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JEE Mains 2020: Easy tips to crack the exam code

Yuvraj Pokharna

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Cracking a national-level examination is not a piece of cake. Therefore, you need to stay motivated to pursue the task with all your mind, soul and strength. The second attempt of JEE Mains 2020 is now scheduled from 1-6 September. With tough competition and hard questions, the exam has become a nemesis of India’s future technocrats who want to pursue their education in India’s premier engineering institutes mainly IITs. Here are some tips JEE aspirants can follow to prepare:

 Make a proper schedule

All aspirants who wish to crack JEE Mains are advised to make a proper schedule for their days including time for study, breaks and even naptime. A balanced day chart with due time given to rest is mandatory to remain focused and concentrated. When planning out a preparation schedule, it is important that you include your free time, time to play around, enjoy and party, while also including your study schedule. Proper utilisation of your time will only enhance your efficiency.

Structure your syllabus

 While structuring your syllabus, keep in mind the different sub-topics of the chapter and the various books that you can use for the preparation of that particular topic. Divide your topics in three zones: weak, moderate and strong. Try to focus more on strong chapters of yours during the last day revision and just read the important concept and formulae of weak chapters. When preparing the timetable, define the duration for completing a topic or chapter. Remember, completing a topic before the set deadline is always a booster.

Make mind maps

This personal obsession of mine has been of utmost help to my students in my decade of teaching. A ‘Mind Map’ is one where one jots down all the equations and theories used in that chapter in the form of flowcharts in a single page.

Revision is the key to success

Revise those questions which were doubtful during the first time. Use different pens to write short notes. Cramming all the equations, theories and questions will not help, understanding the logic and reasoning will. Hence, you should attempt JEE Mains mock tests and solve previous year question papers. On the other hand, do not spend hours on one topic or question either, you will only be wasting your time. If you are stuck at someplace, it is better to seek guidance on the issue or keep it aside for later, so that you can complete the rest of the chapter or topic.

Slow is smooth & smooth is faster

 Maintain your calm and let go off every thought except for the question or concept that you are grappling with. This will slow you down but you will gain smoothness. With due time and practice, this smoothness will give you speed and accuracy. This ‘mantra’ too has worked wonders!

The author is a mathematics faculty and heads a Surat-based coaching institute—IITeasy.

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Educationally Speaking

Achariya World Class Education explores the role of happiness in education

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Role of happiness in Education

The Indian education system has undergone tremendous changes in the course of history. While factors like its success and failure are open to deliberation, one fact that cannot be ignored is that it had put the students under a mountain of pressure. From the pressure to score well to pressure to outshine in extra-curricular activities, all of it took a toll on students physical and mental well being. As move forward, it is the moral responsibility of each individual to make the New Education Policy address all those concerns for a better future.

Achariya World Class Education recently organised a thought-provoking webinar on the ‘Role Of Happiness in Education’ to understand and suggest how we can transform ourselves and the Indian education system.

In his inaugural remarks, Mr Samyak Chakrabatory, Founder & M.D. of X Billion Skills Lab, who was also the co-host, said, “For companies, students are essentially creators of revenue, for tuition classes- students are a way to attract more students and for schools-students have become mere cohorts that we need to push forward and take them to top the exams. In all of that, somewhere we have forgotten what about the child, what about the students and also moving out of that the role of education is also producing citizens of the country and of the world.”

Elaborating on what does happiness mean especially in the context of happiness, Dr J Arawindhan, Chief Mentor & M.D, Achariya World Class Education, said, “Education is all about expression. When you are able to express yourself in your head and your heart happily, willingly and smilingly; you are able to do things from your head and heart holistically without any limitations, you can see your own possibilities making into peak possibilities of your own expression- That is where the happiness is there in education. Expression should be there; Education should be towards that expression and that expression from the head, heart and hand should be integrated. Expression without the heart, expression without the head and expression without the hand is incomplete expression. Without the combination of these three, you will not have the state of happiness.”

Teachers are delivery mechanism of education. When asked how do we convince the teachers to not create more pressure or anxiety on students, Dr Arawindhan further added, “In context of a classroom, the teacher is like a magician. The interaction between a teacher and the student, the master and the fellow, is what is needed instead of mugging up a book. If we ask for skills, intelligence and expression of individuals, the schooling and the classroom experience would be much more happier. We need an ecosystem for that to happen.”

