You have 4 days for your next exam. Ample time to revise at least twice. After all there are only (!!)50 lessons to do. You did it for the series in one night flat.” (Deep blissful sleep)
Mind: (next day) “Now let’s see Kucch Kucch Hota Hai on Sony (Its like the 100th time, but what the heck!) After that, 1-3pm you study, 15 minutes break…”
Make ambitious plans and DON’T adhere to your timetable, because, as I pointed out before, you HAVE to obey Rule 1).
4) The Science of Sleeplessness: If you suffer from insomnia and/or a guilty conscience for goofing off for the past three days, here’s the time to make up for it. Quickly get some of your textbooks and place them on your table. Admire them, because most probably their pages might not have seen the light of day! Open the first lesson, take a new page in a notebook and write neatly: Revision. Start reading and note points. I guarantee that you will be asleep within the first 10 minutes. It’s a faster and better method than counting sheep, because you never know when a Googolplex comes into the picture!
5) Keep the Alarm within Arm’s Reach: When setting the alarm, keep it for some unearthly, godforsaken hour like 2:30 am. When it utters it’s extremely darned bleat, stare at it groggily for about two minutes (that is, if you DO get up at ALL!) and set it for 3:30. Continue this rigmarole till it is 9:30 am. Leap out of the bed at this hour and raise hell, demanding to know why your mother didn’t wake you when the alarm first rang and then eat your breakfast morosely, all the while ruing for lost hours, thereby wasting at least one more hour in moaning.
6) Final Trial: It’s the last day, and boy, now you HAVE to study. Otherwise, it would be foolhardy. Start reading in earnest. Have some black coffee to drink and water for your tired eyes. Sit up late burning serious midnight oil. Cram everything in your head till saturation point is reached. It is that point which occurs, when you look up to the roof, there dawns on you “Types of roofs…roofing…tiles…floors…types of floors….types of flooring materials…” and you count them out under your breath, not caring why your family has started thinking that you have now started responding to the stray voices in your head!
One word of caution, though…. never ever leave any portion out!! Experience always teaches you, that anything you leave out is sure to appear for your exam, though they might have NEVER asked any question from it in 25 long years. But since YOU decided not to study it, that was the 20-mark question, and then that would be an opportune time to swoon.
7) Impart Stress: The best way to achieve this is to run around asking everyone last minute questions. Go and stand near someone who has revised at least ten times and try to scare him or her too. (At least someone will be, apart from you!) It is a very easy process, if you know how. Just look very knowledgeable and nod to everything they say, even if it is the first time you have heard of it. Ask weird questions like: “What is transmorgification fixation? How is it different from intradulation traction?“
Go on writing reams in the answer sheet, even if you have no idea what it is all about. Stare continuously at anyone who finished half an hour before you did as if you have no idea how that ‘moron‘ completed everything so early. Finish writing only when the bell rings. And then engage in a tug of war with the invigilator, each of you not ready to concede your positions! Come out smiling, no matter how hard the exam was! Gosh, if that doesn’t scare people, Nothing will!
8) Blame it on the University: The ultimate scapegoat. The readymade answer to all your problems is that if you don’t score above 90 in all your subjects (and I see no reason why that should happen!), “They didn‘t understand my in-depth answers.” After all THEY can’t sue.. Or can they? In which case, I should really go hide!
Right, you have now become an examination guru, in 8 easy steps, congrats! Here’s your diploma! Happy Hunting! Ciao……

(Advice/ Precaution: Doing what this “help” column advises may result in disastrous consequences. Kindly refrain. Please note that “This is the product of a mind extremely warped after undergoing the continuous torture of enough exams to make any sane person‘s head swim.” The author disclaims any responsibility of actions consequent of anyone following any of the sure-fire routes to success, including and up to aching ears from parents’ scolding, aching hands from writing a film song in the answer sheet, insomnia or caffeine addiction, among other things. )

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6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Help Column

  1. elsa

    whoa chechi………..good one
    really good ,did you rite this from your experience to prevent youngsters like us following your own footsteps ……….huh?????? i think i have realised what i am doing is absolutely wrong ……….

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