Health and Society
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY One of the prominent sayings out on the streets is “A teenager can live for a day without food, not without phone”. And the sad part is that it happens to be true. Today’s fast moving life, competitive structure of society has taken away some of the most important things of life which includes time for oneself, time for loved ones, peace, stillness, silence and also hygiene and healthy diet. Now days, people don’t think about what they eat, when they eat, where they eat and how much they eat. They don’t think about exercising, practically because they don’t have time for it. However, hygiene happens to be the most important part of “life”. This is because; a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. In various researches, it was found that physical problems like obesity and it related problems- high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis and asthma, are more prevalent in the age group of 16-25yrs with the changing times. Moreover, this age group is also exposed to psychological disorders like –anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. Food influences almost every aspect of our being. It influences our nails, hair, skin, hormones and bones. The right kind of diet helps us achieve a healthy body. One of the foremost problems among teenagers is by a diet plan they understand, eating less and compulsively exercising. Though this may help in the short period, however in the long period, these symptoms can develop into anorexia nervosa, where the person refuses to eat, exercises compulsively and has a distorted body image. All this is caused by the unhealthy, negligent eating habits that have developed due to the “modernisation” of the society. The facebook, whatsapp, wechat and other “not so important” applications on the new gadgets like phones, tabs, smart watches, are a part of our lives but what we have to understand is that they are “only a part of life” and we should not make them “our life”. Moreover, these things if not used judiciously, can become the obstacles in our goals and self growth. Science is boon for the society, but negligence on our part and overuse of science can be catastrophic for this very society. Eat healthy, think healthy and live healthy
Preparing for CAT and XAT
Q. What was your XAT 2018 overall and sectional percentile? Apart from XAT, which other entrances you appeared for and what were your percentiles? A. My XAT 2018 results are as follows- Overall: 99.26| Verbal and Logical: 99.92| Decision Making: 97.86| Quantitative Ability:79.26 Apart from XAT, I gave CAT, SNAP, NMAT. I achieved the following results: CAT 2017- Overall: 95.35| Verbal: 96.64| LRDI: 93.58| Quantitative Ability:88.89 NMAT 2017- Overall: 97| Verbal: 98| Logical: 90| Quantitative Ability:89 SNAP 2017- 97.76 Q. What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail. A. I began my preparations for the entrance in the last week of June. My strategy was to first identify my strengths and weaknesses in terms of sections and then sub-sections and then plan a structure of study accordingly. My section wise strategy was as follows: Quant: I faced major issues in quantitative ability and specifically in number system, log, geometry, arithmetic. I realised the issue lay in my basic concepts and so I started the subjects one at a time. I studied from Vistamind classes, pre-recorded videos and Arihant MBA guide book. The key strategy was a consistent problem solving going from one difficulty level to the next. It is also important to return to questions that cannot be solved at the first or second try. I usually did those questions after one day, to check my understanding of the concept. Verbal: Apart from solving the basic grammar questions every day, I also took up reading books that I enjoyed. The strategy to ace this section is to increase reading speed and develop an understanding of grammatically correct usage of words. Reading books helps in this area a lot. One book per week is good enough target. However along with books, solving at least 4 case-lets of grammar and at least 2 of reading comprehension is preferred. Logical/LRDI – I found this section very abstract without any specific concepts to study. However, one thing is important to ace this section is understanding the kind of case-lets that come in the paper. The strategy therefore is to learn various kinds of case- lets and that comes from practice only. My strategy was to solve at least 4 case-lets of LR and 4 case-lets of DI on a daily basis. Decision Making- This particular section deals with logical questions based on morality. The point in this section is to understand the question in the first attempt and then try to evaluate the options from the perspective of the question. There are always some inferences that need to be made from the questions before answering the question, the strategy is to gauge what the question is actually asking. One of the best methods I found was to solve a question, check the answer and then explain myself why my answer was wrong and why the given answer should be correct. This clears the concept about what I should focus on in a question. Q. How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Please explain which one do you think is better? I took coaching from Vistamind, which later merged with Career Launcher. However, I believe that no amount of coaching can substitute self- study. It is important to internalize the concepts taught in class and the doubts asked in class. That said, I also believe that if you have an issue in any of the areas, it’s always preferable to ask for help than living with the problem by oneself. Therefore, according to me, a healthy mix of both coaching and self-study is the ideal method of preparation. Strategize on the basis of time you have, and the weakness you face, give it more time, however, keep practicing your strengths as well. Q. When did you start preparing for XAT? Please share in detail your month-wise preparation strategy for XAT in terms of 6 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month and last-minute strategy you followed. I started preparing for XAT and other entrances from June end week. My month- wise plan I tried to follow is: July -August – Focus: Concept clearing, Method: Coaching material, classes, one on one doubt clearing sessions August- Mid September – Focus: Identifying and practicing sub sections that were difficult, Strengthening the strong areas Method: Topic tests daily, sectional tests twice a week and one mock every 2 weeks, Mid-September - October Focus: Improving Mock scores Method: Gradually increasing the number of mocks every week. By this time, I was giving 3 mocks every week. It is important to give at 2 days in between each mock, so that you can analyse the result and improve the weak area. November – December Since I was giving other entrances as well, this time is especially crucial. The strategy that I followed was to focus on the paper coming ahead. I segregated the calendar in terms of 2 weeks before each exam. I gave maximum of 2 CAT specific mocks and majorly I analysed the previous mocks I had given. I solved the questions I had done wrong before, I kept solving sectional tests of my strong areas to keep myself in practice. Focus: Last minute strengthening of the strong areas and practicing question type specific problems. Method: Previously given Mock analysis together in terms of sections, for example, picking up unsolved/wrongly solved Quant section problems from all the mocks given. XAT specific - I started my last-minute prep for XAT after 17th December. Focus: XAT specific 3 mocks and analysis of previously given mock, Essay writing Method: I solved 4-5 decision making sets, 5-6 Verbal and 4-6 quant sets from the unsolved/ wrongly solved