Scholar-Journalist

Exams are like festivals, let us celebrate them

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By Manya Bhutani

Living in a country like India, we all are proud of our culture, traditions, and customs at every festival as it indeed has made a mark globally. Festivals here are celebrated with ultimate zeal and zest in everybody’s heart. They are a chance for everyone in the country to work, connect for a cause, and stand united forgetting all differences. They let the feeling of brotherhood, faith, love, respect, and duty pervade through the souls of people. They are meant to share special moments and emotions in our lives with our loved ones and play a relevant role to add structure to our social lives.

In India, apart from the primary festivals that embellish our lives and broaden our cultural horizons, there exists another so-called season that over the years has become an integral part of the lives of students, teachers, and parents. Teachers and parents take it as a matter of great concern, as their children reach higher grades. Moreover, at the advanced levels, it is seen as the component that shapes the destiny of students. “The better one performs, the brighter is the chance to succeed, and one who fails, god knows what difficulties life would have in store for him”, is perceived as the educational mantra. This one thing, just a simple four-letter word can make children cry their eyes out, make them have sleepless nights, panic strokes, and worsen pre-existing mental health conditions. Yes, it is exams! In my opinion, every child has an intense mutual feeling of hatred for them. They happen twice a year but are terrible enough to wreak havoc.

It is important that we normalise exams and instead of looking at them as a criterion of judgment that eventually feels like a burden, see them as a set of questions to be done in a stipulated time without any help. The specialty of exam season is that it brings numerous students together in educational institutes, having regular study sessions in groups, doubt clearing classes, and concrete base formation.

It is the period where they communicate with each other, they may belong to different institutes or have varying calibre but sit together under the same roof to prepare for exams. They help each other out while studying, give each other bits of advice and share the same study material. It feels more or less like a massive community of students coming together preparing for a task in a healthy and productive environment. Their very purpose is to act as a medium to assess one’s progress in the subjects they are studying. One should track the improvement from the previous exams and strategise accordingly for the forthcoming ones. Our competitor is no one but our old selves. 

Nowadays, competition is getting tougher and the doorway into the best of the academic institutes is not straightforward. It requires a combination of hard work, dedication, and most importantly, relentless efforts. It makes it mandatory for students to perform their best in exams. Especially in a country like ours, exams hold a crucial position. The way we have started perceiving exams completely defeats their purpose.  

Exams feel more like a race and we witness children having cut-throat competition among themselves. To score better one needs to memorise numerous concepts and information. There is always an element of uncertainty in exams, as to what topics need to be aced to secure more marks, we often feel unprepared and underconfident, with five to six fat books whose text needs to be mugged up religiously one tends to find it abstruse. And last but not least is the pressure students have on the mere thought of sharing their marks with their loved ones, friends, and teachers. Anonymous distinct relatives too are inquisitive to know how well we have scored! 

The core reason behind the circumstances students usually find themselves in is them being underprepared for exams. Especially the academic session of 2020-21 has made it to history as one of those years that has disrupted the smooth learning process for children. Students must make themselves clear on concepts and information of their subjects so that appearing for exams does not give them distress. This demands sincere efforts and a regular study pattern right from day one. They could always start by figuring out and selecting the time slot in which their mind is the freshest and could perform to the best of its capability. Adapting a study method that suits us the best will enable us to produce high-yielding results in less time. To facilitate the process of encoding, storage, and retrieval of information from the textbooks to our mind it is advantageous to learn things by repetition, as information retained through cramming does not last long and the efforts we put into it are likely to go futile. When exams are nearer, students must come up with a revision plan that is achievable as per their calibre and focusing capability. 

When it comes to celebrating festivals, we ensure prior planning for them. Whether it is collecting gifts, preparing sweets, or decorating our homes, every task is completed diligently, putting our heart and soul in it. Similarly, preparation beforehand could prove to be fruitful. For appreciable results, disciplined and well-organised study sessions must be a part of our schedule. By not procrastinating, and with frequent learning, there won’t be any scope for a sliver of panic during exam season. 

Always relaxing and not studying is a misdeed. However, all study and no relaxation is equally atrocious. Having a good rest and investing time in self-introspection is a must for times like these. Having studied prior and being well-prepared will allow us to relax without repenting. After a good long study session, watching a short film, listening to music, reading a good book, take a nap to rejuvenate for the day ahead, move our muscles a bit, or even go for a stroll with our friends. Taking breaks to refresh our heads can help us make the most of our study sessions. It lets the brain grasp more and also enhances concentration.

In life every day is an exam, like every day, we strive to be a better version of ourselves from the previous day. Instead of shaping a child’s future based on the marks he secures, it is the need of the hour that we look at exams as a test of character, how one handles pressure, how one manages their time, how one makes their decisions. If a child does not have the liberty to make the decisions on his course of action, his score may be the best but eventually, he has failed because he is living in servitude. Festivals have the power to bring out the best in us and so would exams if one endeavors for them. The choice is ours, but the time is now.

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