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Theory subjects form a considerable part of every examination and stream and students are generally concerned about scoring marks in the same. Unlike practical subjects like mathematics and accountancy, where understanding alone is the key to score full marks, scoring good in theory exams is attributed to many factors. One cannot score full marks in theory exams based on understanding alone.

This blog will discuss upon the strategies and essentials to score good in theoretical subjects.

Why is scoring in theory subjects difficult?

It is necessary to understand the disease before curing it. Theory subjects possess certain differences from practical subjects and therefore require unique approach and attention to deal. The following peculiarities of theory subjects are responsible for students getting less marks:

  • The questions in theory examinations are generally to be answered in a word limit, unlike practical subjects.
  • The proportion of questions based on ‘remembering of facts and issues’ are generally more in theory subjects than practical subjects.
  • As a result, many students face difficulties in remembering the concepts of theory. Majority of them complain that once understood, the concepts fade out of their mind within a few days.
  • Studying theory subjects like Business studies, History, Indian Economy, etc. seems boring to majority of students, as they lack the level of attractiveness and challenges offered by practical subjects.
  • Students fail to differentiate approach for theory and practical subjects. Practical subjects require more practice and theory requires more revision.

Once you grasp the requirements of theory papers and frame your answers accordingly, scoring full marks would seem like a cakewalk.

How to study theory subjects?

Forming a unique strategy to study theory subjects is extremely necessary to gain marks in the examination. Unlike practical subjects, conceptual clarity and practice alone are not enough for these subjects. They require attention on writing skills and paper presentation as well. The following tips might help you in setting a right approach for theory subjects.

  1. Read the text

One major mistake that students make is that they avoid reading the prescribed text, be it NCERTs or other publications. They try to grasp the concepts through YouTube videos and directly solve questions. Don’t jump out to learn the questions word by word. Try to frame your own answers. This can be possible only if you honestly read the book.

Unless you read the whole text all by yourself, you won’t get familiar with the chapter and would not be able to write good answers. Reading the book helps you in visualizing the location of topics automatically, so that when you get a question on energy infrastructure, your brain automatically reminds you, “oh! I have read this. This was mentioned below that cartoon on left column.”

Moreover, reading the text provides you a confidence of not having left anything.

2. Make short notes

Making notes for theory subjects is definitely of utmost significance but the key lies in making ‘short’ notes. Most of the students end up writing paragraphs in their notebooks, which is never going to help you revise.

Your notes must consist majorly of short bullet points. Take an example for reference, say, rural development. Your notes must consist of main points on – definition of rural, reasons for backwardness, rural credit, ways to develop and other sub topics in your syllabus.

Writing in points helps you in remembering better, and you are more likely to revise them again and again.

3. Write to learn

Take a rough notebook. Select a topic you have already read and understood, and write, in very short and informal format all that you have understood in the chapter. This helps you in

(a) pressurizing your mind to think and penetrate down the concepts, and

(b) analysing how much you have actually understood.

After reading a chapter, point out the facts that are to be remembered. Write them down as many times as you can on a rough paper. The technique is quite old but is very effective. Most probably you will be able to feed the information deep down in your memory after writing it about 5-6 times.

4. Refer to the previous year Questions

A very essential requirement. Analysing the questions already asked in previous year exam allows you to identify the kind of questions and approach required to solve them. It also provides you insights about the word limit and marks associated with questions and you can prepare yourself accordingly.

5. Work on language

Language of your answer plays a very important role in theory exams. Start forming answers in your own language instead of rote-learning from references. This helps you write in a more informed and expressed manner with comfort. Try to improve your grammar a little bit if you make a lot of mistakes.

The Guide to Extra Marks in Theory Subjects

  1. Frame answers according to the Question asked

Read the question carefully and understand what it is demanding. Identify the ‘verb’ in the question. Whether it is asking you to analyse, give reasons, justify, describe or define. Frame your answer accordingly.

2. Keep the word limit in mind

You cannot write a 2 sentenced definition for a 3 marks question. Most frequently, the desired word limit is mentioned in the question paper itself. If not, adhere to the following word limit:

1-2 marks = 30-50 words

3 marks = 50-80 words

5 marks = 80-120 words

You may lose your marks if you fall short or exceed the word limit by large margins.

3. Paper presentation

Good Paper presentation gives you an edge in theory exams. Try to keep your answer sheet neat and readable. Marking important key-words in the answer will be appreciated. However, your marks won’t be cut for bad presentation of answers.

4. The introduction and the conclusion

Including introduction and a conclusion or way forward of 20-25 words each for long answers (3 and 5 markers) would be a cherry point. This depicts your conceptual clarity and understanding of the question to the examiner which can earn you extra marks.

5. Use diagrams/graphs/flowcharts wherever required

Make use of these attention-grabbing tools wherever you can while writing the answers. This enables the examiner to check your level of understanding at a glance and can gain you marks. These also add to your paper presentation.

Read out the following blog on additional tips to score good in exams.

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