It's that time of the year again when students across Indian schools make their way to exam centres for a test of their academic aptitude. Group studies, extra-classes, tuitions and the pressure of getting accepted in reputed universities are common to most students' daily routine as parents and teachers look to bring out the best in students.
Burning the midnight oil, Kunal Geriya, a Grade 12 student at the Indian High School in Dubai shared his thoughts on writing the board exam.
"It's not hard to write an exam but there is a lot of anxiety and nervousness. I usually end up sleeping late and getting up early," explains Kunal. With three hours to answer the questions, each student has his own way of completing the paper. Some choose to answer questions in reverse while others start answering in the order presented.
"It is all about completing the paper on time. There are different sections and I keep track of how much time I take to complete each section," adds Kunal.
Large portions and excessive pressure to perform well have led the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to drive reforms in the examination system. Help and counselling have also been made available to students taking the board exams as teachers regularly advise them on ways to overcome stress.
Jean Addelene, vice-principal at Leaders Private School in Sharjah, is one of the four CBSE appointed counsellors helping students in the UAE overcome exam stress. She says most students have an 'exam fear' which does not allow them to sleep well.
"Exam fear at the last minute is the main reason for sleep deprivation. Students generally have a fear for science-based examinations and they find difficulty in answering questions. Also, some students don't know how to keep their answer to the point," said Jean. She also highlighted the role of parents during the exam season as she pointed at cases where students have been left on their own free will.
"There are some students who are not good in studies. In such cases, it is important for parents to get involved, support their children, monitor them and help them in their studies. Parents should also check with teachers in the school to know about their child's progress in weaker subjects," added Jean. For parents, the exam season usually means taking off the TV at home and keeping kids away from distractions.
Harsha Pankaj Kumar, a mother of a grade 10 student says, "At home, we try to keep the distractions at a minimum level. We disconnected our TV package six months before exams and the focus has been on helping the child secure good grades." Harsha ensures a good daily routine for her son who studies at the Emirates National School, as she wakes up early too.
"We have received a lot of advice from the school and they guide parents in the right direction to help reduce the exam pressure. Once the exams are over, the child can go back to doing what he wants," adds Harsha.