“Questions in competitive Exams need not be perceived to be difficult but they are just different”
Yes ! Most of the questions in competitive examinations are not difficult but they are just different & they require a different approach, a different mindset & that’s why it is a different individual who clears these examinations. But, before we talk more about how to succeed in these different exams, it is very important to understand how they are different from board exams.
Board Exams vs Competitive Exams
- In board exams the focus is on Theory whereas in competitive exams the focus is on concepts (nuances & insights in theory) & application of concepts in different situations. The board exams test whether one knows the fundamentals or not, whereas competitive exams are designed to test whether one can as well apply these fundamentals to various situations or not.
- In board exams good writing and presentation skills are very important whereas in competitive exams what they emphasise upon is not your writing skills but understanding of fundamentals and their applications.
- Board exams are designed to filter below average students (who can’t score more than say 33% marks) from good and average students whereas competitive exams are designed to filter excellent students from the average ones.
- In board exams absolute marks are important (% marks scored) whereas in competitive exams relative marks/percentile rank is important (it is not important that whether you score 80 % or 90 % but what is important is how many students have scored more than you). Normally to succeed in a competitive examinations your percentile rank has to be 95% and above.
- Also in competitive examinations there are many students who miss by just one, two or three marks. This is the most important difference between the competitive exam and board exam. In board exam, you will say that two students getting 88% & 87% marks are equally intelligent and successful. But, in case of competitive exam, success & failure is just one mark away. So what makes competitive exams different (not difficult) is the cut throat competition for the limited seats, with testing on one’s analytical & problem solving skills.
Type of questions in Competitive Exams
The questions in competitive exams can be categorized as follows:
- Memory based questions: These are direct questions & can be solved without /bare minimum calculations
- Application based questions : These questions involve practical situations or otherwise & involve application of fundamental concepts .These problems can be further categorized into:
- - First level application: Involves application of only one concept
- Multilevel application: Involves application of more than one (usually 2 to 3) concepts.
Most of the questions in competitive examination are not tough, They are actually like riddles, which have a catch in them & involve application of several concepts. Questions also have an element of surprise in it & a student who is adept in tackling surprise questions is most likely to sail through. Questions in general in most of the verbatim competitive examinations are new & have not been taken from any of the books. So it is important for the candidate to be regularly exposed to such questions so that he or she will have great familiarity in tackling such questions. That’s what training for competitive exams is all about.
And last but not the least : The Time Pressure
Competitive Exams are often understood as a selection process, but in real sense it is nothing but an elimination process. The basic objective of the exam is to filter excellent candidate from an average one.
In a competitive examination, it is not important that whether one knows the question or not, & whether one can solve the question or not, but what is important is that whether you can solve the question in shortest possible time or not. So one’s success in competitive exams depends also upon the approach towards these questions i.e. the way one attacks these questions because that defines the time one would take to solve the question. Some questions can be solved by two or three methods, but it is important to understand the trick & adopt the shortest method so as to solve the question in shortest possible time.
So, apart from the type of questions what makes Competitive Exams different is the time pressure that they impose on on the students.
To summarize, Competitive Exam is not merely a test of one’s knowledge but it is also a test of one’s aptitude, time management skills, nerves, consistency and ability to apply fundamentals to situations involving usage of multiple concepts, which are sometimes related to real life situations as well.
Disclaimer: The information contained within this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining advice from professional experts. The ideas and views expressed here are all from the authors of the content and not from Yokibu. Please seek assistance from professional experts for your specific needs.