Exam Warriors: Book Review

By Narendra Modi, 2018,  

Penguin Books: Gurgaon, India.  xi +193 PAGES.

Balasya moolam vigyanam’ is a famous vedic preaching that states the significance of systematic sciences in establishing success and strength. Unequivocally, law of parsimony needs to be retained while translating the scientific knowledge to everyman’s wisdom for gaining strength. Ample knowledge lies in patches in various physical and life sciences, yet, customization and packaging of the same needs be done to suit the target population. And this is possible only by a Samaritan who has lived through those scientific principles, tested them with self as subject, and churned them as enablers for the common man. No heart would resist accepting these ‘enablers’ when they have been penned by a person who himself is a living example of rising from rags to riches in stature by his mere willpower, yes, there can be no better example than the current Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi to refurbish these enablers.

Keeping a close stock of the rising misconduct cases amongst the Indian youth with specific reference to exam mania, the author chooses to address the students portrayed as ‘exam warriors’ and preach them to fear not, embrace it, and move on.  This book is a perfect example of translational and transformational knowledge. It subtly and systematically unfurls the core principles of stress-free living not only for students during their exams but also lead them to a healthy and meaningful life each day every time. The life enablers are in the form of 25 mantras which readily seems to be the valid sources to attain a ‘Sat, Chit and Ananda’ state (in this worldly form) for everyone— on the age continuum who has minimum basic experiences to life. The mantras cater to all aspects of a budding human being ranging from how to prepare for exams to becoming a resilient human being. The book is full of psychological interventions to improve exam performance. To highlight a few, the idea of highlighting text while writing answers might seem a simple act but this actually improves the performance and result of a student as per von restorff effect. Similarly making mind maps is actually a powerful mnemonics or memory improving strategy which can enable the student to get better results in exam and in life.  Each prescribed mantra for improving exam performance epitomizes some or the other scientific phenomena in action. Basically they give a comprehensive step by step action plan in simplest ways to improve learning through PRO-FRO (planning, rehearsal, organization, feedback, review and overlearning), ultimately increasing the exam performance of students. Uniquely, the inclusion of simple and interesting activities has empowered every mantra to transform instantly the theory to practice. And on top of it, sharing the same through use of technology – developing an exam warrior community through Narendra Modi App is an innovative idea.

The concept of ‘misery loves company’ has been optimally utilised to make every student a beneficiary of the cohorts’ effective coping strategies and life style which otherwise does not formulate the collective wisdom either due to over-confidence or poor self-esteem. The author has been lucid enough to explain complex principles of mind, body and soul while giving befitting examples of athletes like Bubka and Tendulkar, mathematician like Ramanujan, leaders like Ambedkar and self instances. Importantly, recommending ‘kheloge to khiloge’ and ‘yogic exercises’ tops the list of enablers as catalysts to success and character strengths. The author also did not forget to acknowledge the contribution of parents and teachers in this mission of cultivating ‘exam warriors than exam worriers’. Although, every mantra is relevant but three uniquely stand out as, “Knowledge is permanent, pursue it”, “The present is God’s greatest present – Live here and now”, and “Aspire, not to be, but to do”. Needless to say, children should know and practice all of these enablers while adults should revise and relearn these enablers that have faded en route their journey to life.

Overall, this book is a much needed prophecy to develop the virtues and character strengths of India which is young and facing a transition between success and strength. It will enable in catching the young minds to develop a strong India.