questions, till the end of December. I wrote about 10-12 essays on the topics from internet, and got them analysed by coaches, friends, parents. For GK and last-minute review, I had maintained a small dairy which I used read through like a novel, it had GK points and quant formulas and LR tricks. This is the only thing I read through before the exam. Q. How did you balance your preparation with studies or job? Please share your time table. (if relevant) A. I was dropping a year after under graduation, hence I did not face this particular issue; however, I faced the issue of monotony sometimes. I was doing the same task for hours at a stretch and it became boring sometimes. In such cases I would take a break of 3-4 hours, watch a movie, play a game, go out with friends and refresh myself. The one thing helped a lot was talking about the difficulties I was facing. The more I talked about them, the less unbearable they became. Most of the time, I would get good insights on how to solve certain issues as result of this communication. Q. What was the one thing that you did consistently during your preparation? Or What do you think one should do consistently during the preparation of XAT? According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation? A. The most important aspect of preparation according to me is PERSISTANCE with a HEALTHY MIND. It is imperative that at no point you should feel like giving up, the moment this happens you be able to revive the reasons you decided on giving the entrances in the first place. You should be mentally relaxed as well, because most problems occur as result of a panicked mindset while giving mock test. It should be given in the same manner as you would give your final exam. Another thing that is important is STICKING TO THE SCHEDULE. It is not 100% possible, but attempt should be in that direction only. Following the schedule at least 70%-80% of the time is fair enough. Q. What are the best study materials for XAT or other exams? Please name some books, or other study materials (even newspaper/magazines) and online materials you had referred to during preparation. In terms of online or offline materials, which one did you prefer and why? A. For XAT specifically I found a book by Nishit Sinha – LRDI very helpful. However, I majorly studied from the material provided by the coaching institute and the previous years’ exam papers available online. Materials I used specifically: Arihant MBA book Nishit K. Sinha LRDI Indian Express The Hindu – editorials specially Previous years’ exam papers I preferred offline material more than online because it was easier to handle, however, mocks and sectional tests of CL helped a lot specially because the way they are formed. The interface for the tests is very easy to use. Q. When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency? How did you get it analysed and integrate it in your preparation? A. I began my mocks in August end and I started with 1 mock every two weeks and gradually increased it to 3 mocks every week. My schedule was not always fixed and I missed a few of the mocks I had planned, however my consistency was at 80%, which according to me was fair. ANALYSIS OF MOCK- we had some mock test analysis sessions by the coaches. I individually analysed my mocks by bucketing the wrongly answered questions into the difficulty levels and the unanswered ones in terms of probable time taken to solve. I tried to identify any specific sub-topic, sub section that was consistent in the mistakes and went back to basic concepts and sub section tests to resolve and test the performance. Q. How one with non-English background should prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English? A. Since the verbal section is also present in every exam, English becomes extremely important. My suggestion is to begin by reading English books, start from short stories in an easier language and then develop it further by reading authors that use more vocabulary. The focus should be increase comprehensive reading speed and to improve vocabulary. The grammar comes automatically with increased experience in reading the language. Q. What was your exam day strategy in terms of question selection, time management, accuracy and sectional attempts/cut-offs? A. The exam day strategy begins with keeping calm and composed. You mind should be relaxed before entering the exam hall. In terms of question selection and time management, I followed the strategy of dividing the time before hand. Since XAT allows us to move between sections throughout the exam, it is important to use this to our advantage. I began my paper by solving my key strength areas first and then moved to the difficult parts. At the first reading, I solved every question I found simple and then began skimming through the rest of the questions again. I had decided before hand to review my progress after every 45 mins, and to check the number of questions I remaining in the section. The idea was to maximise the questions in verbal and DM as those are my strengths and minimise guesses in the quant section. Q. Preparing for XAT is a long and tiring process. How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence? A. Keeping a balanced mind during the preparation period is very important. There are certain points I followed: Do not sit for a long stretch of time. Keep it maximum to 2 hours. Keep your hobbies balanced with preparation – take out time to listen to songs/ paint/ write. Spend time with yourself. Reflect on yourself and talk to oneself about the issues you are facing. Spend time with parents/ friends. It is imperative to talk about issues faced/ experiences you are going through with someone who can understand you. Discuss articles, books, movies with them. Maintain a journal if possible, it helps the reflection exercise, and improves the ability to express oneself. Q: What is your message for XAT 2019 aspirants? A. The Mantra is to KEEP GOING even if the times are hard. Even if the mocks/ sectionals/ sub- topic tests aren’t going well, it is alright, these failures are just learning experiences and the focus should be on ANALYSIS and INTEGRATION of analysis. Persistence is the key to doing well, along with a NO EXPECTATION attitude. This is what worked for me. Always keep in mind that this is just an entrance exam, and life is much more beyond this, so do not take unnecessary mental tension. ADDITIONAL - MY EXPERIENCE OF XAT 2018 I was at one of the unfortunate centers where the exam did not happen due to technical issues at the center. The server in the center was not working and the aspirants waited for close to two hours before the exam was cancelled. Including me there were other aspirants who had already logged in to the system, and therefore, we were under the threat that our paper might be marked with no attempts. The management of the center was reluctant to provide a written assurance for the cancellation of the paper and we waited until the confirmation mail was received by us. During the whole process, I was able to remain calm for two reasons- I had the assurance that I wasn’t alone in the situation; and I believed in the institution to be fair and extend support to the aspirants. I believed in the ethical values of XLRI and that gave me strength to live through the experience without panicking. My rescheduled XAT 2018 was on 3rd February, and meanwhile my calls for various other interview- GD process had started arriving. I had an interview scheduled on 1st Feb in Pune, 6th Feb in Mumbai and so on. The cancelation of exam did affect my preparation schedule a lot. Now I was preparing for PI-GD processes as well as revising for XAT entrance. It affected my quant section as is visible from the results. However, I made sure I revised previous mocks, and solved some sectional tests and kept practicing my strengths.
