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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Edition 14: Who is Afraid of Exams

The annual board examinations for class 10 and 12 are nothing new to us. However, as the examination took off this year, they were curiously watched by all concerned. The curiosity of people far exceeded the anxiety of the students. Reason behind this curiosity was the recent spate of suicides of students which was an unprecedented incident for the state of Maharashtra.
As expected, the government and authorities took notice of the trend perhaps taking note of the air of anxiety in the minds of the students. In a bid to reduce exam pressure and bring parity in the evaluation system, the state government has initiated several schemes for students appearing for this year’s SSC board exams. Even the Board of Secondary School Examination also started some schemes to assure the students.
These schemes include starting a helpline, making available the counselling facility and allowing more time to autistic students. These steps undoubtedly marked a good beginning in the direction of encouraging the students. Now, the students and their family have to chip in with their share for
Those students are rare who are not nervous or afraid before the examinations. Even a moderate nervousness is often an advantage if you are to perform at your best.However, there is a thin line between nervousness and anxiety which can cause a lot of damage to the performance in examinations.
Nervousness And Anxiety
Some students experience more burdensome anxiety problems regarding their examinations. It is either when studying for the examination or at the time of writing their paper itself. If the problems are recurring, or if you fail or opt out of an examination several times, the problems can turn into a phobia, forcing you to fear of attending examinations.
Problems with preparation
When preparing for an examination there is possibility that you find it difficult to structure your reading properly, prioritise the reading material, or separate reading time and leisure time. It is probably because of fear or worry. It can be possible that you push yourself too hard and study too much each day.
Problems during the examination
Some students found that they can't remember the material, despite the fact that they have prepared well for the examination. This is possibly out of stress and fear. This can happen during your preparation, or your memory may fail when you have sat down in front of the examiner and external examiner.
Physical symptoms of anxiety
For some students it is enough just to think of the word examination to react with symptoms of anxiety: Rapid heartbeat, outbursts of perspiration, and stomach aches. The physical inconveniences may be so marked that you contemplate all kinds of solutions with the purpose of escaping the discomfort. For instance, by skipping or considering to postpone the examination, considering to drop out, etc.
Reasons of Fear of examinations
Reasons behind the fear of examination can be attributed to many things and the outcome of that fear can also be seen in many ways.
Novelty : Suppose you are new at an institute. As a new student at a higher educational institution, it may be hard to accept lower grades than you have been used to. You might be habituated to be ranked as one of the best and now you are one of the many skilled. This may be experienced as a personal, and not academic, defeat.
Academic :Perhaps your fear of examinations is about having made the wrong choice of study programme, or lack of motivation to do the necessary effort – or simply lack of abilities for some reason. You may fear an examination with good cause, because you are not properly prepared for it.
Inappropriate techniques : If your motivation is high, you may not have learnt to pick up on the material yet because of inappropriate study structuring and reading techniques.
Perfectionism : Many students who fear examinations suffer from perfectionism, and thus often also of performance anxiety. They set extremely high demands for themselves in all matters, and thereby the risk of failure becomes greater, which in turn increases their anxiety. Here it is not enough to look at the examination separately. You must ­­consider the way you look at yourself and others.
Personal problems: If you for a period up until the examination have had any personal problems, like a tragedy in the family or financial problems, it will naturally affect your preparation and examination. It is therefore to be assumed that your fear of examination is not about your incapacity, but the fact that you have not had the necessary inner calm that examination requires.
The Way Out From Tension
In a bid to reduce exam pressure and bring parity in the evaluation system, the state government has initiated several schemes for students appearing for this year’s SSC board exams.
The state government recently announced to implement the best-of-five policy from this academic year. Students appearing for the SSC board exams will benefit from the scheme as their best five scores will be considered for admission to junior colleges. This means, only the best five scores out of the six subjects will be calculated for a student’s overall percentage.
According to Balasaheb Thorat, education minister for school education, this will relieve students of exam-related pressure. “Other boards already have a similar system in place; this scheme will help our board students in boosting their final percentage,” he said.
To ensure that students don’t lose a whole year, the state government had last year recommended the implementation of the allowed to keep term (ATKT) scheme. However, few benefited from it as the court order approving the process came in October in 2009.
The scheme allows students who have failed in one or two subjects to take admission in junior colleges. They will, however, need to pass the exam in October or their provisional admission will be cancelled.
Another scheme pertains to that of lower mathematics. The idea was mooted in 2006 by the then school education minister Vasant Purke. The state board introduced lower mathematics in Std IX in 2008 and in Std X the following year.
In 2008, the state board started the combined passing method for all languages. Students have to score a total of 105 marks in all three languages, with a minimum of 25 marks in each language.
With oral exams of 20 marks in every subject, a student need not worry about scoring a minimum of 25 marks in any language.

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