The syllabus of any subject defines the course content.
In addition, it can also cover the method in which the content should be taught to the student so that the instructor could organize the course accordingly.
Ideally syllabus should also define the learning outcomes upon successful completion of the course.
In India, the learning at the end of a course is often tested through a 3-hour exam and later these marks are used as a sign of proficiency in that particular subject.
Syllabus is a plan that guides what a student should learn from a particular subject for a particular class or level of education.
For instance, a Class VII physics content and Class XII physics content and relevant treatment will be very different even though the chapter names are same e.g. Electricity, Magnetism or Optics.
So, syllabus differs based on what one is expected to learn at different levels of education. This is very understandable.
Again, there is variation of syllabi across different Boards and Exams like CBSE, ICSE, Maharashtra Board, Karnataka Board, JEE Main, CET etc.
This can be very confusing for the students. Do different syllabi mean that students under different Boards end up studying different things?
Little bit of analysis suggests that although these syllabi are numerous, they are not that vastly different in its essence.
However, difference in syllabi across different Boards does pose a challenge when a candidate sits for a standardized all-India exam like JEE Main as the depth, weightage and treatment of various topics differ across Boards.
JEE Main or CET has its own syllabus and so the Class XI-XII student of any Board typically grapples with at-least two different syllabi – one for passing his Board exam and other for passing the Competitive exam(s). Is this a healthy trend for the student?
How can he/she cope with these different syllabi which run concurrent during his/her Plus-II years which happen to be the two most crucial years of one’s life.
Infact, the mark / rank obtained at the end of this 2-year “rat-race” literally determines one’s work-life future.
In addition, a student has to remember that even in those areas where the syllabi overlap, the depth and treatment of a particular concept at Board level, CET level and JEE level can be very different.
The question pattern and difficulty levels are also different which is an added challenge.
However, surprisingly lakhs of student undergo this struggle year after year and come out winners. So, it can be safely concluded that they must be using some common winning formula!
At Testbee, our strategy is simple and straightforward. Firstly, we encourage everyone to look the commonality of relevant syllabi first and then at the differences.
This will help the student to perform single study for common areas and then spend some additional time for special topics specific to different exams.
This we believe is an efficient and more inclusive approach using which the student can balance his/her performance in Board as well as Competitive exams.
Secondly, we recommend the students to focus on building “concepts” about each topic so that the different flavours of questions which test these concepts as part of different exams do not confuse the student.
One way of honing the concept is through practice, practice and more practice while responding to multiple-choice questions (MCQ).
Answering MCQ forces one to go beyond the mere definition and develops confidence in the candidate’s mind. This is followed by numerical problems which help further clarify the fundamentals of the “theory” behind a particular concept.