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‘You don’t always have to give up your hobbies for board exam’

CBSE class 12 toppers from Apeejay School Panchsheel Park take us through their preparation strategy, future plans and more

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“I had been eagerly waiting for the results for 15-20 days! I feel happy now,” says Baljyot Singh, who topped Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, in the CBSE class 12 exam, the results for which were declared yesterday, letting students finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Baljyot Singh

Baljyot, who secured 98 per cent, is currently focusing on JEE Main Session II. He wishes to pursue his engineering, preferrably in Computer Science from one of the NITs or IITs. Not to mention, he scored a perfect 100 in the subject in his CBSE exam. The school topper says the board exam already prepared him well for JEE so he did not need to start from scratch. “If you prepare for CBSE thoroughly, then 90 per cent of the JEE syllabus is already covered. Initially, I focused more on CBSE rather than JEE—I studied 10 hours a day for CBSE and 2 hours for JEE,” he says.

Baljyot relied mostly on NCERT books for Physics and Chemistry to prepare for CBSE apart from those by RD Sharma and RS Aggarwal for Mathematics. He also studied material provided by his coaching centre. For the subjective question paper, he practised writing answers. ‘On the day of the exam, I attempted the easiest questions first to build some confidence and then solved the others,” he adds. “For CBSE, the material provided by my school and my coaching centre was sufficient.”

‘Self-study helped me be in control’

Maanya Panwar, on the other hand, did not opt for any coaching. A strong believer in self-study, the Apeejay student, who scored 97.2 per cent, says, “I have never taken private tuition. Self-study helped me be in control of when and what I wanted to study. I could approach topics at my own pace. Through self-study, I was able to dedicate enough time to each subject as per my needs.” Maanya adds that this time she was also able to discover the benefit of studying with friends.

Maanya Panwar

While studying on her own, Maanya was also able to find time to relax, destress and pursue her hobbies. “Having an exam does not mean I will have to give up on my hobbies!” she exclaims. She took out time to read books and also play with her two pet dogs. Meanwhile, her mother and elder sister (her father passed away a few years ago), supported her throughout. “My mother gave me a watch as a gift which was very thoughtful of her; my family just always told me to give my best,” she adds.

A Humanities student, Maanya wishes to pursue Psychology and has been taking entrance exams. “I am considering Jamia Millia Islamia University and OP Jindal University which have a good course structure. My interest in Psychology developed in class 8. It is a mix of social sciences and Biology, which happens to be my favourite among the three science subjects.”

Meanwhile, Commerce student Sneha Garg, who secured 97.6 per cent, wishes to pursue her higher studies in Design. She has been taking coaching classes and has already taken some entrance exams. “My result for National Institute of Design is awaited. Besides, I am also applying to Delhi University.” For now, she is eyeing Communication Design.

‘Managed subjective answers by remembering keywords’

Asked about the big leap from Commerce to Design, she explains, “I am weak in theory. So, I did not want to take Humanities. The other options were Physics, Chemistry and Maths (PCM) and Commerce. I took Commerce to not overburden myself and prepare for Design simultaneously.”

Sneha Garg

Being weak in theory, Sneha adopted a perfect strategy to address subjective questions in the board exam. “I tried to remember keywords to be able to frame the answers. I mostly focused on practical subjects like Mathematics and Accounts. I finished the syllabus one or two days before the exam in order to solve some sample question papers. And I used to practise writing everything.

“As for the question paper, I started from the first question and wherever I had a doubt, I left some space for that particular question on the answer sheet and went back to it after completing the rest of the question paper.”

For Maanya, clarity of concepts was the most important. “If concepts are clear, it becomes easier to approach subjective questions,” she suggests. “Take subjects that you actually enjoy instead of those chosen by your mentors or parents, understand the concepts and always reach out to the teachers who are always willing to help. I always approached my schoolteacher whenever I had a conceptual doubt.”

Talking about the role of his teachers, Baljyot adds, “They gave a lot of relaxation so that we could prepare well. I attended the classes regularly which helped a lot. The teachers also provided us with useful suggestions and many sample papers.”

Meanwhile, he made sure to keep himself away from social media to avoid distraction. “I deactivated my social media account prior to the exams. Although I used YouTube mostly to watch educational videos. The videos helped majorly for JEE but for CBSE, the material provided by the school and the coaching centre was sufficient.” 

Sneha’s parents imposed strict rules at home too to prevent social media usage. “I followed my parents’ instructions and look how it paid off!” she laughs.  

“Congratulations to all students! You have made your school proud, and I wish you success in all your future endeavours!”

-Sandeep Singh Kathuria, principal, Apeejay Panchsheel Park

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior 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.

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