In this chapter, you will learn ways to use your time more efficiently when you are in your school, your college, or your classroom.
Do You Know How Much Time You Spend in the Classroom and at home?
Read this carefully and understand how much time you have and how you spend that time. This understanding alone may change your total approach to how valuable you consider your school. It can motivate you to use your time better in school.
Students spend a lot of their time in schools, colleges, or classrooms.
Let us do a simple calculation and find out how much time. This is just an example. Your timings may be different and you may be spending a little more or a little less time in your school.
Travel to school and back
1 (to 2)
Getting ready, etc.
8 (to 9) hours
So, a student may be spending about 8 hours in school.
Now, let us calculate how much is the total time available every day for studies whether at school or home. Here is how some other time may go:
- sleep (8 hours)
- eating + tea + snacks (2 hours)
- bath + morning activities (1 hour)
- total hours for sleep, eating, etc. (11 hours)
So out of 24 hours a day, about 19 hours go for school, sleep, eating, etc. That means only 5 hours per day are in your control. You can study at that time. If you want you can play games, do physical exercise, meet friends, watch a film or watch videos. If you spend 2 hours in all these entertainment and health-related activities, then only 3 hours per day remain for studies.
Here is a very important fact: for studies, you cannot have as much time at home as you do at school. Actually, the time you spend in school is more than double the time you can spend at home on your studies. So, to achieve success in your studies and exams, one of the most important things you can do is to fully use your time in school.
Systematic Revision and the Topper’s Daily Routine
You should revise in school and at home to benefit fully from your learning and hard work. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 1 and Chapter 4.
Take Mind Maps
Mind mapping is the most effective way to take notes. This is described in detail in Chapter 7.
How to Get Help from Your Teachers and How to Get More Marks in Practical, Internal, or Laboratory Exams, Without any Extra Work
It is very simple. Simply, tell your teacher that you are working hard. That you want to achieve success in IAS, CAT, NEET, IITJEE, IAS, or whatever competition you want to succeed in. If you are studying hard to get in merit, then tell to your teacher.
Most teachers are very good. Some are not good. The simple technique discussed above will work with everyone. Why does this simple method work so well? All teachers want to be good teachers. Many want to be the best teachers. They try to teach well. They want their students to achieve great
success. That is one big satisfaction for any teacher including myself. For example, I consider my effort to develop this book a great success because I get thousands of letters from users (my students). They say that this book has changed their lives, it made them better at studies, that it made them better at jobs, that it helped them achieve success in competitions. There is another reason why a teacher wants his students to succeed: it may get the teacher more tuition or get him or her recognition and awards.
Maybe you do not totally agree with me. Do one simple thing. Imagine that you are a teacher. You spend about 8 hours or more of your time teaching students. What would you like to be remembered as by your students and others?
In the last 5 or 10 years, the need to be recognized as a good teacher or a good school has become very important. Many schools in big cities advertise in newspapers to say that their results are so good, that their students got ranks in IITJEE, NEET, IAS, CAT, UPSC, CA, Banking, State admin services, etc.
Do not delay. Tell your teacher today that you want to succeed. He or she has the power to help you. I know it because I got 49 marks out of 50 in Physics practical exam in the 10th class. My teacher told me one day after the practice exams that he has given me 49 marks and that I should work hard and try to get into the merit list. The teacher told me the marks on his own. I did not even tell him that I was trying to get in the merit. I did not think I was good enough to get into the merit. He also asked me for a promise that I must not tell anybody that he revealed the marks to me. Not even to my family. I kept the promise for 12 years. And now in this book, for the first time, I am breaking my promise. I am telling you so that you too can benefit.
Never try to insult or make fun of your teacher. How do you feel when somebody insults you or makes fun of you? Think of any such incident. I am sure you felt angry and wanted to take revenge, even though you may have just smiled that time.
The same is true of every human being. Even a teacher will get angry. And some may even take revenge.
In any case, why should you make fun of your teacher? To prove that you are smarter. You do not have to prove that. Because that is a fact. Younger people are smarter than older people. You are smarter than even me, simply because you are younger. Just know this. Do not try to prove it.
How to Attend Your Class for Maximum Learning
Since you spend so much time in school, you should try to make the best possible use of that time.
Sit in the front row
If you sit in the last row in the class, you see the teacher, the blackboard, and all the students sitting in front of you. When any student in your view talks or moves, it distracts you. That is more entertaining than listening to the teacher. So, you lose concentration. You miss what the teacher is teaching.
