Identifying your educational path

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AIM RIGHT: It is essential to know your strengths and weaknesses before embarking on a career.
AIM RIGHT: It is essential to know your strengths and weaknesses before embarking on a career.


Assessing your aptitude is a key element in the process of determining your goals and trying to achieve them.

Education has several noble and lofty goals. However, for most of us the vital goal is identifying a career that would offer us an early job. Our educational endeavour would most probably pivot on this prime goal. Many of us choose a course of study in a random fashion. The aptitude of the student, though a prime criterion in course selection, is often ignored. Aptitude is sometimes defined as an individual's ability to learn or to develop proficiency easily and quickly in an area, if provided with appropriate education or training. Perhaps it is better to label it as a combination of native abilities and other characteristics. Other important factors in course identification are the student's learning ability, the financial position of the family, proximity of the institution from his home, the gender factor, opportunities for higher education, duration of the course and quick employability. Subjecting yourself to a scientific aptitude test would help you in knowing what kind of course would suit you. However, a convenient method for your self-discovery as a student is checking a wide variety of statements like those given below. The statements are indicative and not exhaustive. The responses may be made on a five-point scale: a) Always true, b) Quite often true, c) Sometimes true, d) Very rarely true and, e) Never true I study with total concentration, even in a disturbing atmosphere. If I listen to the classroom lecture, I need not study that lesson again by myself. I have some difficulty in answering essay questions for want of language skills. I make full use of the school library. Science is difficult for me, since I hate drawing sketches. When I read an essay, I look for significant points and note them down. I find it difficult to stand up and speak something when there are more than two or three listeners. I prepare a timetable for my studies, and follow it strictly. When I come across a new word as I read a textbook, I immediately get the help of a dictionary to learn its meaning. I feel I can shine in any profession, since I am hardworking by nature. I develop good personal relationships with people. I enjoy learning; it is never drudgery for me. It is not necessary for me to take breaks during my learning. If a lecturer makes an error in language, I find it hard to listen to him further. I read newspapers regularly and keep notes on important events, people, and places. I enjoy challenges, even if I do not know how I would face them. After each test or examination, I analyse my errors and avoid them in future. I take full responsibility of my studies. I make markings in my textbooks by underlining, highlighting, etc Learning with full concentration for a short period is more effective for me, than learning for a longer duration. Games and other forms of recreation give me freshness to do my work with efficiency. When a teacher gives a deadline for submitting an assignment and I find that I do not have time to finish it on time, I do not copy from what my friends have prepared. If I do not understand what the teacher says in the class, I have no hesitation in requesting the teacher to clarify. I try to sketch all diagrams from memory, while learning science subjects. I solve numerical problems independently without reference to textbooks so as to ensure that I face no difficulty in this exercise in the examination hall. If I score poorly in a test, I do not get upset. Instead I analyse my drawbacks and correct them. I regularly update my knowledge of current affairs. I try to master examination techniques, as otherwise my efforts to learn will come to nought from the point of view of securing academic qualifications of quality. I feel that keeping a calm and composed demeanour in the examination hall is essential if I should perform well. I take particular care to write clear notes on any new development in my favourite subjects of study. I keep a diary of charming expressions, great thoughts, and quotations from great men. Am a good listener. I prepare adequately if I have to speak before an audience even for a few minutes Self-confidence is the most essential ingredient in any successful educational endeavour.You must have noted that these are random points. But if you write down your response to each one of these statements and analyse the list, you will gradually draw an objective picture of yourself. Further, you may prepare more of similar significant statements and your responses to each one of them. Your objective is to get a true picture of yours, as a first step for knowing what kind of person you are. It is based on this specific knowledge that you can draw up your goals and proceed further through the right path to higher education and career success.(Archived columns by the author can be accessed at

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