CREST Achiever - Sanjana Philo Chacko

What's one or two achievements that you are proud of?
Receiving the CREST Star itself was a really encouraging achievement for me. Another achievement I'm proud of is writing and publishing a short story in the summer vacation before fifth grade. I've also received distinction in several math Olympiads worldwide.
What is your biggest fear and how do you overcome it?
My biggest fear is my mind going completely blank before something important, usually an exam. I feel afraid of messing up and disappointing others. I overcome this by thinking about all the hard work I've put in and remind myself that it will all pay off.
Which public figure (sportsperson, actor, etc.) inspires you the most?
I'm inspired by a lot of people but I think that the most significant one is J. K. Rowling. A lot of people achieved success but she did it after pulling herself out of the difficult situation of having very little money, no job, and a baby daughter to take care of.
Who or what keeps you motivated?
Whenever I need motivation, I always think of my little brother Michael. I feel that everything I do, all the things I accomplish, are for him. Michael helps me push through hard times and keep going forward.
Have you thought of your career line? What do you want to become and why?
When I grow up, I want to become a famous writer. I'v loved reading books ever since I can remember and seeing the beautiful works of others has always inspired me. I also like cooking and am considering a side career as a chef.
If there is one gift you would like to have, what would that be?
I would like to have a perfect memory. I feel like memorizing takes so much time and I might forget part of what I've learned later on. I think that being able to retain information for a long time would be really helpful.
What is your secret of making friends?
My closest friends are those whom I trust completely. They have stayed with me for a long time and have always tried to understand what I feel. I think the best way to make friends is to go with your gut instinct and never be afraid to be honest.
What are your hobbies? How do you keep a balance between your hobbies and studies?
My hobbies are reading, writing, learning French and running. I normally read most of the time, and do the other three in the weekend. I try to keep my studying and break duration in a fixed proportion, usually three to one. This helps keep things balanced, giving me enough time to relax after each studying session.
Which is your favourite sport? When did you start practicing and why?
I like playing leg cricket mainly because I'm good at kicking. I started playing in fifth grade during PE at school. I discovered that I love to bat. I frequently practice at home to improve my fielding abilities.
What are your study tips for getting better grades in school examinations?
I feel that it's best to pace your breaks evenly, rather than cramming for hours at a stretch. This gives your brain more time to absorb the information and gives you better chances of remembering it later. Another helpful tip is to study everything as soon as it's taught at school and revise many times before the examination.
How do you prepare for Olympiads?
I first look at the syllabus and try to cover all the topics as thoroughly as possible. Then, I do as many questions as I can to reinforce what I learn. I also try not cram too much right before the Olympiad as I don't want to stress myself out.
How has appearing for Olympiad exams helped your studies?
Yes, it definitely has, especially in Maths. My marks have improved a lot since I started taking part in math Olympiads. The different types of questions have helped make the concepts thorough.
Do you have any advice or tips for students who are interested in appearing for Olympiads?
Instead of delving straight into preparation, it's best to understand what topics you have to cover first. After doing sample questions, you will understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Try to eliminate your weaknesses and hone your strengths and you will soon find your level improving.
Name : Sanjana Philo Chacko
School : St. Thomas Residential School
Class : 6

CREST Achievers