JUDICIARY UNDER SCRUTINY
JUDICIARY UNDER SCRUTINY The Indian Judiciary System seems to be in a dire need for a change in its functioning – and that too, a substantial change. After 63 years of adopting the ‘republican’ status, Indian judiciary seems to be put under the scrutiny of the populace. Instead of looking at the achievements of this particular system of government, we ought to start eyeing the drawbacks of it. Apart from all the glory of this apex, justified and sacred institution, we have to peep into the black holes of it so that we can change its inefficiency into prominent and effective verdicts. “7.5 MILLION cases are still pending in courts across the nation as by the end of 2011”, this information was given by Mr. Mann Kumar Mishra, Chairman, Bar Council Of India, on 24 January 2013. The ‘year’ seems to be a little previous, but if you can believe, then please believe me that it is the most recent information on records. According to the 2011 Report of NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), a total of 72, 58,302 cases for offences under the IPC (Indian Penal Code) are still pending across the nation. And in the country’s capital, 2, 00,334 cases remain awaiting justice. This information is not supposed to condemn the existing system of justice or to offend the respect of ‘the high command’ by any means. Nevertheless, it is absolutely shocking to hear. These figures, mentioned above, are not just cases but 72 million (probably more) lives at stake, going through depression and a phase of blasphemy. Many of them are innocent, a few culprits; but both are being subjected to hostility and resentment. The Indian system of justice tries to protect the innocent even if it has to let go of the culprits, but the truth today seems that the innocent are paying for the acts of those who should be punished and who somehow are able to get off the hook pretty easily. The ‘under-trials’ spend more time awaiting court dates than their actual punishments that they deserve. Through this tiresome and elastic ordeal, these lives try their best to defend themselves and dodge the incarceration. The cases of terrorism come across as to be of high importance, since they have direct effect on the common public. Then, is it not difficult to grasp that for those 85 serial bomb blasts that took place between 1993-2013, 700 people were taken under custody and only 27 of them were punished? And the time taken, for the few proven verdicts, stretched on like rubber bands until they lost the value in the eyes of the common man? It is not to reprimand the ‘Justice of India’, but just evaluate the message we send across to the world and more importantly to the people of our own country. The common man, for who ‘Justice’ is only for the riches, but who believes in the assurance of our ‘Constitution’, still retains some faith in the Judicial System. They have not yet given up on the statue of the ‘lady blindfolded by the black cloth’. To comprehend that ‘justice delayed is not justice denied’, but the mere fact that justice once delayed loses its meaning to an extent, beyond restoration. We have not given up this battle yet. We will hold our ground till we change this battle for peace into peace itself. But what we need to execute in order to maintain the people’s faith in the judiciary is to stop spending and start mending.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ANALYSIS
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ANALYSIS After two hundred and two years of its first publication, pride and prejudice still remains one of the most sought-after novels. The reasons behind its popularity are many, but to name a few that are particularly my favorite is the idea of a coveted freedom portrayed by almost all the characters, specifically the females and more specifically the ‘relatively poor females'. Who can deny that Elizabeth Bennet with all her impertinent remarks, sly comments are the epitome of freedom both mental and physical in the novel. Her frank accusations (specially to Darcy) and her fierce determination to walk three miles to Nether field Park to look after her ill sister with "her petticoat, six inches deep in mud", is another example of her strong will. Not to mention her adamant refusal of two offers of marriage in a patriarchal society, one being the future master of her house and the other, the richest man of ton, and her refusal to step down in face of intimidation (referring to various occasions but specifically Lady Catherine's visit) she was the idol for every woman two hundred years ago and still is. Another big factor that ensures pride and prejudice's constant publication, is the offer of an ideal romantic relationship. Mr. Darcy the most sought-after bachelor of London ton, is the most handsome male character, who embodied all the coveted virtues of honesty, loyalty, kindness and generosity, with the addition of having a progressive thinking. More than anything, his ability to accept his mistakes and make efforts to change himself while remaining steadfastly loyal in his love for the one woman who refuses him, is commendable. His passionate words in the first proposal or the passionate but also humble in the second one doesn't hurt his case. " In vain have I struggled, this will not do, my feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" or " You are too generous to trifle with me, of your feelings are what they were last April tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever". Of course, it does not hurt that he also conveniently rich and owns the most beautiful house - Pemberley. Apart from the appeal of a feminist perspective and freedom, the appeal of the most romantic love story, the writing style of Jane Austen is another lucrative reason why this book is perused more than once with the same level of excitement and ecstatic suspense. Her style of writing is something that collide with the then rules of polite society but often her wit, humor and sarcasm charms the reader into reading and rereading. Her gracefully humorous tone coinciding with her descriptions of the absurdity in human behavior are aptly described in characters of Mrs. Bennet, Sir William Lucas, Mr. Collins to name a few. She expresses the ignorance of people to reflect the common criticism of the 18th century. Her shrewd observations of the human follies are described in an economical narrative style, eluding to more, using fewer words. Lady Catherine says to Elizabeth on one occasion, which seems to be applicable to Austen as well, "you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person" since Austen began writing First Impressions (previous title of pride and prejudice) at the age of 21. On a concluding note I cannot help but agree with Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle who was once asked if he ever read novels. 'Oh yes,' he replied. 'All six, every year.'