Now consider what happens if you sit in the front row. You see only the teacher and the blackboard. So you can concentrate better. Not only that, you cannot even sleep in the front row. But you can sleep in the last row.
Now a more scientific explanation of why you should sit in the front row. If you sit in the back row, your brain/mind has to process two things: the teacher teaching on the blackboard and the students sitting (and sometimes doing mischief). So some of your brainpower is wasted in keeping track of what other students are doing. Now, consider what happens when you sit in the front row? The eyes/brain see only the teacher and the blackboard. Even the blackboard looks bigger when you sit in front. The result is that more brainpower is available to process (understand, remember, become interested in, concentrate, learn) what the teacher is teaching.
On the psychological level, a teacher looks more frequently at students who sit in the front row. So a teacher is more likely to remember you as a good student if you sit in the front row. This may help you get more marks in internal or practical exams.
On the practical level, most teachers can find out when students do not understand what they are teaching. So if you are in the front row and if you do not understand something, the teacher is more likely to repeat it.
So, you should sit in the front row in the classroom. You may say that this is not possible if everyone wants to sit in the front row. How can everybody sit in the front row? Well, you are smart enough to get this book. So you know. But not
everyone knows that just by sitting in the front row you learn much better.
Bend a little forward while sitting
When you sit erect or straight, you tend to be attentive. If you bend a little backward, you will tend to be lazy, slow, and concentrate less. But if you bend a little forward, you will concentrate more. You will be more attentive.
Just like all techniques I teach, use this for a few days. If you like it, continue to use it. Otherwise, don’t.
Ask questions to clarify. Ask questions if you do not understand something. If you do not understand something, request the teacher to repeat it.
Do not be shy. Do not worry about “what others will think”.
This advice applies to everything in life, not just asking questions.
What to do if you have to miss classes
Do not miss a single class if possible. If possible, plan when you have to miss classes. Study extra hard. Study in advance what you are going to miss. And when you come back, you should study what the teacher is teaching in the class. And then spend extra time to learn and revise what you missed.
How to Best Use Your Lunch Breaks
If you do not eat lunch in the break, then going for a walk is one of the best things you can do. Walking is a good exercise. Then come back to the classroom a little before time. Just sit down and relax so that you are ready to learn when the class begins.
For more details about walking/exercise and relaxation, please read Chapter 5.
How to Benefit from Your Classmate’s Hard Work
Let us learn how you can benefit from your classmates and how you can help them.
You are not competing only against your classmates
In today’s India, most of the competitions are at the national level and a few at the state level. Nobody from a class may succeed or even 5 or 10 students from a single class may succeed. So it is not important whether you are number 1 or 2 or 3 in your class anymore. The only important thing is if you are good enough for the national competition.
I have seen classmates competing against one another. Obviously, if you view your classmates as your competitors, then you will not help them and they will not help you. For example, you will not tell them about this book. The total result is that you do not benefit from the intelligence and hard work of your classmates.
So, I suggest that you talk to a few students whom you like. You can decide to go for walk together during lunchtime. You can all discuss issues such as which is the best book, which is the best coaching, and who is a good teacher. You can also discuss some specific subject-related questions. You can all experiment and share the results and the knowledge. If you can all cooperate, the chances of success in the competitions will increase for all of you. You will all benefit.
You are still competing with your classmates in one way. Your teachers believe from their experience that only one student (or a few) can be very good in any class. So if you are fourth in your class, your teachers may not help you in getting more marks in practical exams. Still co-operating with other classmates will be more rewarding than not co-operating.
Use this approach for some time and decide if it can work for you and your classmates.
Should You Participate in Extra-Curricular Activities
Any extra-curricular activity by definition is an activity that will not help your curriculum (subject knowledge).
There are two types of extra-curricular activities. One kind requires subject knowledge. You should participate in such activities.
This is one way to show your teachers that you are good at your subjects. This will help you in internal and practical exams.
The other types of extra-curricular activities are games, drawing, painting, “projects for making things”, etc. These are absolutely a waste of time as far as your success in competitions is concerned. Only physical activities such as games have value. But you do not have to spend a lot of time for that purpose.
If you don’t play games, you can do some physical exercises. I teach you simple physical exercises in Chapter 5. All you do is spend about half an hour every day regularly.
Understand me. I am not against games. But if your goal is to succeed in some competition, then it is worth not spending a lot of time in games during the few months you are preparing for the competition.