Its exam season again. Do we need assessment?

When COVID hit exactly a year back, Governments the world over suddenly found themselves unable to conduct exams. Board exams were cut short, school exams were cancelled. Students were promoted to the next grade without any formal assessment. Why are assessments even required at the end of the year? NCERT prescribes a curriculum for schools, according to scientific and well researched data around which concepts should be taught at which age. Hence at the end of the academic year, it is important to gauge whether students have grasped appropriate concepts and test their readiness for the next academic year.

Sure – the learning level for each student is different. It then becomes important to identify the gap for each student and help them to cover it before they move on to move advanced concepts. The onus of doing this often falls on the teacher. Teachers were an overburdened lot even before the pandemic. In the past year, educators have had to think out of the box, unlearn and relearn teaching methods and struggle with tech that they have never used before. Add to this, irate parents and uninterested students – and education becomes a trainwreck.

Ed-tech saw a boom this past year. Startups came into a lot of money and propagated innovative ideas for online teaching. Videos lectures, online in-person classes, teaching aids, holograms became popular. Lot of technology was given away free to attract customers in the form of schools and parents.

So amid all this upheaval – has learning happened? With connectivity issues, reduced portion and loss of teacher-peer interaction, are students ready to move to the next grade?

No matter which medium is used to teach, the only way to gauge learning is through well structured and comprehensive assessment. Not to judge students, but to measure how much they have learnt, where they are struggling, and how to help them. Assessment to facilitate understanding. To bridge the gap between teaching and learning………………the new normal. 

Take a free trial on our assessment platform. For students of CBSE, ICSE, SSC, IGCSE boards. Grades 1-10. Gauge your learning this past year and test your readiness for next year. Login to Letspractise.

Importance of practicing mock papers before an exam

Before a discussion on why mock papers are important – let’s start with a few questions of three imaginary types of students, one an ideal, the kid every parent wishes their children were. The second who is closer to what students are and the third, the epitome of cool, well…

What kind of student have you been these last few months?

Diligent – You’re up to date with school work, you have completed your homework and know your subjects well. Completely ready.

Sort-of diligent – I have to brush up a bit, made a time-table. If I had to give my paper tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ready but I will be when the exams arrive.

Ho-hum, had some fun – There’s a battery called Eveready, then there’s me, Neveready.

How’s your written practice been?

Diligent – I know everything verbally, writing is a serious waste of time

Sort-of diligent – I guess I’ll do it, if there is time

Ho-hum, had some fun – You mean, with a pen?

How would you rate your conceptual clarity?

Diligent – easily 7 to 9 and that’s only because 10 would make me appear like a show-off

Sort-of diligent – 5 to 7, it varies though, depends on how much I like my teacher or the subject

Ho-hum, had some fun – umm, let’s start at the meaning of concept, shall we?

How to get down to actually practicing?

Many students balk at the idea of practising with mock papers. Yes, it is time-consuming, involves writing and eats into time for other things.

A good way to look at practise is by observing the best. Have you watched the kabaddi matches? The kabaddi player has to have the ability to hold the breath while entering the opponent’s arena. The reflexes have to be strong to get someone out, wrestling skills must be good enough to get away from being grappled to the ground and most of all, the ability to run when the odds are against them.

They follow a rigorous training regimen, follow a strict diet and must be mentally fit to face up to loss and win. How much rigour can a person undertake? There are times when the player gets bored. In that case, the coach changes the schedule, gives some slack time. The food can get boring, the dietician plans for cheat days. Yet the training continues.

Did you know that in competitive sports, there is a person to keep the motivation up? What we need to understand is that we human being wants to rest after doing some work, some routine change, some entertainment and rest. The coach assigned to the players knows to take all of these requirements in their stride while still working to a goal. Yet, practise is paramount. That is the only way ahead.

The same applies to students, yes, there is a lot to do. The only way to weed out the possibility of poor output is by way of practising.

Lack of practise leads to the following outcomes

Even if you know a subject, when it comes to writing the answer, a few things may happen:

·        Concept confusion – getting different concepts muddled, realising that your understanding was incomplete. If you haven’t had time to revise, and realise that you are muddled during the exam, you run the risk of getting anxious about all aspects of the subject

·        Untidy handwriting, too much scratching – too many mistakes for lack of practice, mock papers force you to see how your answers look once you have finished. Are you able to read your own handwriting to check your paper?

·        Poor flow of thought – this has everything to do with remembering points as they arrive in your head and not in the sequence that you would like

·        Long answers – sometimes, we know a lot about something but haven’t worked on wording it well

·        Insufficient time – practising mock papers allows you to prepare with a clear time allotment for different sections

·        New types of questions – The exam papers will not always have questions that have been practised in class. That means, you have to formulate the answer in a short time frame and under some stress.

Even if you have been diligent and on top of the class, practising with mock papers helps you to face the exams with confidence.

Face exams with confidence

Practise writing, check your answers, refine and shorten them so that the quality of answers is superior. Also, since you already have a habit of trying to make better answers, you are better skilled in the art of clarity and brevity. Both of these are learned skills, perfected through practice.

For the not-so-diligent student, you can up your performance through practise. Think about it, you are sacrificing so much time, putting so much effort and even if it feels a little last minute, you may as well aim to do well. Otherwise you would have lost that free time for no good reason. What if you look at practise as a task to be taken alongside your studies, as a means to cement all that you have done. Maybe at the end of the week, you can put aside maybe half a day for practising with mock papers. If you don’t have much time to revise and write a mock paper. Can you read through one? Can you verbally try solving it and checking for the areas that need a brush up? Mock papers are a great way to make the experience of examinations a stress-free time.