Musings of the future
Landscape--- the changes we see “A change changes the changes before The scene is seen from unseeing eyes” ‘Every moment witnesses a change in the landscape around. Every second something new is added and something old is eliminated- a new born taking birth or a dried up leaf falling down. Something novel occurs every minute around us- be it the wind changing its course, birds migrating to new lands or a single drop of water dropping into the parched sands. These changes are subtle but yet they are there, showing in every feature of this beautiful and unique planet- Earth. Biological and geological changes have been constantly occurring on our planet since the time of its formation. Organisms continuously evolve, taking on new forms or going extinct in response to an ever-changing planet.’ The first two lines caught my eye, sneaked into my mind and took lodgings there. I read them while reading an article written long back by my grandmother. When she was alive, she would tell me stories about my home- my earth. Many a times she would cry for the mere fact that the earth has changed a lot since her grandmother was a small kid, and I would laugh at that thought of my great- great grandmother being a kid. I remember once, when she was explaining me about the beginning of our planet, she said -- “Chahat, always remember, changes are the consequences of the past and the outlines of the future. ‘Change’, therefore, is a word thorough which every creation evolves.’ Always remember this.” These were her last few words, few months back and few days before she died. Funny how some ‘few’ things change so much around you. These few things changed so much around me, and long back they had changed so much around my grandmother. And these were the few things that I had remembered long after I heard them. The point here is, I remembered. Though the article was written for a school competition (which she barely thought about) and in writing barely readable, yet I suppose, to my grandmother it was more than just a mere article. She wrote the words in her terrible handwriting but her words seem to arouse a feeling of grief evoked by the labour ease of loss, mixed with the thrill of encountering something novel. So, I took it upon myself to discover and comprehend her feelings by reading the smallest of her dairies, entitled—‘Landscape—the changes we see’ In the start of the dairy, was a small poem which, to my content, was the continuation of her two beautiful lines- ‘A change changes the changes before The scene is seen from unseeing eyes Past differs from the elapsed future Changes perceived by obstructed eyes God’s school of life, alone Has been reformed over times Million years before me And million more after These lines are safe with sands of time.’ She has then placed a neatly cut out piece of printed paper smelling strongly of wood pulp which reads- According to the standard believe, our universe sprang into existence as a ‘singularity’ (zones thought to exist at the core of black holes) some 15 billion years ago. After the initial appearance, it inflated, expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredibly small creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars. This is the Big Bang theory. The most popular model consisting of evidences directing towards life and existence. I remember listening to something similar by my grandma but she made it a lot simpler than this old sheet of paper that she must have downloaded thorough the internet. The lines that have been highlighted must mean something important to her, but then she used to do this all the time. She always had a highlighter ready in her hand to apply on the sheet as soon as she got the chance; as soon as she found something that she liked to remember. The next three pages are empty which suggest that they have left intentionally for something to be written. Seeing the yellowed and blank pages with nothing but ink spots at the start of every page, my mind is racing with suspicion about a hidden message somewhere. Then I flip the pages and notice the blackened spots suggesting some words being written on the next page. This one is in her writing which seems to have improved over time and the few blank sheets. She writes- LOG 1 Whoever is reading this, must know by now that this is not a personal dairy but a dairy of thoughts and notes taken down on a specific subject—My Home, My Earth. For a long time now, my hand and my heart have been etching to write something about Earth. So, to satisfy my need and greed of sharing my noble and not so noble thoughts with a silent friend, I have chosen this dairy. I will start off by saying that ‘change’ has been a constant from the beginning of this universe. Like it has been given in the printed passage- our universe began with a big inflation. Our earth, on the other hand, was formed long after that ‘inflation’ or most commonly said ‘the big bang’. The aftermath of this so called ‘explosion’ introduced our galaxy with our own personal sun and our delicate and private planet. This happened 4.5 billion years ago. It was signed in her name. I had to read her first log twice before anything could go to my head and after the first two unsuccessful tries, I gave up on the third one. But reading it felt refreshing; it felt like being with her, like she was again telling me one of her stories. I could feel her presence radiating through her words, now cradled in my arms just the way she used to cradle me in hers. I moved on to next log… Log 2 Earth was again a part of an explosion or rather a ‘bump’ into a rock, which caused our earth to tilt and gave us our own satellite – the moon. Later on, life began to sprang up in form of microorganisms who survived the most extreme weather conditions of those times. After 500 million years, the liquid rocks hardened and water vapor evaporated with the CO2 and formed a huge cloud covering the whole of the earth. It rained then, for the very first time and for the next thousands of years; nonstop; making the earth cooler and striking as the time passed. That must have been a sight to see! I sometimes think myself as a microorganism; sitting on a parched land piece and seeing the world being transformed from the muddy scenario to a scene full of green trees, green shrubs, green and colorful world. I just wish I could remember my other lifetimes in this life so that I could relive them in my memories every time I wanted to. Hahaha…….. Her name was again signed at the end of the page; she had that habit of signing her name under everything she wrote. Her wish about being a microorganism seemed so silly and juvenile; her wishes were very childish which reminded me of her silly and melodramatic way of talking, like she was trying to pretend like a child; pretend like me, but I could bet she was very good at that pretending. There was another printed page titled- ‘Pangaea’. It was not mere than few lines, though— PANGAEA Earth become a giant ocean surrounding the largest continent ever formed, "Pangaea". Pangaea is the origin of five continents which are known now. Based on "The Continental Drift Theory", the formation of five continents starts from the break of Pangaea. This break was cause by the move of tectonic plates in Earth. Under it was a note scrawled that read, ‘Pangaea spells very magical and enchanting; maybe I could use it as a title for a poem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ J She literally had put those infinite (my perception) exclamation signs. And there was also a smiley drawn at the end that had faded with the passed time. Log 3 I have read about dinosaurs a few minutes back, can you imagine that they were the first category of mammals on earth. Evidences have been found (unreliable but popular belief!!) that they inhabited the earth for thousands of years and went into extinction after a meteor shower hit earth, killing all the life forms. L Then comes the best part of evolution, ‘Rise of the home sapiens’ Human race, my race, our race. Then progressively, with the changing times and through the evolution already in stages, my home changed a great deal. The first traces of my ancestors are found in Africa- the mother land for humankind. During the evolution of man, the human mind evolved on its own, we learned to express our thoughts, speak languages and made separate communities. Even though we all come from Africa, we have scattered over the different continents in the wake of traveling... J Log 4 – my last log It’s been a long time since I wrote anything; it’s been a while since I thought about anythingL Well, continuing my story, humans changed everything on this beautiful planet- for good or bad, I know not, but things did changed. Through technology we have changed the earth’s surroundings time and time again. Going perfectly with the line ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ we made wheel, ran wooden carts, upgraded to animals pulling the carts and then to burning of fossils, going from land to water to air. We discovered everything that was possible to be known and still work on the few remaining mysteries that the world as offered to us. After uncovering almost every hidden physical object in the planet, we have jumped to the secrecies of the human mind. Nonetheless, we are trying to understand the skills behind the extraordinary works and thrillers of the humans, we trying to uncover the reasons behind our past and the possibilities of the future. Other than just being engrossed in ourselves we have reached out to the universe, trying to find traces of life above our own planet. We have reached our spaceships up to the planets and satellites in the effort to understand and know more and more about ourselves and the others that surround us. These new inventions and findings have brought about changes to our mindset, humanity and the planet we survive on. Earth has given us everything it had, and we are striving to use the resources to their potential and if possible, beyond the same. We have achieved a lot throughout, right through the beginning, but we have made some mistakes too. These mistakes have caused us a lot of things specially our peace of mind and virtue of being ‘human’. We have fought with our brothers and divided the divinity and sanity of God, yet we believe that we can change for good because now we have started realizing our mistakes and started prying to be forgiven. This was her last log as she had mentioned at starting, but still I wanted to read more. I flipped through the pages, all blank, I was getting nauseated. Her last words left a void in my mind. I wanted more. Then to my great surprise, I found her few more lines written in her illegible handwriting, her few more lines on this perfect topic. When I read it, it evoked a sense of guilt and regret mixed with her ever-green novel way of perceiving the world. Through the days I survived, Nights I spend on knees Days I squander my home In dark all I uttered was ‘please’ Hours and hours of daylight Turning slowly to shadows Gawking at the changes around I twist my feet and turn myself Afraid now, my prayers unheard Has left me silent and helpless.
