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Getting Good Marks in University Exams Vs Depth in Subject Knowledge

Top BBA  University in North India

What can be generally seen these days is that the performance of a student in an exam has become the sole factor that determines whether the student can go to the next level of academic qualification or not.

A failure in an exam is considered as a social stigma, and as a result, students burdened under societal and family pressures, today, put more focus on gaining the highest possible marks, instead of understanding the true meaning of the subject.

Unlike olden days, a sizable difference can be noticed between the two terms – “Educated” and “Intelligent”. A question that is often asked in recent times is “Can a student be considered intelligent, even though he/she has not procured good marks in the university exams?” And as such, the famous phrase “Wisdom comes only from experience and old age” is almost losing its importance.

Difference Between Learning and Mugging-Up

It won’t be wrong to say that we have entered the time where the line between mugging-up and learning has almost disappeared for the worse.

Learning is a beautiful concept where a student understands, analyses, and gains proficiency in a concept, in a way of his/her own, so as to procure in-depth knowledge of the subject. Learning has always been regarded as a continuous process in any field, and not a one-time achievement.

Mugging up, on the other hand, can be best described as the art of memorising facts from the textbook, while actually missing the true understanding of the subject. Considered as the most ineffective way of learning, if a student who has the habit of mugging-up things, is asked to reproduce the contents after say 3-4 days, he/she would be hardly able to reproduce a few fragments. The reason being that the data, which is forced into the brain without any efforts to understand the true meaning, has a very short life span, and cannot be relied upon for a lifelong learning.

Do High Scores Truly Indicate the IQ of a Person?

In recent times, an individual’s intelligence is determined more by the degrees, job profile and salary that he/she earns or has attained. So, it is no wonder that even parents and peers are just interested in making their children score good marks in university exams, regardless of whether they understand the subject or not.

Agreed, it is difficult to find a student who is an expert in all subjects. And it so happens that whenever students find a subject difficult, and they could not find a proper way to learn and understand the subject, they prefer to mug up the whole concept so as to get high grades and meet the expectations that the parents and peers are putting up on them.

Though, it is surprising to note that this ignorant method of learning called mugging-up is even encouraged by a few teachers as well. What can be, however, expected in an educational environment where the salary appraisal of a teacher is mainly based on the marks that the students score, rather than their intelligence quotient. The teachers are also more interested in completing the chapters and making the students score top marks in the subjects they teach.

It is high time we understand that even though the students today are somehow managing to secure good marks in university exams by mugging-up bundles of textbooks, but will they be able to cope up in the real exam that the life is going to take ahead. What will happen when they will enter the professional world on the basis of the fake knowledge which was forced upon them irrespective of their likes or dislikes for the subject? Give it a thought!

Case Study: Knowledge v/s Marks

Two students, A and B took admission in an engineering college. While student A, had a keen aspiration of becoming an engineer and was happy with the decision, student B had different aspirations and was willing to become a martial arts expert, instead. If student B was there for the engineering course, it was simply because his parents had forced him to pursue engineering coz of the pressure from the society and also thinking about the future career prospects.

Because of the dislike for the subject, student B never tried to understand the topics and resorted to mugging up the data with the sole motto of passing the exams. Student A, on the other hand, loved the subject and always showed extra efforts to learn something new related to the topic.

Both A and B finally passed the exams with flying colours. While the success of student A in the exams was because of his in-depth knowledge on the subject, student B passed owing to the short-term memory of the textbooks that he acquired by mugging up.

The next step post-final exams was the job search. Student A got selected for an engineering job in his very first interview as he easily managed to impress the interviewer with his excellent skills and knowledge in his domain. Student B, however, failed to crack job interviews as he used to fumble upon in the technical rounds, and could not make to the next level.

After several attempts at job interviews, he finally thought of giving a try to his original linking i.e. martial arts. Today he is a proud owner of a martial class academy of his own.

What do We need to Understand?

If a student finds a subject challenging, it is the prime responsibility of the parents, along with the teachers, to take the initiative to try and make the learning easy. Do not simply force the students to score high in exams; instead, ask them to focus more on understand the true meaning of whatever they are studying. Make them learn and understand that it is knowledge which is important, and not the marks.

Unlike two decades ago, where only a set of jobs were available to make a living, we have now entered an era, where one can opt to make a career out of his/her field of interest, which is not always necessarily related to one’s educational background. Thus, instead of forcing upon professions on students, let them continue with their own passion, be it related to academics or not. What students actually need is proper guidance, trust, and recognition; success will surely come running after their knowledge and skill set.

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