Examinations are part and parcel of everyone’s academic life, and scoring well holds equal importance as well. But what should the cost of “good scores” be? Should it come at the cost of all the fun that we have during our academic life?
A kid, right after his admission into a school, has to sit in the exams that occur several times a year. However, the modes of examinations are quite different initially. Little kids have to answer questions verbally. As we grow up, exams become quite a regular affair. We adapt quickly and learn how to use a pencil and eraser. The introduction of this new writing tool brings yet another hurdle: we have to learn how to write clearly and legibly.
Cursive and rhymes are carried into our tiny syllabus to hone our writing as well as reading ability. As we progress to higher classes, the introduction of subjects continues inevitably.
Subjects like history, civics, social studies, etc. provide us with a broader perspective of society. We learn to do basic mathematics and develop a scientific mindset through the subject of science.
Moral science and health education imbibe within us a sense of moral values and hygiene, respectively. We start learning new languages like English, Hindi, etc., apart from our mother tongues.
We progress to higher classes, learning and exploring things happening around us. Finishing primary and middle school education leads us to the high school, where we come face to face with new challenges. Puberty kicks in right at this time and the development of the brain starts in full swing. Nothing stops us from learning, be it a complex theorem of mathematics or a great question of social studies.
Stepping into the final class of secondary education, however, makes every student nervous. Teachers, relatives, and parents — each one of them start to put their expectations on the shoulders of teenagers. All of a sudden the fun-loving teenager is bombarded with tests and assignments from every direction.
Clearing one exam after another, they prepare for the ultimate test of school life: the Board Exams.
Right after appearing in the pre-final examination students start the preparation even more seriously, while being somewhat nervous thinking about the results, after which, they, as everyone has told them, will be able to relax for their whole life. “Board’s ke baad toh aish hi aish hain“.
The exam goes well for some while others remain unsatisfied with their performance. But realising that the exam has finished provides a sense of momentary relief to everyone. Some spend this time on holidays while others start preparing for different examinations which will help them get into colleges of their choice.
As months pass by and the “result day” comes closer, every other soul nearby stays ready with a phone in their hand. One or two of them ask for the roll number. And mobile networks everywhere brace for impact as far-flung relatives start calling.
During these moments, the student, who probably has been unable to eat or drink properly for some days thinking about the college cut-offs, strives to find an isolated spot just for the sake of embracing all the hard work that they put in. At that moment, they expect nothing more than a fair evaluation of their work all through the year.
All of a sudden the clock strikes the exact moment when time seems to stop briefly. The judgment of the jury flashes on their cellphones display. All the hard work that the student put in the whole year, writing and practicing pages after pages, is somehow magically converted into a two-digit number by some people who never saw how hard they’ve worked.
Willingly or unwillingly they have to face the world yet again. While some students feel that the evaluation was fair, there are always some who think justice hasn’t been done to them.
In the meantime every phone in the house starts buzzing with well-wishers pouring in their blessings if the marks are good; otherwise, the tone of voice on the other side gives a hint that the student has not managed to cross “their” metric of “good marks”.
If one scores well in science and math, people start suggesting that they take the science stream while not caring, even once, to ask what they want to study next. The analogous situation is inevitable for those scoring well in subjects like English and social studies who are suggested to take the Arts stream.
There are very few people who know that a stream called Commerce exists as well. The one who is not interested in science but loves math is suggested to take this path by people. Almost everything written above applies to anyone who has appeared for the Board exams in a typical Indian household.
So, is it fair to judge the ability of a person based on their results in the Board exams? Certainly not. Having passed the Board exams 5 years ago with exactly all these things happening around, when I look back, I miss my school days and all the fun that we used to have — all those football matches in the break, those pen fights; more than the marks I obtained in any of the exams.
Everyone appearing for the Board exams is kept under an illusion that life is going to get easier after. However, it only gets tougher. We can get an idea about life from that age-old saying: “Life is not a bed of roses; it’s full of thorns.”
It will never be more comfortable than it was during your school days. Living and enjoying the little things that come our way should be the correct approach to living life because one day we may look back and realize that they were actually the big things.
Picking up a hobby like writing blogs, playing the guitar, learning to code, etc. will prove to be great stress busters during times of distress in later parts of life. Appearing in exams and trying your level best to score well is undoubtedly a must in one’s life. It will surely help us secure a seat in the right college. However, the results are not at all indicative of our true capabilities.
Everyone should remember: marks don’t matter, but efforts do.