Speaking about how can schools and colleges transform itself to be a happy environment from an infrastructural point of view and behaviourally from a teacher’s perspective, Mr Biju Dominic, Chairman at FinalMile Consulting, Chief Evangelist at Fractal Analytics, said, “Happiness, from an overall perspective, as far as any activity is concerned, is when I want to do that activity over and over again and that I am looking forward to doing that activity. We say that there will be happiness when students say that ‘oh, I want to learn’ or ‘I want to do that activity again and again. From a brain’s point of view, when I am sort of anticipating something that I really want to do, the chemical that gets released is the dopamine. If dopamine gets released, the brain wants more and more of it. When we create the whole environment of learning, wherein students, teachers, school, parents and the physical environment play a role, happiness really comes alive in the world of education.”

Spiritual and mindfulness coach Shyamal Vallabhjee, highlighting the role of spirituality as an essential ingredient in a schools’ curriculum, said, “if you take one sect of spirituality, for example Buddhism, we talk of awareness and equanimity. Awareness is your ability to draw your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and hold it and equanimity is your ability to distance from it. Through awareness, we cultivate a practice called mindfulness. Mindfulness is your ability to stir your mind. When you stir your mind physiologically, we also relax the body. If you look at the physiology, the hormone and the gut that drives happiness is serotonin. 90% of your serotonin is in your gut. If we can bring a spiritual practice like breath work, mindfulness, gratitude to the forefront of education then what you are doing is that you are ensuring each person is cultivating the art of centering their mind every single time. This doesn’t mean that they would not be unhappy or they will not have anxiety but it means that the frequency at which these incidents happen will reduce quite drastically. Also, it will empower them to reset their mind and body every single time they move out of it.”

He further added, “With respect to happiness, the biggest problem is that we tend to link happiness with success and that is the first thing that education needs to break out of. Until you do not break the invisible thread that somehow got linked, then people will feel that they are on a conveyor belt and they need to continuously do more and more. As a result of that, you are going to make yourself a victim to everything outside. Any person you speak to about happiness, will tell you that happiness starts within.”

When asked how do we incorporate it in a systematic fashion, Shyamal Vallabhjee responded, “In a world of information overload, more important that the habit you cultivate, are the people you choose to listen to because they will reiterate the habits that you need to become the person that you want to. We can change the education system very simply. We try to create a practice where every single class from Grade I to Grade XII, the one minute of their practice is by stilling the mind and then we teach people how to become hypersensitive of how they choose to listen to.”

Watch the entire telecast here: 

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BHABHA ATOMIC RESEARCH CENTRE IS HIRING FOR 105 JRF POSTS: APPLY NOW

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Mumbai: The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai has released an official notification inviting all the interested and eligible candidates for the award of Junior Research Fellowships at this centre. The BARC Recruitment 2020 for 105 vacancies has started and the last date to apply is January 15, 2021 on the website—barc.gov.in. All the selected candidates will register for PhD in Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI a deemed to be University of Department of Atomic Energy). Application fee of 500 is payable at the time of submission of online application. Mode of payment of the application fee is only through online. Application fee is exempted for women candidates and candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Person with Disabilities.

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MPBSE BOARD EXAM: LAST DATE FOR APPLICATION EXTENDED

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New Delhi: MPBSE Board Exam 2021 has been extended the last date to submit an application till 31 December 2020, by the Board of Secondary Education, Madhya Pradesh. Candidates who are to appear for the classes 10, 12 board exams can submit their online application forms on the official website of MPBSE—mpbse.nic.in. The Board has reduced the late fees for online application submission. Students who will submit the examination form till 31 December will have to pay Rs 100 extra as of late fees. Students who will apply till 15 January will have to pay a late fee of Rs 2,000. For students who pay till 31 January, the late fees will be Rs 5,000. And those who will apply till 31 March will have to pay a late fee of Rs 10,000.

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NO CBSE BOARD EXAMS TILL AFTER FEBRUARY, SAYS EDUCATION MINISTER POKHRIYAL

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New Delhi: Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ went live on Twitter on Tuesday to interact with teachers across the country on the topic of board exams 2021. He said that the CBSE board exams would not be held till after February, and that more discussion was needed to fix the CBSE board exam 2021 dates. The board exam situation has been confusing students and parents as no date has been decided for the start of the CBSE board exams 2021. Usually, the CBSE board exam schedule for the upcoming year is released by November in the previous year.

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PM MODI RELEASES SPECIAL STAMP TO MARK CENTENNIAL OF AMU

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PM Modi on Covid 19

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special postal stamp on Tuesday, to mark the centennial celebration of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). PM Modi participated in the event through video conferencing. With PM Modi, the Chancellor of the University Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin and Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ were also present on the occasion. PM Modi also praised the efforts of AMU in helping the society at various time of crisis including getting thousands of people to do free tests, building isolation wards, building plasma banks and contributing a large amount to the PM Care Fund shows the seriousness of fulfilling your obligations to society.