UNDYING LOVE - poem
Undying love The trees, the trunks covered with moss Loquacious birds chirping for a cause The bubbling music of a stream Like the holy river of a realm Canopies of flowers hanging about Haze of buttery sunshine shining out Nutty aroma of the rodents beneath Air flittering greenly through the leaves Insects buzzing noisily all around Hearing an occasional scowl of a hound The glided air, the wet ferns The teasing breeze, its strange turns The unknown path here in woods Searching explorers as if they could Pattering like footsteps across the matted earthen floor Words of newness, the rain did bore The divine nature, its true grace Disappearing with the coming days Nature’s undying love will cease to be With the doom of it’s every tree.
PSYCHOMETRIC ASSESSMENT OF HONESTY AND INTEGRITY I
PSYCHOMETRIC ASSESSMENT OF HONESTY AND INTEGRITY IN WORKPLACE The term “psychometrics” refers to the measurement of psychological attributes according to some set of methodologies that aim to provide estimates of magnitude that are both reliable and valid. Prior to the 1980s, questionnaire measures of integrity and honesty tended to be somewhat esoteric and “private” documents that were used in place or, or in addition to a polygraph, and were marketed by specialist security companies and consultants. There was practically no published research evidence for their utility, except that put forward by the organisations and individuals who sold the tests. Most tests were based around a polygraph procedure, and some, as in the London House series, actually warned candidates that they may have to undergo a polygraph test if deception was suspected. All psychometric tests of honesty and integrity are self-report. An integrity test is a specific type of personality test designed to assess an applicant's tendency to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable. A lack of integrity is associated with such counterproductive behaviors as theft, violence, sabotage, disciplinary problems, and absenteeism. Integrity tests have been found to measure some of the same factors as standard personality tests, particularly conscientiousness, and perhaps some aspects of emotional stability and agreeableness. The Collins English Dictionary, 3rd edition (1991) defines an honest person as one “not given to lying, cheating, stealing etc., trustworthy; not false or misleading, genuine; and characterised by sincerity and candour”. Integrity is defined as “adherence to moral principles, honesty; the quality of being unimpaired”. Thus, the two terms convey virtually the same meaning. However, two other terms have come into usage more recently, “employee reliability” (Sackett and Harris, 1985; Hogan and Hogan, 1989), and “counter-productive behaviour” (Hollinger, 1986). These two terms reflect the broadening of the meaning of honesty and integrity from the relatively narrow conceptualization of theft, lying, and cheating that first defined the overt integrity tests of the early 1980s, through to a range of behaviours, attitudes, and dispositions that were considered “not conducive to efficient and effective work practices” or counter-productive to organizational “health”. It is in this widening of the definition that the use of personality tests came more to the fore in I/O practice. Overt Psychometric Integrity Tests The term “overt” refers to the fact that these tests ask direct questions about an individual’s honesty, criminal history, and attitudes toward drug abuse, theft by others, and general outlook on issues concerning integrity. The purpose of doing this is generally as part of a pre-employment screen of job applicants, such that those who do not meet the minimal test scores deemed suitable by a company are refused employment. Although many psychologists and test publishers recommend using the test scores as part of a “basket” of selection tools, in practice an “undesirable” score on an integrity test will serve as the sole discriminator as to hire/not hire. Covert Psychometric Integrity Tests The term “covert” refers to the use of tests whose relevance to honesty and integrity is not immediately clear. In fact, personality-oriented trait tests are used exclusively as the indirect measures. These tests aim to predict a broader range of counter-productive work behaviors, using weighted composite measures of personality trait scores. The need for integrity tests in organizations The importance of honesty in the workplace is fairly self-explanatory; honest employees are more accountable, reliable, and less likely to do damage to an organization by engaging in unethical or illegal behavior. Honesty and integrity are associated with a number of other characteristics, including rule adherence and trustworthiness. Employees who lack these qualities may be more prone to disciplinary problems or be more at risk to engage in counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) such as theft, time-wasting, and fraud. Tests that assess honesty are especially useful for positions that require employees to work in a client’s home or handle cash, such as cashiers, retail store associates, home health care aides, field service technicians, and security guards. Integrity tests available online 1. WPP (Workplace productivity profile) 2. PRB (Personnel Reaction Bank) 3. EI (PDI Employment Inventory) 1. WPP (Workplace productivity profile) The Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP) is a personality assessment that is used to help predict whether an individual will be a conscientious, productive and reliable employee. It is used primarily for entry-level positions where rule adherence and trustworthiness are of primary importance. Like other integrity tests, the WPP can be used to predict overall performance as well as to screen out candidates judged to be more prone to possible disciplinary problems. The WPP measures four traits: Conscientiousness, Perseverance, Integrity/Honesty, and Attitudes towards Theft and Fraud. The first two traits (Conscientiousness and Perseverance) relate to a person's likely work habits. The latter two (Honesty and Attitudes towards Theft) relate to a person's integrity and perceived risk of engaging in counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) such as theft, time-wasting, and fraud. It is formed by Criteria Corporation, which is a leading provider of web-based pre-employment testing services, headquartered in Los Angeles, USA. The WPP is used to help predict the likelihood of a wide range of outcomes ranging from general reliability and rule-following to risk for counterproductive work behaviors such as theft or fraud. As such, while it can be used for many positions it is of particular utility for employers screening entry-level employees where attendance, trustworthiness, and work ethic are of great value. Because of its emphasis on trustworthiness and rule adherence, the WPP is particularly popular with employers screening for positions where employees will be handling cash or inventory, or working in a client's home or business. The WPP is used widely as a selection instrument for positions such as retail store associates, cashiers, home health care aides, production workers, field service technicians and security guards, as well as