With 97% in the Grade XII CBSE Boards, Abhishek Kumar Singh’s score places him as one of Bangalore’s toppers, coming in a close second at Ekya School ITPL behind Kaavya’s 97.2%. We gave him a ring to learn how he pulled off such an impressive score – here are the excerpts from our conversation.

“I remember refreshing the results page as the servers were down from all the traffic. When I got to see my results, I was in disbelief.  I won’t lie; my emotions got the better of me. I was overwhelmed, I was in tears. I got a grip on myself and broke the news to my parents. They were really happy for me.”

Did he expect it? Was it his plan all along?

“I wasn’t expecting this kind of result. I did aim to better my previous score in Grade X but to score 97%, the feeling is surreal.  When I prepared, I went all in. The only thing I had in mind was to beat the 95% margin. I kept this score on the back of my head as I prepped for the Boards.”

“I was neck deep in preparing for competitive exams as well, so I had to make a choice – to focus on the entrances or giving a 100% focus to CBSE. In October 2017, I realized I had to take a decision.

Pre-boards helped me make this decision. I got a taste of how the board examination would turn out. I got to know where I stood in terms of my preparation for the finals. My results taught me what I missed out, and when January came, I knew exactly what I had to work on to improve.”

There is a marked difference in one’s approach towards competitive exams and board exams, as Abhishek notes,

“When you are preparing for competitive exams and entrances, you tend to focus on the quickest way of solving a question. You are constantly looking to better your approach towards hard topics and big problems.

With CBSE syllabus, even the small markers count. Questions that are for one or two marks can help carry your score over the 90-95 mark. I realized this by the time I finished my first pre-boards. Questions with lower marks threw me off. I had to work on finer details”

Solving previous question papers helped him; an advice that came from his seniors and a hack that helped him ace his boards, as Abhishek remarks,

“I put my time in a lot of question banks and question papers from previous years. Solving those helps you get comfortable with the pattern of questions asked. You begin to identify the format of how topics and portions are asked, and you get well-versed with it.”

The idea here is not only about understanding how the questions are asked, but also getting better at answering,

“You may come across several questions that you don’t have answers to while looking at papers from six to seven years ago. When you go searching for these answers, you’ll end up finding answers for two or three other prospective questions.”

This is exactly how he tackled Physics, a subject he least favored. On being asked if he had any advice for future aspirants and how they could tackle their board exams, Abhishek was quick to note the importance of starting early.

“Be thorough with your topics and concepts by February – includes the NCERT, reference guides and extra questions from here and there. Your study break should be set aside for solving question papers. Scour through every exercise activity at the back of chapters in search for potential small markers. This will come in handy later.

Your preparation in February will give you the confidence in March. Don’t save topics for last minute cramming. Finish as much as you can before you give your pre-boards.

Across the country, the month of March is renowned for the exam stress it brings, so we asked Abhishek what was his stress-buster.

“I played a lot of football and badminton until February. During my exams, I turned to Squash, a game that you can play single-handedly. It helped me take my mind off studies; I’d go every day if I needed to. Come back home refreshed from a game, head straight to the shower and back with the books. That was my routine.”

In the papers

And in the age of digital distractions, we asked if he did away with gadgets for the month,

“My parents didn’t put any kind of pressure on me. I quit a couple of social media platforms in Grade 12 but that was a personal choice. There was no self-imposed ban on technology while I was at home.

I’d attribute much of my success to my group of four friends. We had a WhatsApp group going, over which we have shared around 600 images of questions papers and topics. We would exchange questions, discuss answers at length, solve doubts and help each other before every exam. That brought us so much confidence when we headed into the examination hall.”

How did Ekya make a difference? We asked him for his honest opinion, and Abhishek delivered

“The regular unit tests at school helped keep us on our toes. We were constantly preparing. Our teachers kept us grounded throughout the year. They stressed the importance of going into details of our NCERT textbook and other resource materials – something I understood after I wrote my finals. They would cover important questions that came after every chapter, and that really helped.”

And his classmates?

“A competitive spirit always prevailed in class. It was a conducive environment. Everyone was motivated to do well. Everyone was there to support each other – exchange doubts, solve them together. No room for judgment, we shared everything with each other.”

Staying grounded, Abhishek says that his parents’ happiness trumps over all the media spotlight he has been receiving

With the phone lines ringing and best wishes coming from across the country, we asked the boy in the spotlight if he had any regrets,

“Only slight. I scored 95 in Chemistry when I was expecting a centum score. I searched through the question paper to see where I lost the 5 marks. I have made my peace with it though”

Having appeared for a string of competitive entrance exams, Abhishek has set his sight on a couple of universities in Singapore, to pursue an engineering degree in Computer Science.

“I like how you can pick a book on coding, learn it and implement what you learned right off the bat. Python and Java are my favourites at the moment. Ekya picked Python for Grade 12, and I thoroughly enjoyed studying it”

Here is what Ms. Jyothi Menon and a couple of his teachers from Ekya School ITPL had to say about Abhishek,

Hear from our toppers

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