Do marks matter in the long run ?


A wise teacher once told me that any student who is likely to come up with excuses like “this was not in syllabus” or “this was not covered by teacher” for not knowing something that is supposed to be a common knowledge of the subject is likely to fail in life irrespective of how that student does in exams.

I think I am sufficiently old enough to reflect on that thought today and it does seem pretty much true.

Throughout my education what exactly made difference to my life ? The number of marks scored would easily come at the bottom of that list. Marks are a very crude measure of how much effort you have put into learning a subject and the skill of answering the exam.

It is not useless because it is often obvious that the one who scores 90% is far better in the given subject than someone who has scored 35%. However the marginal utility of each additional % might be very little post a reasonable level. For example we cant really say that a person who scored 92% is actually better than someone who has scored 89%.

What would be a good advice that I would give to my younger self in this regard ?

I think your success in life vastly depends on how much knowledge, experience and motivation you have rather than the marks you scored. If you are hungry for knowledge and skill you end up putting efforts into learning and that eventually results into good marks. Memorizing some mindless stuff to gain extra 1% may not be worth it in long run but spending few extra hours on honing your skill or knowledge in your area of interest cant make a lot of difference.

Of course given the scarcity of quality education in the country each single mark counts. I barely got 80% in my SSC and was one of the last person to get admission in Chowgule colleges 5 marks less and I would have ended up in some other college. That could have made all the difference to what I am today.

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