a wide range of other entry-level positions. The WPP consists of 50 self-report items and typically takes less than ten minutes to complete. An internal "faking" scale measures the extent to which a candidate is exaggerating strengths or minimizing weaknesses - and the scores of those applicants are automatically adjusted when appropriate. Intended Use and Legal Compliance The WPP can be used to help predict the likelihood of a wide range of outcomes including performance, general reliability and rule-following, and risk for counterproductive work behaviors such as theft or fraud. While it can be used for many positions it is of particular utility for employers screening entry- and mid-level employees where attendance, punctuality, work ethic and trustworthiness are valued, and is particularly popular for positions where employees will be handling cash or inventory, or working in a client's home or business. It is estimated that employee theft costs U.S. businesses between $15 and $25 billion per year, and as a result about 40% of U.S. employers use integrity tests as part of their employee screening process. The WPP, like other integrity tests, has been shown to have no adverse impact on protected minority groups. There are no federal prohibitions on the use of integrity tests; however, the state of Massachusetts prohibits the use of any written assessment of honesty for hiring purposes, so the WPP should not be used in MA. The state of Rhode Island prohibits using integrity tests as the primary basis of employment decisions; users in RI should consult their legal counsel before using the WPP. Score Reports Each individual is given a percentile ranking for each of the four traits, as well as an Overall Rating of High, Medium, or Low, based on a combined score derived from the four individual trait scores. An internal "Self-enhancing scale" is used to adjust scores up or down in the event that the test detects unusually positive or negative response styles. In extreme cases of self-enhancing, the test will also be flagged as a potentially invalid result. Score reports also contain brief text descriptions for each of the four traits, and provide information as to how a candidate's score in individual traits may affect job suitability. Standardization Sample Norms for the WPP were developed using a sample of 1,107 individuals. The sample was made up of adults aged 18 and older, including both incumbents and job applicants. These individuals were being assessed for employee selection and/or benchmarking purposes, and represented a sample of individuals from over 50 companies, in an extremely broad and diverse range of positions CASE STUDY for WPP A leading retailer based in the Southeastern U.S. wanted to reduce the impact of counter-productive work behaviors such as absenteeism, tardiness, theft, and time-wasting amongst its retail sales associates. The company administered the Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP) to a group of its existing sales associates. The employees' test scores were then compared to performance rankings for "Discipline" assigned by Store Managers. Managers based the Discipline scores on factors such as punctuality, attendance, trustworthiness, rule adherence, and work ethic. The employees' Discipline scores were then compared to their overall WPP scores (High, Medium, Low), and to the four individual trait scores on the WPP: Conscientiousness, Perseverance, Integrity/Honesty and Attitudes Towards Theft. Results: Overall WPP scores were positively correlated (.23) with the performance rankings in Discipline. Of the employees who received passing scores on the WPP (High or Medium overall rankings), 60% were rated as "Good" or "Excellent" in Discipline by their managers. Of those who received "Low" ratings on the WPP, only 33% received "Good" or "Excellent" Discipline ratings. Some of the individual trait scores were even stronger predictors of Discipline, as Conscientiousness scores and Integrity/Honesty scores were correlated .41 and .45, respectively with Discipline ratings, as detailed in the Chart below. Correlations between WPP Trait Scores and Managerial Rankings in "Discipline" Conscientiousness .41 Perseverance .18 Integrity/Honesty .45 Attitudes towards Theft .14 N=28 Based on the results of this local concurrent validity study, the company decided to incorporate the WPP into its employee selection process for sales associates at all retail locations. 2. Personnel Reaction Bank (PRB) by IPAT The Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB) is an integrity assessment that is used to screen applicants for entry-level positions and predicts whether they will exhibit dependable and reliable workplace behavior. It is comprised of 84 multiple-choice items and can be completed in less than 15 minutes. It is designed for selection in positions where dependability, conscientiousness, diligence, and restraint are considered to be important qualities and counterproductive behaviors need to be minimized. The PRB measures Sense of Well-Being, Positive Background Indicators, Compliance with Rules and Routines, Conventional Occupational Preferences, Personal Reliability Index. The Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB; Gough, 1971, Gough et al., 2004) consists of 84 items related to attitudes and self-perceptions, and is designed to assess the likelihood that a given individual will demonstrate reliability and dependability, as opposed to counter-productivity, in the workplace. Of the 84 items, 62 (41 personality-based items and 21 others dealing with occupational preferences,) are used for scoring the Personal Reliability Index (PRI), a global index on which lower scores indicate tendencies toward counterproductive workplace behaviors. Scores on the PRI are obtained by summing the raw scores from four subscales: Sense of Well-being (SWB; 16 items), on which high scores reflect a positive outlook on one's life circumstances; Pro-social Background (PSB; 13 items), on which high scores reflect a view of one's childhood and upbringing as happy and satisfying; Compliance with Social Norms (CSN; 12 items), reflecting, at the high end, a tendency to conform and comply with social norms and conventions; and Conventional Occupational Preferences (COP; 21), an index of occupational preferences on which higher scores reflect a preference toward conventional, low-risk jobs and lower scores indicate a preference for jobs that are unconventional or involve some element of risk or physical danger. Past research has demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties for all PRB scales (Gough et al., 2004). Complete PRB scores were available for 768 participants (511 women). The Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB) is an important personality‐based instrument for assessing the integrity of individuals. Study conducted Tong, Yew Kwan and Arvey and Richard D. (2012) by investigated the cross‐cultural applicability of its three psychological factors (Sense of Well‐being, SWB; Pro-social Background, PSB; and Compliance with Social Norms, CSN) using American and Singaporean respondent groups. Based on this three‐factor structure, the PRB demonstrated acceptable cross‐group generalizability. Mean scores for