Nepal | August 23, 2019

Outstanding achievers

Sunita Lohani

Sujit Gautam and Amit Kumar Shah

Kathmandu: We enjoy stories of success, but we generally overlook immense effort and dedication behind every success. Amongst such dedicated ones are the top students — their hard work and smart learning techniques have made them outstanding achievers. Some such students share how they have excelled in their studies, and scored the highest marks.

Toppers’ tales

“One can’t be Binod Chaudhary and Anuradha Koirala overnight,” opined Trishna Acharya, gold medallist in MA (Journalism) 2016 from Tribhuvan University (TU). She scored 71.14 per cent in her MA.

Trishna Acharya

Trishna Acharya receiving certificate from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2016

“But continued dedication and hard work pay,” the 25-year-old shared the secret of her success, adding, “Text books are not the only resources to study. I used to watch lectures on YouTube that helped in my studies in MA IInd Year.”

Till her Bachelor’s level, she also had problem in time management while taking exams. “In the three-hour-long exam of 100 full marks, I would spend one hour to solve questions carrying 15 marks. And I wouldn’t have sufficient time to solve rest of the questions.”

But that did not happen in her Master’s level — she gave her best while studying, learnt time management techniques and performed well in her exams, thus becoming the topper.

Another such gold medallist of 2016 is Surina Kayastha — scoring 68.6 per cent in the Master’s level, she topped MA Sociology from TU. A working student, Kayastha was also the topper in her Plus-Two and Bachelor’s level.

Surina Kayastha

Surina Kayastha

While sharing her tips to score good marks, Kayastha advised, “Know the gist of any topic and write it with examples, you can definitely succeed.”

“Being regular in class and note taking habit” also helped her to excel in her studies. “If you attend classes regularly and take all the classes being attentive, you can easily score 50 per cent marks; and the rest is in your hands. Scoring good marks depends on how dedicated you are towards your goal.”

On the contrary, for some students like Gokul Pokhrel, regularity in class does not matter. A PhD student, who topped the MPhil level in 2015 from TU, with an A-Minus score, he opined, “One should have the habit to study to be a good learner and topper.”

Since he has developed the “habit of reading”, he gets sad whenever he doesn’t have time to read. A topper in Plus-Two, Bachelor’s and Master’s levels, 29-year-old Pokhrel studies five hours every day. “It’s easy to get success but
to handle it and remain on the peak is a kind of pressure,” he added.

Gokul Pokhrel

Gokul Pokhrel receiving certificate from the then Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav in 2015

And to continue remaining on the peak, he even changed his faculty in his Master’s level. “When I did MEd I came third (70.50 per cent), and I was disappointed. Then I joined MA in Nepali Literature and topped this time, scoring 71.50 percent,” he revealed.

Nineteen-year-old Amit Kumar Shah, on the other hand, has just started to enjoy success. He scored the highest marks in the English Language in Nepal (A Grade with 80 per cent) in Cambridge International AS Level exams held in June, 2016.

Sharing his studying tricks, Shah revealed that he took help from answers written by other A Level toppers; read news, reference books, and essays written by different English writers; and learnt the techniques of criticism of a text, during his AS Level.

An avid novel reader, who usually finishes reading two novels a week, Shah revealed, “I focused on topics and understood the context while studying rather than opting for rote learning. And I think it helped me to get a goodscore.”

Roles of parents and teachers

Parents and teachers play a vital role to shape future of their children/students. And how do the parents/teachers of the top students help them excel in their studies?

Laxmi Subedi is happy that her son Sujit Gautam topped in English Language in Nepal in A Level (November, 2016). He scored 85 per cent.

“My son is good in studies, however we didn’t know he was that good,” shared the proud mother, whose son stayed in the hostel while pursuing A Level.

Like every other parent, she would “nag my son to study” even when he came home for holidays.

Does the teaching method adopted by teachers also affect in students’ performance?

Surendra Raj Joshi, Coordinator of A Level Programme at Kathmandu University High School opined, “It depends upon the students — in A Level, the teaching method of all teachers is almost same. The students’ success depends on whether they are critical and creative, or not.”

Comparing Plus-Two and A Level, he shared, “Students focus on rote learning in Plus-Two. Also, students can easily copy answers from text book because questions are made that way.”

However, reality should be different. “Students should take the concept from teachers’ lectures and books and reflect their understanding through their writing — and A Level encourages students to do so.”

Prabhat Chhetri, A Level Coordinator at Little Angels’ School, Hattiban revealed that they use five skills of Cambridge —engaged, innovative, confident, responsible, and creative — to teach students.

So, what is the difference between toppers and other students?

Chhetri, who has 26 years’ teaching experience, replied, “The toppers are the ones who are self learners, and write the answers to the point.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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