Were Exams Ever Fun?

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Sleepless nights, nervous pangs and escalating stress levels – Nisha JamVwal reminisces about the symptoms of ‘exam fever’ and offers a rather inspiring cure for this dreaded disease

“The love of glory, the fear of disgrace, the incentive to succeed, the desire to live in comfort and the instinct to humiliate others are often the cause of that courage so renowned among men.”
Francois La Rochefoucauld

Were exams ever fun? Do I look back nostalgically at burning the midnight oil and working towards D-day? Definitely not! I’m still not amused at the thought of gruelling exams – trying to gauge if I’ve got the plot or not. I would never want to relive that phase of black coffee and books, and I often ask myself if there are easier ways to gain education – something more hands-on and more enjoyable, perhaps? I sometimes feel I’d have absorbed more knowledge with the absence of the stress quotient that exams impose upon us. But there is no option that schools anduniversities have devised in place of the necessary evil.

The Tormented Sudents
I know some friends who went through exams debonair and cavalier, much to the unease of the competition (and won the gold medals too) but most of us lesser mortals still harbour nightmarish memories of the dreaded exams before, during and even after. The French say “The more things change, the more they remain the same!” Although systems, curricula, the scope of subjects change, as far as exams go, it’s only skimming the surface. Terror times they still are. The crowd heads towards the hallowed portals of institutes and there are impossible cut-off marks for engineering, the IITs, medical colleges, etc. There are whispered immensities of ‘capitation’ fees involved. The uncertainties a future outside – these make it seem to be a do or die thing. But is this what education was meant to be?
Indeed life is competitive and we grow up with paranoia and ‘performance stress’ but I’m sure if we looked at the bigger picture we’d be less consumed by fear. The fallout of that would be we’d actually perform better and more creatively in our exams. The bright side is that generation next is confident and adventurous. Even those with professional backgrounds think ‘entrepreneur’, big or small, and often out of the box. Options are not limited to ‘doctor-engineer-government services’ alone. Today the world is our oyster – starting a chain of hamburger kiosks and making a successful management case study of it. However education is still the best equipment for life, so it’s better to give it your best shot; this is an age of opportunities.

Education That Inspires
Little tips like study time-tables, study groups, etc make it more interesting and interactive. Field trips and actual situations where your knowledge is applied, meditation to help concentration, physical exercise at regular intervals to ensure better memory and less fatigue, mock tests to be better prepared and so on – these are some tricks and tips I offer to you to score and conquer the world! The funda is to know what you want in life. An education can certainly provide you with a living, but earning a living need not be the driving force for education. One could study to be well educated, informed, equipped with knowledge and then make a career foray into photography, special effects, film making, dancing… the options in our age are myriad and kaleidoscopic.
It’s a fabulous optimistic age of options, opportunities, entrepreneurship and innovation. Before our eyes we see the world changing with brilliant inventions in nanotechnology, computers, stem cells, etc and if these be the goals and dreams of the young, we’d be so much more excited by the thought of education, knowledge and exams. We’d think of it all as a fabulous journey than a drudge which would send even our parents onto psychologists’ couches during this time.

Read more of Nisha’s point of view at http://nishajamvwal.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @nishjamvwal.

Volume 2 Issue 9

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