SWB, PSB, and CSN showed differences between male and female respondents, although the factor correlation matrices were invariant across gender. The mean composite score (SWB + PSB + CSN) was also not significantly different across gender. With respect to integrity tests per se, Conscientiousness (r = .42), Agreeableness (r = .40), and to a lesser extent Emotional Stability (r = .33), are the strongest trait correlates of integrity tests including the PRB, with the combination of these factors predicting scores on these measures better than either factor alone. Hence, the PRB and measures of integrity appear to largely assess Conscientiousness and Agreeableness – dimensions which form a higher-order factor of “disinhibition” in the structural framework of personality (Markon, Krueger, & Watson, 2005). An additional finding of Ones, Schmidt, and Viswesvaran (1994) as well as others (e.g., Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2001; Marcus, Höft, & Riediger, 2006) is that the above-noted personality factors mediate the relationship between integrity tests and a range of external criteria including indices of counter-productivity. However, Ones and colleagues (1994) also noted that these factors did not entirely account for the association between integrity test scores and external criteria, suggesting that other types of data beyond an individual's self-reported current dispositional make-up are measured by personality-based integrity tests and can predict counter-productivity. 3. PDI Employment Inventory The PDI Employment Inventory (EI) is designed to identify applicants who will become productive hourly employees and who will stay on the job voluntarily at least three months. It measures personality characteristics that underlie the continuum of productive, unproductive, and counterproductive job behaviors. Among others, these characteristics include dependability, responsibility, and conscientiousness--dimensions of hourly job performance that affect success in many jobs. In its final form, the EI contains 97 items in three sections: 69 true-false opinion and attitude statements, 14 self-descriptive adjective triads, and 14 multiple-choice background questions. The true-false items and adjective triads are intended to solicit opinions, attitudes, and self-perceptions relevant to responsibility, reliability, stability, impulse control, and test-taking frankness. The multiple-choice EI questions ask for various experience and background information, as well as for situational judgments thought to predict overall performance in hourly jobs. Most of the EI is written at the sixth grade reading level, however a few of the adjectives are a bit more difficult. The EI works best in selecting employees for those jobs in which the dimensions of dependability, reliability, responsibility, conscientiousness, and trustworthiness are important, and in which other skills and abilities play a smaller role. Since the EI has been validated and proved effective over a broad range of jobs in a wide range of work settings, it should be useful even in those jobs not specifically in the research base. Numerous validation studies have shown that the EI successfully identifies productive, dependable workers in a variety of jobs and work settings. Personnel Decisions, Inc. (PDI) and researchers at various universities have conducted over 140 validity studies involving more than a third of a million people in a wide range of companies located throughout North America. Industries involved have run the gamut: retail, transportation, quick service restaurants, grocery, health care, manufacturing, gas stations, and airlines. Consistently, the studies have confirmed that job applicants who get higher EI scores are more likely to be reliable, conscientious, stable employees. Reliability- The most demanding and operationally meaningful measure of the EI's reliability is test-retest reliability. This process requires the repeated administrations of the EI to given groups of subjects under controlled conditions. The four-week interval test-retest Pearson correlations from the University student sample during the EI's development were approximately .60. These correlations underestimate the instrument's true reliability because score ranges among job applicants are 22 Employment Inventory Research considerably larger than those among college students. With a range restriction correction, true EI reliability is expected to be approximately .80 for the Performance scale and .70 for the Tenure scale. Validity - Independent university researchers have conducted meta-analytic studies of the EI to estimate the true, generalizable validity. They reviewed 92 EI studies of 28,674 employees and reported a .33 correlation with measures of job performance when the EI is used for hiring. From their review of 57 other EI studies of 114,534 employees, they calculated a .29 correlation with counterproductive job behavior. Because the standard deviations of these correlations were zero, they concluded that these are the true EI validities in any setting, job or situation. Comparisons of Extreme Groups The EI was given to members of extreme groups in two different studies of criminals. Scores of white collar criminals were compared with scores of white collar non-offenders, and juvenile delinquents' scores were compared to those of hourly job applicants. Together with four other tests, the EI was administered to 350 white collar offenders serving time in 19 federal prisons and to 330 successful employees with jobs similar to those formerly held by the felons (Collins and Schmidt, 1992). The crimes of the offenders included bank fraud, embezzlement, tax fraud, and racketeering committed while they were working in various organizations. Those in the employed group worked as loan officers, and as government and university supervisors and managers. The average age of members of each group was 49 years, and 29% of each had a graduate degree. EI test scores showed a strongly significant difference: The average score of the non-offenders was well-above-average at 59.67 with a standard deviation of 7.28, while the average score of the criminals was below- average at 46.83 with a standard deviation of 9.17. The EI also was given to 37 teenage boys residing in a secure facility for violent juvenile offenders. The group’s mean score on the Performance scale was 41.9, which is 1.4 standard deviations below the job applicant mean of 54.5. The substantially lower scores among both the adult and juvenile offenders provide some illumination of the low end of the EI construct space. CASE STUDY for EI The table below shows how often employees from a typical retail organization who passed an EI cutoff of 54 exhibited specific reliable and dependable behaviors, as rated by their supervisors, compared to those who failed the EI. These are the kinds of behaviors (selected from a pool of about 60, and measured in more than 77 validity studies) for which the most observable changes would be expected when the EI is used for selection. Employee Behavior Fail EI Pass EI _________________________________________________________________________________________ Keep working, even when other employees stand around talking. 