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Why Sample Papers?

Sample papers have long been the most coveted study material for students. Anyone who has performed well in a competitive or board exam of any sort always hails sample papers as the ultimate prep tool. What exactly is it about sample papers that makes everyone recommend it to their juniors? Why does every serious aspirant give such importance to the results of these tests that come, week-in-week-out? Let’s explore.
Past year papers, entrance tests, All India Test Series and the list goes on. Access to technology and the blooming business of coaching classes across the nation have ensured that there is no dearth of sample papers for students in the market. Availing of these resources smartly is all that a student needs to do. Keeping this thought at the back of my mind, here I proceed to tell the ten perks of solving sample papers.

1) Best practice you can get at that stage:

Believe it or not, you WILL run out of new types questions after a certain time. That is when procrastination and nonchalance will seep into your work. These two heavy-sounding words actually mean something quite easy in the context of your preparation- you destroying whatever it is that you’ve toiled for, right at the business end of your prep. This is where sample papers come in. However chilled-out an aspirant might be, to some degree they won’t want to do badly in a sample paper. Normal students may even get scared by the prospect of facing full-length sample papers. However, that fear is what will make you study through this period of drudgery and extreme boredom. Sample papers will keep you on your toes with respect to your preparation, and that is the single biggest thing you could ask for.

2) Strong motivation if you do well in them:

Yes, sample papers are a double-edged sword. You do badly, you get really deflated. However you do well.. and that success, however insignificant you may deem it to be, will propel your hunger to succeed to entirely new levels. At the end of the day, between students of similar mental caliber, hunger is what makes the ultimate difference!

3) The best source of new questions:

Impossible though it may seem, it takes a lot more effort to CREATE questions rather than solve them. And thus, you are not going to get questions based on new concepts every other book or study material you open. All the renowned professors and paper-setters will reserve their new questions for mock tests. This is where the true test of your mettle comes in. Because solving new questions in a book is very different to solving those same questions in a paper, where any calculation error or reading mistake may result in unnecessary loss of marks.

4) Help to gauge the competition:

Alone and isolated, it is easy to get elated about stuff you are able to do, or depressed about stuff you are unable to do. This is because you MAY NOT be knowing about other students’ reactions while doing the same thing. You need a relative platform, which will help you in assessing where you are standing, and what you can improve on.

5) You’ll know your weaknesses and strengths, maybe after the first test paper itself:

Every topic appears almost equally easy when you solve it from a book. However, you’ll realize whether you actually know the topic only after facing it in the sample papers. A thorough knowledge of strengths and weaknesses is absolutely essential to deciding your strategy to attempt the paper(will be elaborated later on).

6) Realization of mistakes:

There are many things that you do wrong while studying a concept first time around. Maybe a concept understood incorrectly. Or reading some stuff which is wrong. Everyone does that. It is important to realize these mistakes and rectify them ASAP.

7) Help you cut out on silly mistakes:

I can go on writing pages after pages about this. Silly mistakes-more accurately, bubbling errors, calculation mistakes, not reading ‘NOT’- all of these tend to creep in during the papers, don’t they? Well, there’s no method to completely get rid of them. However, the best you can do is practice more sample papers. Getting more used to the exam conditions will help you in cutting down on these unnecessary errors.

8) Developing exam-temperament:

Hard-working? Check. Intelligent? Check. Ability to handle pressure? Not check? Result: Underachievement. Exam-temperament is the game changer which is apparent only when you give papers, and nowhere else. You’ll frequently see that kid, who you never thought of as anything more than average, do MUCH better in tests than you. That is the effect of exam-temperament. On the day, exam-temperament will play as big a role as hard-work, dedication and effort did during the preparation.

9)Strategise like a general:

Strategy is the most under-rated trick to crack any competitive exam. However, believe me when I say that having a framework on which to attempt your paper will ease that attempt . Planning your strategy before a paper is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. When you get all those questions in front of you, your head WILL buzz, and you will start going after random questions. Strategy is important in that it will help calm your brain, and go after the paper logically.

10) Most importantly, it will make you ready for MIND GAMES:

Half the toughness of an exam is based on the examiners’ ability to test your nerves. A tough paper will often not have VERY tough questions, but tough pattern to help the examiner suss what your nerves are made up of. You need to be prepared for these mind games with the paper-setters. I talked about strategy in the preceding point. However, the more important thing is adaptability. Ability to adapt to any pattern of paper, and then strategise ON-SPOT, remembering all your weaknesses and strengths is the ultimate weapon which will get you success in ANY exam, however tough or easy.
That’s all the gyaan you will be getting from my side. Feel free to ask your queries in the comments section below.

Sample papers have been hugely useful for JEE aspirants. Find out why, here.

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