From buffering online classes to a dual-semester board exam, the road to the ICSE 2022 examinations was anything but easy. But students from Kolkata schools have managed to brave the odds with aplomb thanks to their focus and strong determination.
My Kolkata spoke to three toppers from the city to take a look at how they prepared and what they have planned for the road ahead.
Agneev Maitra, The Future Foundation School (Third rank, 99.4 per cent)
A die-hard car enthusiast, Agneev has enrolled in the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Computer with the dream of pursuing Automobile Engineering from IIT Madras after school.
“I have been interested in cars since I was a child. In fact, I read a lot of journals on cars and watch car videos online. I started preparing for the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) from Class IX. Of course, the exams are difficult to crack, but I’m willing to work harder,” said the student of The Future Foundation School.
Mentioning the role of classroom teaching and the help of his mother with Mathematics behind his academic achievement, Agneev said he had studied four to five hours a day before the exams.
Like most students, Agniva is wary of online classes and is more comfortable with classroom learning. “We faced internet issues during online classes. The video suddenly dropped, making us miss large portions of the class. Offline classes are far better as we get to sit in front of our teacher with no additional distraction,” explained the topper.
Apart from his passion for cars, Agneev enjoys playing cricket and football at school with his friends.
Looking back at the dual-semester system for ICSE 2022, the topper said he would have preferred taking the board exams in a single semester. “The semester system was indeed planned to make things easier for us. But it added to the tension related to exams. The whole process would have been finished in two to three months if we had just one paper.”
Rohanta Basak, Pramila Memorial Institute (Fourth Rank, 99.2 per cent)
Pleasantly surprised by his rank, Rohanta said he did not really expect it as the pandemic had hampered his regular pattern of study. “I never liked the online mode of education as it made me feel distant from my teachers and classmates. The entire classroom became a set of icons and it was quite hard to concentrate. The distraction was compounded by network issues,” said the student of Pramila Memorial Institute.
An artist and a tabla player, Rohanta said he did not study for more than seven hours a day before the exams. He has developed a habit of reading newspapers over the years. “I read newspapers every day after coming back from school. It improves my vocabulary and helps me with language,” he said.
Also a JEE aspirant, Rohanta is keen to pursue Engineering in one of the IITs. “I have chosen a combination of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science in my Plus-Two curriculum to realise my dream.”
Mayukh Sanyal, Pramila Memorial Institute (Fourth Rank, 99.2 per cent)
Another topper from Pramila Memorial Institute, Mayukh Sanyal, loves to play the violin in his free time for the love of music as well as to improve his power of concentration.
Mayukh said he had spent two to three hours in self-study daily after school and tuitions. During study leave, however, he had practised his lessons for seven to eight hours hours a day.
Always looking at the bright side of life, Mayukh said online classes were both a blessing and a curse. “It’s true that internet issues and audio problems hamper online classes, but the concept also saves the time it takes students to commute to school. We could use that time to do other important things.”
A violinist, Mayukh loves music and takes violin lessons. World history also interests him and he spends his free time reading books and articles online.
“I am now fully focused on preparing for JEE. I want to study Computer Engineering at IIT Kharagpur. If I don’t land up in a good Engineering college, I am keeping BSc as a second option,” Mayukh said when asked about his future plans.
Pramila Memorial Institute is proud of its students. Congratulating the students, Manisha Kumar, principal of the school, said, “I would like to congratulate my students for their outstanding success in ICSE 2022. Their diligence, hard work and determination paid off well. We are proud of them. I am sure they will keep up this dedication for their future endeavours.”