40% 66% Check with supervisors, as policy requires, when in doubt about performing a task. 54% 80% Clean assigned areas, creating a more attractive work space. 54% 82% Forget to perform a routine task. 60% 36% Deliberately slow work pace and productivity. 40% 20% Let joking friends be a distraction and interruption to work. 18% 5% Return from breaks and meals within the allotted time. 21% 39% Take the initiative to find another task when finished with regular work. 37% 55% Use weak excuses to stay home from work. 26% 10% Follow rules much more consistently than other employees. 37% 66% Exhibit superior performance overall. 10% 19% Have perfect attendance. 20% 52% Need major and minor disciplinary actions. 84% 40% Be absent or tardy at least once during a three-month period. 80% 48% Table - Rating Form Behaviors of who passed EI compared to those who failed DIMENSIONS TO BE COVERED IN AN HONESTY/INTEGRITY TEST 1. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS- Using a broad-based measure of normal personality, a study by Murphy, K.R. & Lee, (1994), tested the hypothesis that the trait “conscientiousness” is the best single predictor of scores on two well-researched integrity tests. Data from 180 traditional and nontraditional college students provided clear support for this hypothesis, but also indicated that a number of traits other than conscientiousness were likely to be related to integrity test scores. Scores on all six of the primary scales, and 33 of the 45 homogeneous item clusters (HICs) of the Hogan Personality Inventory were related to scores on the PDI Employment Inventory and/or the Personnel Selection Inventory. Personality variables were better predictors of scores on the PDI Employment inventory, which is a veiled-purpose (also referred to as “personality based”) test, than of scores on the Personnel Selection Inventory, which measures honesty-related attitudes and includes items calling for direct admissions of misdeeds. 2. AGREEABLENESS- Study by Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2005), investigated the relations of the proposed sixth factor of personality, Honesty-Humility, with the dimensions of the classic English lexical Big Five and the closely related Five-Factor Model (FFM). Results showed that although Honesty-Humility was largely unrelated to markers of the Big Five factors, it was substantially correlated with the FFM Agreeableness domain. This relation was largely due to the Straightforwardness and Modesty facets of FFM Agreeableness, which were only weakly correlated with the Big Five version of Agreeableness. A realignment of FFM facets to produce separate Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness factors provided better prediction of personality variables that involve deceit without hostility, such as Social Adroitness and Self-Monitoring. Results indicate the importance of assessing Honesty-Humility as a separate factor. 3. OTHER DIMENSIONS – Michael Harris and Paul Sackett (1989) conducted a study and factor analyzed responses on 849 applications for positions as retail sales clerks. Four factors were obtained: 1) person’s temptations and thoughts about dishonest activities, such as being tempted to steal merchandise or money; 2) actual or expected dishonest activities by an individual, such as illegally taking company’s property; 3) person’s norms about what others do when it comes to dishonest activities, such as their expectations regarding how many people engage in criminal activity; 4) self- report questions related to the person’s impulsiveness and reliability. Another study by Michael Cunningham and Phillip Ash, (1989) found the following dimensions to be useful in integrity/honesty tests: 1) general tendency to oppose or avoid punishing and disciplining other people; 2) self indulgence and an unwillingness to punish either oneself or friends and family members in the event of misbehavior; 3) fantasies of dishonest behavior or speculation about performing dishonesty; 4) views as to the likelihood that others might behave dishonestly. Furthermore, evidence from factor analyses of other tests suggests that there is no one honesty factor. The tests overlap in the factors they measure. Most tests seem to tap at least some dimensions that are different from those in other tests. Accordingly, there could be some gain from using more than one honesty test, especially if separate scores are created for the various dimensions. Also, there may be reason to shop around for a test that contains dimensions that best fit the needs of a particular company. If the results of factor analyses are available for a test, that facilitates this process. REFERENCES Tong, Y. K., & Arvey, R. D. (2012). Investigating the Cross‐cultural Applicability of the Personnel Reaction Blank Using American and Singaporean Respondent Groups. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(3), 376-382. Blonigen, D. M., Patrick, C. J., Gasperi, M., Steffen, B., Ones, D. S., Arvey, R. D., ... & do Nascimento, E. (2011). Delineating the construct network of the Personnel Reaction Blank: associations with externalizing tendencies and normal personality. Psychological assessment, 23(1), 18. Paajanen, G. E., Hansen, T. L., & McLellan, R. A. (1999). Employment Inventory Research. Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International. Miner, J. B., & Capps, M. H. (1996). How honesty testing works. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Waiting for the light - poem
With darkness around me, I am lying on the ground Damp under my body, with tears that leaked without sound Unaware of anything, unseeing of all I wait in the darkness, for my own reichenbach fall The pain has ebbed long ago, leaving only scars behind That aren’t even physical, but exists in my mind And that is where it doesn’t stop, The racing thoughts everywhere, Leaving behind a confused mind, utterly unaware. I don’t wait for any light; I don’t wait for any helping hand I wait for only the ocean tide to sweep me away like sand. And leave me somewhere, deep within itself, Where even thoughts leave my presence And I can finally know my true essence. Nirvana, the guy in the orange drab called it, The thoughtless space where nothing exists with everything. That is what I strive for, lying on the damp ground With tears leaking from my eyes, and the pain being gone I want to sway with the wind as the nightingale’s song I wish complete silence for forever long. And then maybe I promise, to rise again from the ocean To stop long enough for you to hear my tune To dance with you under the shine of the moon I may then promise to let you near me, To bear my soul, my heart for your soul only But until I reach to the destination I have planned I am afraid my plane will fly unmanned. It will drift on the ocean waves shifting course from course, It will sway with the wind, reaching new mountains and shores. My journey may not be visible to your eyes, My destination will not exist on your maps It is and will remain within me, My world away from your worldly traps. Lying on the damp ground, I am not waiting for any light, or any helping hand I am waiting for the ocean tide to sweep me away like sand I am waiting for the wind to sway me before long So I can ride with it as the nightingale’s song.