Celebrating an impressive score of 97.2% in the Grade XII Board examinations, we got in touch with Madhoolika Gangaraju, who not only topped our school but is also one of Bangalore’s toppers in CBSE. We asked her to share her recipe of success and advice, if any, for her juniors. Here are excerpts from our conversation,
“I was actually not keeping well on the day when the results came out. I wasn’t very nervous, but there were a couple of jitters. I was ecstatic, after calculating my percentage from my score. I simply couldn’t believe it. I was expecting a certain score, a good score after I had given my finals. I wasn’t tensed or nervous. I remember revising well and keeping calm for each paper. “
So how did she pull off such a remarkable achievement?
“Being consistent helped. From the beginning, I was focussed on finishing my portions and being well prepared for the boards. There were hiccups on the way – a couple of unit tests that I may not have scored as much as I wanted to. I took these as learning opportunities, to get an idea of where I was lagging behind.”
“Interacting with my teachers helped me pinpoint topics and chapters that needed more work and attention. All my teachers helped me a lot. Wherever I faltered, they were there to help me get back on my feet. For each test during the term, I would ensure that I was not committing the same mistake.”
I solved a lot of question papers. It is an important part of preparing for CBSE Board examinations. By solving a number of old papers, you begin to understand the pattern with which certain topics and portions are asked. By examining the questions asked over the years, you also learn how to tackle hard questions while getting a fair idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are.
An ardent fan of Mathematics, we asked Madhoolika to break down her secrets of success and tell us how she dealt with her papers.
“Towards the end of the year, before our finals, the teachers bombarded us with worksheets and question papers. Solving those helped me get halfway with my revision. I asked a lot of doubts when I had them. Teachers will definitely help you. It is important to get back to your teachers when you feel stuck.”
“I also cannot stress the importance of sleeping well. Being fairly prepared well in advance helps avoid sleepless nights. The role that family plays during the examination is essential too. Students could and should keep their parents in their preparation. At home, we would sit down together, discuss topics and they would shoot questions at me. We worked as a team.”
To break away from the monotony of long study hours, Madhoolika turned to her passion for arts
“I preferred sketching and painting to take my mind off studies. I’d even break into a song or a dance, to freshen up. I think it is important for students to find a talent that they can pursue by the side, one that brings peace of mind. It definitely comes in handy during the exams”
I played a lot of throw-ball in school. To captain the school team and play regularly, that taught me to be hard-working, resilient and focussed. Had I not been so participative, I wouldn’t have developed the mental fortitude that I have.
“I aimed to cover all my portions two months prior to the exam. After which my focus shifted to revision and solving previous year question papers. The last two months were exclusively set aside for the boards and not prepping for competitive entrance exams. Revision is key, always!”
When we asked her if she had any regrets, she let it slip after the initial denial,
“Probably Computer Science – I wanted a centum but I lost 3 marks. I am not thinking too much of it. These things are inevitable, hence I have no regrets”
How does it feel to be in the press, in the spotlight, after bagging a remarkable score in the city?
“I don’t have words to explain how these couple of weeks have been. It has been unexpected, but overwhelming. Having people call in, send messages, interview me, wanting to know what I did differently – it is a surreal experience. My parents are happy and it is a great feeling to see their happiness.”
On being asked if she had any advice for her juniors and future aspirants of the CBSE Boards, Madhoolika had 3 points of focus, that she has religiously followed,
- Quality reading is crucial. Study to gain knowledge; not just to gain marks but to genuinely understand the concept at hand
- Have a fair idea of your strengths and weakness; work on your weaknesses and polish your strengths.
- Know where you are; know where you have to be. Aimless quests lead you nowhere.
All my teachers at CMRNPS have been incredibly supportive. I noticed a world of difference when I switched schools – they are highly experienced and knowledgeable. They would conduct their classes without a single reference to textbooks. The intensity in their involvement of a topic being discussed is outstanding. I would sit in class and grasp concepts easily, thanks to their style of teaching.
“My classmates have been a rock of support to me, throughout my time at school. We are a great bunch of friends, who have looked out for each other, keeping each other’s best interests.”
Here is what Ms. Shyla Purushotham, Vice Principal, CMRNPS and some of Madhoolika’s teachers had to say about her,