Learning Vs. Grades


Few months back, I joined an executive program in management with an objective to get myself acquainted with management skills. On first day of class, I found there were forty-five others like me who joined the program with same objective and everyone seemed to be quite enthusiastic, just as I was. A few weeks passed and one fine day, we got a notification from course authorities that end term exams would take place after a couple of weeks … and that was the end of our learning. Everyone started worrying about the exams and how to get “passing” marks (including me). Some took the help of Google to find sample questions and some started referring to multiple books to find all possible combination of questions which could be asked. It’s not that everyone was doing this, I am sure there must have been some people who were genuinely interested in learning and expanding their knowledge spectrum.

This is what typically happens since our education system make students (and their parents) more concerned about clearing the exam with flying colors than actually learning the subject. It reminds me of ‘3 idiots’ – Rancho vs Chatur. Both were toppers however how many students like Rancho you can find in a school/college/university class? Very few, but in all probabilities, you’ll find at least one Chatur in every class. A student getting 90+ percentage by mugging up books is considered superior than someone who scores less but is actually more knowledgeable. When I was doing engineering, students who used to score around 65-70% were among the first to get recruited and I saw many ‘toppers’ who struggled to get a job. May be this is not correct analogy however my point is that typically (not always) high scorers are not good learners as they are more focused on scoring high marks. There are exceptions, yes, but exceptions are omnipresent. If you’ll look closely, you’ll find that the startup ecosystem also reflects the same. Some of the most successful startups and tech majors were started by ‘non toppers’.

We fail to understand the simple thing. If we will try to learn, we’ll also score good but the opposite is not true. So, let’s pledge not to worry about exams, instead let’s give our 100% to learn on every opportunity 🙂