Yes! You Must Cram Because Ultimately Scores Matter
Cramming without understanding is useless.
There are students who cram and there are those who don’t. The crammers, also mostly bookworms, are most often to be found glued to their desk, books and note books.
You may even find them swinging while reading, the madarsa style. You will find them rattling definitions and constitutional articles verbatim, non-stop like that typical character Chatur Ramlingam in ‘The 3 Idiots’.
Who has the Last Laugh?
However, then there are those who rarely study but grasp more than they study and they are to be found reading something beyond the typical text-books. Most often, they will be found shuffling from room to room to de-motivate the crammers.
Ultimately Scores Matter!
But guess who has the last laugh? Or the last laugh so far as the civil services is concerned? Crammers of course!
You must cram because ultimately what matters is your score. Unfortunately, our educational system is yet to come out of the cramming mode. The more obedient you are to the system, greater is your chances of success.
Don’t Forget the Gurukul Days
However cramming is an art and a skill developed right since the early gurukul days. You cannot turn into a crammer over-night. Therefore, if you are not already a crammer, you should not indulge in a wholesale cramming exercise because it’s not going to help you.
However, if you are careful and plan strategically you can use the cramming skill to a limited to skill to gain maximum output.
Cramming Must be Done Intelligently
The syllabus may not exactly give a hint of what is to be crammed and what may be avoided. However, if you take a broad look at your reading material, you will know what is to be crammed. But whatever is to be crammed must be done intelligently.
You have to cram most of the constitution including the preamble and the important constitutional articles. Even if you cannot cram verbatim, you need to reproduce important provisions including exceptions – the closer you are to the original language, the better it is.
The provisions related to schedule tribes and women are especially important apart from important amendments.
Data and Figures Must be Crammed
In the subject matter of Economy (for GS), you have to cram all important data. The figures you remember need not in fact be crammed but should be in your memory through repeated learning and discussion.
However, most of the things that need to be memorized need not come from cramming. In subject matter like economy, and geography there are a lot of data to be memorized, but it need not be crammed as most people tend to remember numbers, figures, and other data through repeated debate, discussion, reading and analysis.
Repetition is the Key
Did you make a deliberate attempt to memorize your phone number or your mother’s or father’s or some of your friend’s phone number? Certainly not. You remember all of these phone numbers because of either repeated usage or because of your interest.
Some thing similar goes in learning or reading the study material. In other words, you don’t need to cram everything unless you are an exceptional crammer who by habit crams everything.
Nevertheless, there are things like quotes for the essay paper, important constitutional articles, etc that must be crammed because you cannot afford to go wrong there.
Cramming without Understanding is Useless
Most of the students cram during the school days because they do not understand the material or comprehend portions of the subject matter.
When you grow up and graduate, it is expected that you have considerably improved your ability to comprehend when cramming is not necessary unless one of your optional is Sanskrit language which requires a lot of cramming of the shlokas.
In other optionals too, you may have to cram definitions, at least important definitions. In subject like history, earlier it was thought that this subject required a lot of cramming. However, this is no longer true because this subject is no longer presented as a chronology of empires and kings.
Nevertheless, you require remembering the important dates. You may have to exercise multiple learning and problem solving to remember these important dates, otherwise you will have to cram them.
However, there is so much to study for the civil services exam that it is simply impossible to cram everything and that is not even necessary. Nonetheless, there are selected segments in different areas of the study material that must be remembered by heart.
Even if you are not a crammer, you will have to study and write these portions repeatedly to remember them by heart. It will give you perfection and precision.
Objective vs. Subjective Exams
The civil services exam is certainly not the exam that tests your cramming ability but the system of education and that of the exam may force you to cram.
In the objective type exams, you can nearly always get away without cramming because if you have studied the subject matter well the moment you see the choices, you will know the exact answer.
However, this is not going to happen in the subjective type exams.
Evaluators are Biased towards Text Bookish Answer too
In addition, our teachers and evaluators are yet to come out of the cramming mode. Our evaluators are biased towards text bookish answer.
Someone who can write the sentences taken from text book will more likely impress a teacher in comparison to someone who uses the same thing in his or her own language.
For instance, someone who writes According to Marx, “Religion is the opiate of masses,” will impress the examiner more than someone who says, in the opinion of Marx, religion obstructs the critical thinking of the masses.
However, if someone writes, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” will probably impress the examiner most.
The examiner will be thrilled and think he was lucky to examine the answer sheet of a brilliant student. This kind of academic bias is not uncommon in our school and colleges.
Cramming should be Undertaken Strategically
Nevertheless, if you are not already a crammer, let it be warned that a blanket, mindless and thoughtless enterprise into cramming may prove fatal because you will remain stuck in a very insignificant portion of the very wide syllabus and study material.
Therefore, cramming should be undertaken strategically.
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