The ho-hum student, just start your work now. A good way to use mock papers is to try the verbal route. If you are able to practice with writing in the time available that will certainly help. 

 Letspractise.com provides a test paper series to help you practice before exams. Customized to your requirements. CBSE/ICSE/State/IGCSE, Grades 1-10, all subjects. 

 

Just do whatever it takes to study. If you start feeling stressed, calm down and work.

  • Contributed by Shobna Iyer

Supermoon – Everything you need to know about it.

supermoonYou may have heard about Monday’s supermoon, but what exactly is it, and is it really all that super?

In order to understand this phenomenon, you need to know a little bit about the orbital mechanics of  our solar system and how the sun, Earth and moon move.

The distance from Earth to the moon is an average of 384,000 km. However, the moon’s orbit is elliptical — as opposed to circular — and its distance varies by roughly 30,000 km over the course of one month. That means that once a month the moon is at a position closest to earth known as perigee, and farthest, apogee.

This phenomenon occurs when the full moon is closest to the Earth on its orbit.

How the supermoon got its name?

While astronomers refer to this phenomenon as a perigee full moon. The term supermoon has gained a foothold in popular culture.

Astrologer Richard Noelle says he coined the term supermoon in a 1979 article he wrote for Horoscope magazine. It described “a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”

November’s supermoon is also known as the Beaver Moon or Frost Moon. The names were coined by Native Americans due to the time at which the weather started getting colder and more pelts were needed to keep warm.

What can you expect to see?

In 2016, we’ll get a total of three supermoons:

  • one that passed on October 16,
  • the second on Monday, November 14  and,
  • the third on December 16.

But what makes Monday’s supermoon so special is that it’s the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948. It becomes full about two hours before perigee, at which time the moon will be roughly 356,509 kilometres from Earth.

Nasa says that we will not see a supermoon this close to earth  again until November 25, 2034. The moon will appear up to one-third brighter and 14% bigger than average.

If you missed the supermoon this Link will show you the 11 eye catching  images of this event from across the world.

Funny English – When English was murdered

As they say English is a funny language, here are some examples :

 

English

So it seems like you should contact them if you need a free WIFE.

 

English

I wanted a solid tea, and my friend wanted a balloon of gaseous tea.

 

English

They are probably going to give you a LAUNCH.

 

English

I am pretty sure they’re way ahead of their competitors.

 

English

This guy “Passed Away”.

 

English

I fell sick after reading this.

 

English

Happy Marriage “University” Bro.

 

English

Don’t WAIST your talent.

 

English

The College name was perfectly PLANNED.

 

 

aa

Elder just got LARGE.

 

 

English

This guy is in trouble now.

 

 

 

English

His friend passed way. May he R.I.P. just like his English.

 

 

English

This guy is probably a genius.

Exam Stress : Symptoms and handling techniques

Everyone gets stressed during exams. exam_time_014A little bit of stress can be a good thing as it motivates us to knuckle down and work hard. But exams can make stress levels get out of hand, which can prevent us from performing our best. So it’s important to address it and get it back under control.

Stress Symptoms :

  • Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Constant tiredness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Increased anxiety and irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness

How to cope with Exam Stress?

  • Keeping well : First and the foremost thing to cope with exam stress is to keep well. The three vital things your body needs to keep well is food, water and sleep.blockexams_2
  1. Water : Keeping hydrated is important for brain functions, distributing nutrients around our body and removing what we no longer need.
  2. Food : Nourish your body with lots of healthy food. Stock up on healthy snacks fuel your body and mind with lots of greens, fruit, nuts and seeds for healthy energy boosting snacks and make sure you have a balanced diet of three meals a day.
  3. Sleep : Sleep is so important, it’s your body’s healing time, when the cells repair and your brain archives and detoxes the millions of thoughts that have raced through your mind during the day.
  • Keeping yourself focused : When you wake each morning don’t rush to the nearest set of notes or textbook. Sit quietly in bed or look out of the window, place your hand on your heart and take deep breaths. Once you have found a rhythm that works for you – say one thing you are grateful for and set an intention for your day.
  • Setting yourself study goals : Always set yourself a study goal for the day which can be broken down into smaller tasks to become more manageable. This will help you stay relaxed and focused on what you need to complete.
  • Stick to what makes you happy : A routine is so important – if you love to run regularly, or like to have a kick around at the park, keep it up. It releases happy hormones and keeps you feeling grounded. Exercise itself won’t make you completely stress-free but getting sweaty does help you to detox the emotional intensity that you have been feeling, giving your brain a re-boot and improving mental clarity.
    If you are a creative sort and enjoy painting, sewing, drawing keep going. These kinds of activities will help you to zone out, giving the body and mind a much needed rest.
  • Let it go : Accept the things that you can’t change. Your exams are coming, they will happen and then they will be over. Instead of leaking energy on worrying about them create solutions and focus on what you can control.'It's not his fault Miss! He's been awake all night worrying about the exam!'
  • Steer clear of any exam ‘post-mortem’ : It doesn’t matter what your friend wrote for Question 3, it’s too late to go back and change your answers, so it will just make you worry even more.
  • Learn to recognize when you’re stressing out. A break or a chat with someone who knows the pressure you’re under will get things into perspective.
  • Ultimately, don’t lose sight of the fact that there is life after exams. Things might seem intense right now, but it won’t last forever.

This article mentions few more tips to deal with the exam stress.