Success in a competitive exam is not only dependent on your knowledge level but also on to what extent you can apply that knowledge in the examination hall. In other words, what matters is to what extent a student can convert his/her knowledge (input) into the net score (output). Results of a survey said that most of the students fail not because of lack of knowledge (input) but because of inability to convert the input into the output. Despite this, it has been frequently seen that the student still spends 99% of their energy and time in gaining input i.e. acquiring more and more knowledge and ignoring output.
Hence, a student needs to measure and improve his output. The best tool to monitor your output is by periodically appearing in tests. A test will not only help in measuring your output but will also provide you an answer to what steps you should initiate to convert your input to output. The three factors you should monitor regularly are :
• Speed: Ability to solve questions quickly
• Strike Rate: Ability to solve questions correctly
• Selection: Ability to select what to do & what not to do
In competitive exams, apart from solving the questions, what is equally important is whether you can solve the question in the shortest possible time or not because that would determine the total number of questions you would be able to solve. Speed means the average time you take to solve a question.
This originates from the second important factor, the strike rate. Strike rate means the percentage of correctly attempted questions. A strike rate of 90 means that 90 percent of questions attempted are correct and 10 percentage are wrong.
Here I would like to share one of my experiences. I was doing a seminar in association with HT Horizons in Delhi. In the question-answer session, one of the students asked me, “Sir, I think I have reached the peak of my speed & strike rate, which means I think I cannot further improve upon my speed & strike rate. But, my net score is still less than the expected NEET cut-off. What should I do to improve my score?”
This brings us to the third very important factor for improving performance i.e., selection of questions.
It is very important to understand what you have to attempt and what you have to leave. There is a limit to which you can improve your speed and strike rate beyond which what becomes very important is your selection of questions. So success depends a lot upon how judiciously one can select the questions. To optimize your performance, you should quickly scan for easy questions and come back to the difficult ones later.
Always keep in mind that normally questions in any competitive exams can be categorized into 3 areas
Easy: Approximately 25% of questions in a paper are easy.
Average: Approximately 60% of questions in a paper are average.
Difficult: Approximately 15% of questions in a paper are difficult.
Remember what percent of easy and average questions you can attempt correctly will decide your selection whereas difficult questions will decide your merit. So, while attempting a paper you should focus on careful selection of the easy and average questions and avoid difficult questions in the first and second round and come back to them once you have completed the entire paper once.
Also, remember that the cut-off in most of the exams moves between 62 to 67% (except JEE where the cut-off is usually between 40 to 50%). So if you focus on easy and average questions i.e. 85 % of the questions, you can easily score 70% marks without even going to difficult questions. Try to ensure that in the initial 2 hours of the paper the focus should be clearly on easy and average questions, after two hours you can decide whether you want to move to difficult questions or revise the ones that attempted to ensure a high strike rate.
So keep in mind, the speed with which you attempt the exam, strike rate and selections of questions, before you appear for any tests or exam.