Newton's Laws, momentum principles and derivatives – every problem here is approached via a jingle. It is sung in perfect rhyme to a catchy tune and ends with a group of students shouting the answer in chorus.

If you thought studying for engineering entrances is a boring affair, Balaji Sampath, an individual trainer's teaching innovations, would show how coaching classes and trainers are roping in changes in teaching styles to help more students refine their results in engineering entrance tests.

Experts say that while an entrance examination does not expect students to really conquer questions, it requires them to attempt questions intelligently with a strategy.

“Almost 60 per cent of every test comprises questions relatively simple and moderate, which can be cracked. The key is identifying and attempting the questions you are extremely sure of,” says K. Ravi, General Manager, Brilliant Tutorials.

Most physics teachers say that the problem areas where students encounter most difficulties are in kinematics and rotational dynamics that require the application of more than one concept.

Experts observe that the exams, which had subjective questions a few years ago, now have only objective questions, where students are expected to match the options or statement assertion where they should derive answers from the options. The number of questions too have reduced.

“The questions are mostly in paragraphs where the student is expected to comprehend things, and derive answers based on understanding multiple concepts. Each question should ideally take a student 2-3 minutes to solve,” says Mr. Sampath.

For students like R. Sinthujan, a student of St.Johns English School and Junior College, the structured way of coaching becomes tedious, given the heterogeneous mix of students who are suited to different learning procedures and have different levels of grasps on concepts.

To aid such students many web tools and e-learning solutions have come up that help students give regular tests in topics of their choice. Many of these software solutions claim to analyse a student's preparation levels and guide him on time management, and areas of strengths and weaknesses. “As more and more tests go online, this is the only way students get used to actually to new patterns,” says Raghavendra Kumar of Edooni Solutions, an e-learning platform.

Besides online tests and counselling services, videos on different subjects to facilitate self learning are also available online.

Mr. Ravi says that while these web tools act as supplementary methods to refine preparation in urban areas, they are more of a boon in semi-urban areas where there is a crunch of teachers.

There is an increase in demand for the learning aids but these certainly cannot replace teachers in motivating students for optimum achievement, said Yamuna Aravind, Director of Stardotstar, a company that has been developing such learning aids for the past 15 years.

Door-step yoga classes, stress buster video games and specially designed tours to relaxation and therapy centres are fast catching up in the city.

“Over the years, along with students, even their families are asking for such service,” says K. Illamvathi, a yoga teacher who imparts relaxation exercises to students at homes.

Keywords: entrance exams

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