Students are haunted, day and night, by approaching examinations. They deem exams as burdensome, in fact, they hate it, yet most feel dejected from undesired results. I want to give a brief note on examination, which will consequently create a sanguine perception about it and will offer a sense of encouragement to students for its preparation and aftermath.
Introduction – Nature and Definition
An empty answer sheet is on the writing desk. All the students are busy writing, except one. The idle student is worried, anxious, nervous and whatnot. He starts to gaze hither and thither to cheat, as nothing pops up in his mind to fill the paper with, but all in vain. Finally, the bell rings and a thunder hit him in the heart. Invigilator comes and snatches the paper from all. Eventually, the student fails miserably in his examinations.
Wikipedia, referring to Merriam-Webster, defines examination as a test intended to measure the test takers’ knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics. Please note that this article mainly focuses on the examination system of SSC (Secondary School Certificate) and HSC (High School Certificate). Although it corresponds to the mentioned examination systems, pupils from primary grades or graduates of universities can also skim for desired tips.
Examinations have profound impacts on students, mentally and socially. It is a system in vogue which allows the academic management to evaluate the pupil’s capacity and purpose. Examinations give an opportunity to students to revise their past syllabus; such revision turns out to be handy in future at multiple occasions of life. Moreover, exams create a competition among peers, through which, each competitor works hard to gain enhanced knowledge and to improve his/her skills, efficiently. However, it is noteworthy that such benefits are realized by self-responsible learners, who study by heart, not through cramming. Also, good results by cheating during exams do not fulfill the real purpose of any evaluation exercise.
Academic Systems – Old and Modern
The prior academic systems were erected on the concept of social status, which supports the hierarchy structure of race, color, lineage, etc. Later on, intellectuals, as always, wishing to make progress, introduced a new academic system as the former one was becoming a hindrance to the development of human race. The latter system, also modern academic system, believes in marks and merits of the learner; rather than his/her status in society. Although the current system sounds better; nevertheless, there is a major disorder in it. Choosing pupils only on the basis of high marks means merely the endorsement of those who have previously achieved success, either by themselves or with the support of surroundings. But what about those who are creative and insightful in nature but need a helping hand/counseling to open their true color, that is to say, they are not properly supported. Ultimately, they are left behind and empty-handed. As they say, it should be both, taking in dregs as well as cream and giving away the finest material, rather than just taking in cream and leaving the others.
Good Domesticity and Company
On an occasion, I was attending a seminar of a Turkish Professor; he gave a decent example to elucidate the role of environment in shaping the character of a student. He claimed, pointing to a drinking glass, that let it be the persona of surroundings and water, itself, be the initial character of the student. Interestingly, once the water is poured into the glass, the former, without a loss in moment, takes the shape of the latter! Similarly, students/children adopt the behavior of the surroundings; which is often encircled by their teachers, parents, and other academic management. Therefore, becoming an excellent student is not only a cent percent struggle of the student himself, but environs influence the student as well, directly or indirectly. If domesticity and company play a dominant part in affecting a children’s personality, then preparation of examination is indeed a tiny aspect with respect to the two terms.
In order to get satisfactory marks in examinations, one should follow a few important learning strategies throughout the year. An effective approach starts from preparation, goal-setting, attention, participation, notes-development and ends at thorough revision.
- Preparation: The new academic year is on track, advanced course outline/syllabus has been specified and knowledge-seekers have been promoted to the next rank. This exciting situation is the best moment to get prepared for the whole year and final exams to come in the future course of time.
- Goal-setting: With firm preparation, an admirable goal should be set in the beginning, which the student can pursue, in the coming panorama of time as days, weeks and months.
- Attention: It plays an important role in preparation for examinations. Seriousness is required from knowledge-seekers in all cases; lectures, assignments, and assessments for vigorous learning.
- Participation: During the teaching-learning process, there might crop up some complex concepts which the learners are still obscure of; to eliminate such misconceptions, an excellent student should put forward questions and suggest ideas during lectures.
- Notes-development: It is a supportive tool for an excellent student to beat his/her fellow students during their pursuit of achieving high grades. Notes help in the imminent assignments and ultimately, in the final question paper.
- Revision: An article, Excellent Student, gives a comprehensive note on the modes of revision: “Human mind utilizes multiple techniques of revision such as loud revision, bird eye view or cursory revision, concise writing, listing of matter, teaching others, and thorough notes-making. Generally, a verbal revision is comparatively easy but less effective or quickly vanishing from memory, on the other hand, written revision is relatively cumbersome but more effective and lasting. It is noteworthy that the most effective way of revision is teaching of fellow students.”
Even during preparation of exams, physical fitness and health should be taken into consideration by students. It’s a completely wrong approach to burn the midnight oil for mere revision. It is notable that illnesses inevitably become a huge loss of time. Besides, there is no enviable achievement with broken health.
A new learning methodology nowadays is mind-mapping. As the name suggests, it is a mental phenomenon. Wikipedia defines a mind map as a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept; major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those. Such revision is usually long-lasting and fun!
The excellent student has rigorously revised his syllabus. Exam date is near and he is all geared up; but how can the exam-taker attempt all the exercises and fill the answer sheet, properly? We produce here a brief note on attempting a question paper, wisely.
The author of article, Excellent Student, mentions that during an exam, an excellent student first reads the complete question paper and answers only the best-known answers; afterward, he/she re-examines the question sheet and responds the remaining averagely known answers. In the same way, s/he revisits, again and again, until all the question are answered properly.
Managing time is essential during examinations as well. All academic systems give limited time during assessments. Finalizing the answer sheet within the given time is a genuine concern for almost every student. To overcome this challenge, time management tools, e.g. wristwatches, can be used aptly during solving exercises. Furthermore, a fast handwriting is required during lengthy tests, with restricted time.
Wisdom and Prayer – Supplementary Tools for Examinations
Wisdom and knowledge are considered twin sisters. Wisdom is the quality of a person by virtue of which the individual is able to make right judgments at proper time. On the other hand, knowledge is data or information on any targeted subject. Knowledge enhances wisdom and vice versa. During examinations, knowledge is the main requirement of a student, however, wisdom supports knowledge, and so, we may conclude that wisdom helps in examinations. Moreover, a few tricky and speculative questions seldom appear in assessments, to puzzle the students. Such questions can be answered properly with wise decisions and knowledge, collectively.
Last but not least, prayer, a hotline to God, gives satisfaction during the time of pressure and tension. To pray after preparation means a confident beginning/ending of an exam.
Let us see what would have happened if the same student had followed the above-given approach:
“Being confident, easy and positive, the student continues filling the answer sheet with the finest material. At last, the bell rings, however, the penman is already free. He, with a pleasant smile on his face, returns the paper. Ultimately, the student appears top among his peers in examinations.”