Today, the word ‘Competition’ has become a mirror image of combined terms like ‘education & career’. This is a quintessential and indispensible truth confronted by the young minds. There is immense competition for college admissions which makes securing a seat in any of the top institutions, in any field of education be it Engineering, Medicine, Science, Arts, Commerce etc., a very difficult endeavour. Therefore, there is a need for proper guidance and training for all those students, especially those in 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th classes, who desire to gain that competitive edge that will enable them to perform better than the rest.

The educational system, with a few notable exceptions, is memorization-based or learning by rote (“mugging up” as we call it). Notes, Guide books, last-week preparation etc. are the offshoots of this outlook. Today, the general perception of priorities causes almost everyone to focus on training students mainly for school/board exams and this, therefore, becomes the primary focus of teachers, parents and even students themselves. While obtaining good marks in these exams is very important, how this is done is also important. Do students score marks by reproducing content learnt by rote, or through answers that display their understanding of concepts? To a large extent, students follow the first method — memorizing the content. Consequently, many students who may be toppers in their schools are not able to achieve good scores in competitive exams or Talent Search Exams.

When students understand the concepts of a subject and their applications correctly (by inculcating the habit of asking “WHY?”), they have a better chance of doing well in competitive exams. This is because most of the questions in competitive exams are based on APPLICATION of these concepts.

Also, students will be able to understand the subjects that they learn better when learning is done out of interest and not with the sole objective of scoring marks. When the focus is laid only on the exams, the students’ only goal is to score marks. But if interest for any subject is generated in the students, the learningprocess becomes a lot more enjoyable.

It must also be kept in mind that, with the increasing levels of competition, whether for seats in institutions of higher education, or for jobs, or even in performance at work, young people need to demonstrate confidence and skill in more than just their academic pursuits. They need to be able to communicate easily and effectively; they need to be able to analyse situations well so as to make effective choices and decisions. These are skills that are currently tested in different selection processes including (as recent reports indicate) those conducted for admission to professional courses, such as the JEE Advanced & JEE Main (or whatever it might soon evolve into). Keeping this in mind, students must expand their areas of focus to learn and develop these skills as well.

This approach towards learning is the key to excel in any field that a student might choose later in his/her life. Understanding the fundamentals and genuine interest in the subject are the two most important factors for success.