The theoretical knowledge amassed through books is like a rudder and a compass but steering the ship requires practice. In the words of a famous actor Will Smith who considered himself to be just ‘average talent’, his obsessiveness for practice and preparation helped him climb the rungs / ladder of success. The vast potential and skills of the engineers have to be tapped to deal with force and materials of nature. Hence the hands – on method of instructional laboratories is an essential and integral of engineering education. Only those students who acquire sufficient professional/ practical skills can do well in the innovative competitive, global market place.
Practical’s stimulate interest in the subject, improve the understanding of the concepts, familiarize the students with tools, equipments, machines and techniques and help them score high/ full marks. Concrete theoretical knowledge of the principle and process of the experiment and the technical explanation of the same ensures that half the job is done well. The other half lies in the meticulous performance of the practical and expressing the result as per the question asked.
The students will have to communicate what, why and how they did a practical in a record. The principle of the experiment has to be written using appropriate technical words followed by the step wise procedure in past tense difficulties faced and the result obtained. Headings and subheadings in the standard format makes it easier to locate the desired information.
Viva – Voce, an important mode of assessing the student’s knowledge and understanding, is an opportunity for the student to reassure the examiners about his competency in the practical’s performed. During the Viva the students might be questioned about the principle, significance of the experiment, the role of components and how their malfunction might adversely affect the outcome.
Those aiming to secure good marks have to bear in mind that proper dress code must be followed while entering the lab. They need to understand the principle and significance of the practical and be thorough with the theoretical part of it. Knowing the proper usage of the equipment will also help greatly. Of course as it is said “practice makes a man perfect.”