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Educationally Speaking

Corporatisation and education: Are children turning into robots?

Debaroopa Bhattacharyya

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In the two decades of my teaching and consultation career, whenever I have counselled parents or conducted seminars and workshops with them, I have invariably begun with: “Where do you see your children ten years from now?” And I have always been bombarded with answers containing this one very loaded adjective: Successful. All parents want to see their children as successful professionals, successful artists, and successful sportspersons—come what may. I find it appalling how not a single parent, in all these years, ever declared that they imagined their child would grow up to be “healthy”, “happy” or “resilient”, irrespective of their profession and the moolah they make annually.

Let’s face some harsh facts before taking this discussion further. One in four teenagers in India suffers from depression. Over the last five years, more than 40,000 students committed suicide in India. Last year, 8,492 students committed suicide. One student commits suicide every hour in India. Teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, which in turn raises levels of depression, according to a new study by the University at Buffalo. The study surveyed more than 800 adolescents for sleep quality, cyber aggression, and depression, each phenomenon connected to the other. Cyber victimisation has emerged as a unique form of peer victimisation and a major mental health concern among teens who are digital natives. And yet, we keep telling ourselves that today’s teenagers are just fragile or obsessed with their looks—such blame games only making the diagnosis and treatment of teenage depression more challenging.

Covid-19 has further endangered the future of 600 million children in South Asia, according to UNICEF. In India, school closures have impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and 28 million pre-school children in Anganwadi centres. The Childline India Helpline received almost 4.6 lakh calls in just 21 days around the beginning of the lockdown. There was a 50% increase in the number of calls pertaining to instances of child abuse. Nearly 10,000 of these calls were intervention cases which required Childline staff to reach the children in need of support. Of these, 30% of calls were related to escalation in violence, child sexual abuse, child marriage and child labour.

The lockdown and the consequent economic distress made children vulnerable to exploitation, sexual abuse, violence, child labour and trafficking. Being away from school has also disrupted their daily routine and support system outside their homes.  Other factors such as staying indoors all day long and adapting to online classes have increased the sense of isolation among children, leading to anxiety and depression. An increased exposure to screens and to online abuse has also severely affected the mental health of adolescents. As of June 2019, only 40% of the population had access to the internet, making it extremely difficult for students in rural areas to join online classes, which only added further to their anxiety levels.

These statistics bring us face to face with some uncomfortable questions. What then is being successful? Does being successful in terms of examination results ensure the absence of defeat forever? Does success in terms of professional laurels mean the exclusion of failure altogether? Does success in terms of seemingly perfect relationships mean the complete absence of fear and insecurities? Does a great career mean a smooth ride throughout with no rough seas ever?

The answer—whether you like it or not—is that none of these are mutually exclusive. Success and failure are the two sides of the same coin. Therefore, we need to train our children to not hanker after a utopian world where only “success” exists. Rather, right from an early age, let them get acquainted to the thorns just as much as the roses. Let us teach children to deal with failure as a stepping stone to success and to handle success not as an end in itself. Let us not force them with unrealistic expectations and provide them the time and space to grow at their own pace. Let us enforce discipline by setting examples instead of instructing them. Let us encourage an atmosphere where disagreement and debate can happen without abuse and violence, without any shame or fear of being judged. Let us stop body-shaming ourselves and our children and take pride in the people we are. Let us promote healthy food habits, but also bond over a pizza and favourite TV show on the weekends.

A recent advertisement by a popular tech startup, which made news after it was acquired by an edu-tech giant, shows how with its advanced courses in coding, children as young as six years old will be able to create apps and bring about much-needed change, including solutions to complex problems like fixing the earth and environment. The company has also generated much controversy over fake claims of facilitating a kid who learnt coding with the firm and found a high paying job at Google. The company is also facing allegations of corporate surveillance, as a result of which, several of their videos have been taken down.

This enterprise is a minor embodiment of the present modernization project unleashed by corporate capitalism which aims at creating a technologically-empowered high-functioning population of children and enabling them to become high-earning teenagers, besides, of course, high expectations from their career trajectories as adults. What these corporate giants capitalise on is the modern parents’ dream of having such “tech-geniuses” with the lure of assured money and fame. In India, it is not uncommon to use “science and technology” as tranquilising shots for the universal anxiety of parents about the future of their kids. The hidden agenda amidst all of this which deserves our scrutiny is the dangerous mission of these edu-tech giants of corporatizing education and presenting the early learning of technology as palatable to both adults and children.

