Udayavni Special

Exam Special: A Call for Clarity

Team Udayavani, Mar 22, 2018, 4:13 PM IST

A few years back, I had got a chance to work with a very reputed and a senior advocate, on a very crucial project of my company. I used to meet him on regular basis at his office to discuss and seek his advice on different aspects of the project. During each interaction, I observed that he used a pen and a notepad to jot down the points of discussion, though his office had all the modern office equipment to record our discussion including a typewriter! I was intrigued by his practice of noting down the points in the notepad and highlighting few of the words. One day I asked him the logic behind this practice. The senior advocate gave a smile and replied that it helps him to remember and recall the key points of discussion and indulge in self-explanation giving him clarity which aids him to form his decision or views at a later stage.

Students, these practices advocated by my senior lawyer, has a lot of significance for you, especially during exam time. Now, you might be wondering how these practices are of any use to you, right?

Scientific studies have revealed that during your regular classes, writing by hand helps you to get the ideas or concepts into mind more easily than if you type the answer. Highlighting the keywords, helps you to recall it at a later stage, and self-explanation at a later time of the day, helps you to understand the concepts better or recognize gaps in your understanding, on which you need to work. These three practices help students by giving them clarity on the topics, especially while working on mathematics and science.

You will be surprised to know that the legendary Charles Darwin when trying to come up with a concept, used to imagine that someone had walked into his study room seeking clarification. He would then try to explain the idea to this imaginary person (in fact it was a self -explanation!!!) in the simplest manner. This helped him to define his concept in writing, leading to the publishing of his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book ‘On the Origin of Species’.

Coming to the topic of highlighting and underlining, you need to be careful when marking the text. You need to highlight only the main ideas and limit the markings to a minimum of one sentence per paragraph. Words or notes on the margin can also help you in recalling the key concepts later.

If you are still not convinced with this practice in this modern era, please look at this list of famous personalities, who still prefer notepad and pen instead of a laptop, smartphone, computer or a tablet to note down, deliberate and arrive at a decision:

  • Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group
  • Oprah Winfrey, media giant and former talk show host of the Oprah Winfrey Show
  • Neelkanta Rao Jagadale, Chairman and MD of Amrut Distilleries Limited
  • JK Rowling, novelist and author of the Harry Potter series
  • Robin Sharma, writer and leadership speaker

At this juncture, I reminded of a famous quote by shipping tycoon and multimillionaire Late Aristotle Onassis: “Always carry a notebook. Write everything down… That is a million-dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!”

Before I wind up this article, let me give a tip for those who suffer from exam fear. Write your feelings and fears about an approaching test or exam immediately before the test or exam in your dairy or on a plain sheet of paper; it will reduce the damaging impact of pressure on performance in the exam hall.

Try these practices; I am sure even you will have a smile as you walk out of the examination hall.

– Prakash Prabhu
[ Mr.Prakash Prabhu works for The Manipal Group as a Senior HR Manager with over 15 years of corporate experience. He has been the lead writer and contributor to CHIRP magazine.(An intra-Manipal group monthly employee magazine) An avid reader who devours one book after another, Mr.Prabhu is also a certified handwriting analyst.]

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