On Being in the 0.0x

In a national level test, I secured a percentile of 99.9x, making me one of the top 0.0x. Here I am writing about how it was and sharing my views on improving in that area.

How it felt? It felt good, really good. But somewhere inside, I thought it was not enough. I often say, “be satisfied with the results, don’t be satisfied with the efforts that go in”. That way you get to work harder. Mind you, I, in no way, suggest working so hard that you lose everything else, like proper rest, peace of mind, etc. But work hard; there’s a positive correlation between effort and results.

So I was happy, yet I thought that I could’ve done better had I put in extra efforts. Besides good percentile, I had secured a good overall rank as well, somewhere around 100 or 50, can’t say exactly. But a small improvement in the score could’ve given me a 10 or better. A little more still, and I would’ve topped the test. That made me want to work harder from then on.

What about getting and being there? Simply work; work hard. It is a cliche, but I will say it anyway – hardwork pays off. Now, here I go on a slightly different track than the traditional wisdom. Your hardwork depends on you. What I mean is that you know which method is most efficient for you. You may go for,

  • extreme focus while learning;
  • long and effective solo studies;
  • long and effective group studies;
  • making notes and/or going through them;
  • etc.

Personally, I go with extreme focus while learning, so much that there are times when there is nothing else in my mind, and making notes and following through with them, in order of preference. When I go through my notes, I go through them from the beginning regularly, and the older the part is the faster I flip because I’d been going through that part for a while.

Now, improving the efficiency of each takes times and requires practice, and every approach has some pros and cons. I’ll talk about the one I prefer the most – intense focus while learning. After a point, you get quicker in your understanding while learning. You have spare time. But it is energy draining while implementing it. You would want something new after “getting a grasp of it”, even though you would not have mastered it. And so on.

So what I suggest is that one should find out which approach is natural and practice the different approaches based on how easy and intuitive the said approach is and also depending on the situation on hand. It is important that we understand each approach as there will be situations where one would be more suitable than the others. We can also use a combination of methods. Say for example, you learn something with intense focus, then you take a break, and then go on practising with a relatively reduced intensity.

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