Exam prep Education

Get set for the HSEE

The Humanities and Social Sciences Entrance Exam (HSEE) date may have been postponed, but this is the perfect opportunity to use the time wisely and prepare for it

The HSEE conducted by IIT Madras, in recent times, has joined the bandwagon of popular entrance exams that students look at, soon after their board exams. It holds the key to join the five-year integrated MA Humanities programme at IIT Madras. Today, plenty of students opt to study subjects that they are interested in, rather than take up traditional and time-tested courses. Many feel that it is rather unfair to expect them to decide on career choices in high school itself. Courses in Humanities and Liberal Arts give them a chance to explore varied subjects at the university level before taking the plunge into one stream.

Exam structure

HSEE is designed to test the general aptitude and writing skills of students. It is a computer-based test involving Multiple Choice Questions on English, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning and General Knowledge. Further, this test involves essay writing on a contemporary topic.

Understanding the entrance test: The main challenge in any aptitude test is that there is no pre-defined syllabus for the exam and, even if one is available, one cannot expect questions completely based on it. So, the best way to overcome this challenge is to have plenty of practice in all subjects.

English: Expect questions on comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, sentence sequencing, literary and poetic devices.

Quantitative aptitude and reasoning: Questions in this section will be based on ratio and proportion, simple and compound interest, time and work, profit and loss, partnerships, ages, time and distance, data interpretation, analytical reasoning, blood relations, direction sense and puzzles.

General Knowledge (GK): Unlike other entrance tests, HSEE has a list of specific subjects under GK in which students can expect questions: Economics, environment and ecology, history, sociology and contemporary world affairs.

Essay Writing: Students are expected to write about 350 words on one of the four topics given on contemporary issues.

Preparation: Most students are quite familiar with all the above-mentioned subjects as they have done them at school. However, it calls for brushing up fundamentals in arithmetic, revising grammar rules, and revisiting subjects such as history and environmental science. Also, those who have cultivated a good reading habit will find the English section quite easy to tackle.

Understand the exam format: It is important to know the exam pattern clearly to understand finer nuances of the exam such as number of questions, variety of topics from which questions are drawn, and section-wise break-up of marks. This insight into the exam pattern will help them decide on the best exam strategy that they could adopt on the D-day.

Importance of mock tests: The best way to prepare for any entrance test is to attempt several sectional and full-length mock tests, preferably timed online tests. The advantages of writing mock tests include exposure to varied questions, improved time management, besides providing a platform to assess one’s level of performance.

Maintain a positive attitude: Most entrance exams are not only a test of one’s aptitude but also of attitude. Often, students who make intelligent guesses in the exam and those who are mindful and free from worries about the outcome are far more successful than those who spend hours cramming information. Even if the student does not know the correct answer, the ability to eliminate the wrong options first can bring them closer to the correct option.

The writer is the Director of Sriram Law Academy.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 11:39:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/get-set-for-the-hsee/article31547514.ece

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