Can we really burden our children with the responsibility of finding solutions to problems that generations of modern adults have failed at? Is it right to lure such young minds with dreams of “greatness”? Yes, the future of a nation and its people depends on how its children are trained and taught, but does intelligence only restrict itself to the learning and application of mindless technology? In the absence of a proper humanitarian backing for education and technology, we find our computer algorithms to exhibit the same biases as human beings. As corporate capitalism takes over the world, ordinary people stand at serious risk of having their behavioural and psychological patterns exploited by corporate giants to benefit their scheme of making profits. We need to stop falling prey to these fads that are slow-poisoning our children into growing up too fast. Instead, let us think of why, in spite of all these gadgets, most of our children do not feel happy and secure. How can we dispel their insecurities? How can we extend genuine support and make them feel loved, irrespective of their academic and non-academic performance? How can their self esteem, and problem solving abilities be fortified?

Here, we may consider borrowing a few pages from the manuals of parents in countries which rank high on the index of the happiest children in the world, namely Finland and the Netherlands. Dutch parents choose schools which lay more stress on children imbibing social skills rather than over academic achievement. Dutch parents abstain from using cars and have their children bike all year round. Dutch parents also encourage their children to express their opinions and preferences and negotiate their case in a very democratic way from as early as the age of three. Meanwhile, Finnish children practise sisu, an attitude of not quitting when faced with a challenge, whether it is for putting together a difficult puzzle or resolving a dispute with another child. In Finland, toddlers also carry their own plates and cutlery to the dirty dish cart after eating meals. These are the ways in which they learn independence from a young age.

We don’t even need to go that far. If we take a stroll through our own history, we find that under the Gurukul system, all shishyas, irrespective of their socio-economic status, co-inhabited dormitories with basic but equal amenities throughout their student lives, and grew up learning not only academic and administrative skills, but also social and life skills, which made for holistic education. The system also taught them to nurture nature, look after the community, and manage all their daily chores independently. As a result, this system not only created more complete and confident individuals, ready to take on life under all circumstances, but also instilled a sense of discipline, communal responsibility, social equality and brotherhood among pupils drawn from different strata of society.

As parents, it is not only our duty to help our children grow with the right facilities and amenities, which we fiercely compete with other parents to provide our kids with, but also to help them grow with the right attitude. Most children, especially in urban areas, are growing up with a looming sense of ennui and a lack of direction. Everything, from gadgets to books to chores to relationships, becomes “boring” after the first test drive and it’s time for the next adventure, leading our children and young adults to precarious experiences like substance abuse, promiscuous relationships, multiple sexual partners, an over-the-edge style of living and so on. Besides that, there is a general sense of taking everything for granted as material things are more readily available to children today. From this stems an infectious trait of ingratitude towards health, opportunities, relationships and the environment. And when parents surrender to this attitude, they are not only pushing their children further towards a world of alienation, loneliness and misplaced goal posts, where the latest gadgets are their ambitions and social media profiles are friends, but also contributing heavily towards weakening a nation which needs its human resources to take her to newer heights tomorrow.

We need to work towards helping our children grow into industrious and patriotic individuals who can build a stronger, more vibrant and more inclusive nation, instead of turning into a brood of app-making clones pursuing only what is fashionable and monetarily gratifying. Why don’t we involve our children in nation-building activities like being a part of the army, police, hospitals, social welfare departments, flood relief operations, the spastic society, rural development centres, culture departments, tribal and minority development departments, women and child welfare departments and other such areas? It can do well to have children do at least six months or a year of mandatory hands-on service for any of these sectors where they stand to benefit from understanding the woes of the have-nots or their brethren who fight daily battles for their survival and identity. This would instil in the Gen Z some gratitude for the gifts they take for granted and often squander at the altar of misled fancies.

Education that does not build character is hardly worth its name and success that doesn’t teach you to handle failure isn’t worth pursuing. Success is not a skill you can acquire, it is a by-product. If life skills—just like technical skills—are soundly internalised, there is no reason why success can ever elude our children. And this success would be far more holistic and meaningful than scoring a 99.99 percentile in the classroom.

The writer is founder and editor-in-chief of Tribe Tomorrow Network. The views expressed are personal.

Dutch parents choose schools which lay more stress on children imbibing social skills rather than over academic achievement. Finnish children practise sisu, an attitude of not quitting when faced with a challenge, whether it is for putting together a difficult puzzle or resolving a dispute with another child. In Finland, toddlers also carry their own plates and cutlery to the dirty dish cart after eating meals. These are the ways in which they learn independence from a young age.

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