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Is aiming for specific marks motivation or pressure? Here’s what CBSE class 10 toppers say

Toppers from Apeejay School, Noida, talk about how the pandemic impacted their study schedule, the importance of keeping calm, and more



Having an aim or a goal is always important. In the case of the CBSE toppers, many of them tend to aim for a specific percentage in their exam results. But does targeting a specific score motivate a student or just add to the exam pressure? CBSE class 10 topper Naisha Rajput from Apeejay School Noida believes in having a competitive streak. “Setting a target is good, in my opinion. Besides, I am curious to know my friends’ marks or ranks. However, it does not bother me so much if they score better than me. It is only a source of motivation to work even harder,” says the topper who scored 99.6 per cent.

Maitri Maheshwari rightly points out the difference between having expectations from oneself versus what others expect of him or her. The topper, with a whopping 99 per cent, remarks, “I feel if you set a target for yourself, that is motivation. If somebody else is setting the target for you, then that can amount to pressure.”

‘Online classes were an advantage’

As students geared toward achieving their respective goals, online classes amid the pandemic turned out to be a boon for them. “Because there was no commute, we ended up saving a lot of time which I utilised to study,” explains Naisha.

Agrees Bhavya Tiwari, who scored 99.2 per cent, “Apart from taking commute time out of the picture, it also allowed us the chance to be able to communicate with our teachers easily. They would immediately respond on call or message.”

This did not mean that the students’ journey ended up being all work and no play. Bhavya made sure to relax by pursuing hobbies. Maitri, on the other hand, believes the extra-curricular activities kept her calm and composed which was, in fact, the key to her success. “I binge-watched a lot of shows and listened to music—but I also made sure I studied when I had to. So, I was calm and composed.

“I also think consistency is the key. I did not study a lot on a daily basis, but I studied every day. I think that helped me a lot. The other important reason behind achieving 99 was achieving a clear understanding of concepts. The questions this time were twisted,” the topper, who wishes to be an economist, adds.

For Neelesh Om Jagadish Mishra, who also scored 99 per cent, coding was his source of relaxation. “It is something I am passionate about. I wish to pursue engineering in Computer Science from one of the IITs,” adds the topper who had already enrolled himself in a JEE coaching centre.

‘Devised a plan to avoid silly mistakes in exams’

What helped Neelesh manage the CBSE syllabus was culling out narratives in subjects like social science. “My parents helped me with this. They read out the chapters in the form of stories which helped me remember things. They also suggested I make short notes for each chapter which turned out to be helpful.”

Sunaira Gupta, who also secured 99 per cent, came up with an interesting way to memorise dates in History. “I tried connecting the dates in history to things that happen in my personal life on those dates. It could be my friend’s birthday or any other event. Moreover, understanding concepts is crucial so that we can frame answers in our own words,” she says.

To avoid silly mistakes in Mathematics, Maitri had planned a strategy. “I researched techniques to cross-check your answers. In case I had a doubt about one of the math problems, I tried solving it via another method and checked if the results tallied. This helped me a lot. But for this, you have to make sure you have enough time during the exam to re-do the questions.”

Meanwhile, Naisha consciously avoided distractions like social media to maintain focus. But at the same time, she took breaks to play the synthesizer–for which she is pursuing a six-year course—and listen to classical music. “People usually talk about time management. I think it is all about self-management. You cannot manage time, but you have to manage yourself according to the time. If you can do that perfectly, then you can overcome every hurdle,” says the young student, who has already started her JEE preparation. 

“The result is a manifestation of the culture of excellence that Apeejay School, Noida, stands for. It’s the synergy between the management, staff and parents that has empowered our students to optimise their potential. Congratulations to all!”


Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.