On Exam Phobia and the Confusion in Students’ Minds

On Exam Phobia and the Confusion in Students’ Minds
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SOBIA KHATOON

A few days ago, on my way to school, I noticed a group of students who were protesting against the decision of JK BOSE to conduct board exams for the students of the eleventh standard. I was stunned to find that they were the same boys who were, just a month ago, bunking their classes and protesting against the civilian killings in Kashmir. This elicited two feelings in me: a feeling of extreme anger and incense and the feeling or , more appropriately the desire to laugh out loud.
So, here we come across yet another phase of “heights of innocence”. Just a month back, the students of my own category were demanding the closure of their class work and now the same students are again on the roads, demanding the recommencing of their class work when it is not the right time for the same.
I am a student of eleventh standard studying at one of the most reputed schools of North Kashmir and like all other institutes, we too couldn’t complete each percent of our syllabus for an assorted set of reasons. A few days ago, students from all areas of the valley gathered outside the BOSE office; there would obviously had been students who were sitting at their respective homes and preparing themselves for the upcoming exams, for which we still have twenty days left. And, people might tag such students” belonging to reputed schools” but that’s really not the fact because those students are not the ones belonging from reputed institutions but they are the ones with “reputed mindsets”.
Unfortunately, we dwell in a society where the phobia of exams has overtaken every other dreadful phobia and looking at the scenario, I remember a teacher of mine who had said once,” jaise tum log exams se dartey ho, agar aise khuda se dartey toa jannat ke flowers nahi sunflowers hotey!”. I believe he was absolutely right because had there been no fear of exams, there would have been no suicide reports. Now, see what could be stranger and bizarre than a girl committing suicide just because her annual exams shall be conducted by JKBOSE and there shall be no home examinations unlike the past!!
That girl from Magam area of district Budgam committed suicide over something that was occurring in a month (I literally don’t understand that why do people consider a month as a very short period of time). Consider an analogy here: A woman completes her pregnancy in nine months and before the ninth month, the baby is not well developed yet. So, it obviously means a month makes a new life, so why the heck is it termed as short?
Maybe that girl wouldn’t be able to complete her syllabus in one month or maybe she wouldn’t get good grades or maybe she failed, but that’s not at all the fault of BOSE. I may add a caveat and a qualifier here: I am not hired by any BOSE official to write the this critique but this is what I personally feel and constitutes my considered opinion.
I know scoring well in these days is the most important thing for a student but just because a month is left for our exams, why would we waste those nine long months that our mothers bore for us? And, if we really want to attain good marks, this desire must develop in us from the day we start our academic years; not just a month before exams. Had I been studying from the day one of this year, I would had not all been struggling to complete more than 5 units a day. I would had been sleeping properly and more than that I would had been feeling relaxed just as we feel on the completion of exams.
We talk about improving education strategies if the valley and when the authorities finally start working in it, we protest and commit suicide. We students, are being termed as would be doctors, engineers and would be pilots but unfortunately we are shiver with the fear and dread of exams
We have been hearing ad nauseam that the “pen is mightier than the sword” but we always wonder how. And seriously when people like us who are demanding two contrasting things at the same time, it means we have developed the weirdest phobia in our minds.
This essay is not in the nature of an unwarranted critique but in the nature of a plea to develop some sobriety and proportion regarding academic calendars in Kashmir and get rid of our exam phobias. In lieu of this, I would like to make an appeal to all students (including me):next time choose only one thing to protest over and for and let the contrast be as it is.
I conclude by wishing all students good luck for the exams.
Hope we all do well!

— The author , a high school student, can be reached at: sobiakhatoon65@gmail.com