Remember your english exams?

One of my cousin sisters told me a while back that she had our final term examinations in her school, and because I write a bit, she asked me for tips on how she could score better in her English exam. But before I went on to give her advice, I thought to myself on the kind of advice/perceptions I used to get from people (friends, teachers, parents and padosis) on how to score better in an English exam. Do you remember them, particularly the 10 mark essay that we were to write in the exam?

1. The 10 mark essay question was to be written in less than 250 words, and you had to fill a minimum of 180-220 words to score well in the 10 mark question.

2.  Good vocabulary (read: ‘difficult’ words, ‘impressive’ words, words that other students wouldn’t understand) would fetch you more marks.

3. An impressive beginning and end would get you good marks.

What I did to cater to all of this was mug up a few ‘difficult’ words from books like BBC, Together with English, Golden guide etc., learn a generic beginning and end that would fit in most article topics so that I was ready with at-least 70-80 words before-hand. All I now I had to do was fill was just a hundred more words to reach an 8 out of 10, smooth!

I used the exact same strategy till my class 12, and I ‘thought’ I knew how to write articles. It was later that I actually started reading in my college days where I was exposed to some pretty articles/content which made me realize that a 50 word article, without one fancy word, but just an interesting opinion that made me think on the topic made a great read for me. Do you think such an article would get a 10 on 10 in an English school examination? No.

I really wish the education system moves in a direction where the thought is give more importance than the number of words, where a student pays more attention to the flow of the article than counting the number of words in it, where an article like the one I mentioned gets a 10 on 10. We’ll have so many better writers in our country that way.

And wait, what did I tell my sister? “Go read BBC and Together with English, teachers waheen se topics pick karti hai :P”

But I did give this perspective to her too 🙂

All the best if you’re giving your school exams right now!