Examinophobia: What parents, teachers and students should know

Children shouldn't be allowed to believe they are bearing a heavy burden of a vast syllabus and that they don't have enough time to complete it.

No matter what initiatives do the government, experts or educationists take to ease the burden off children, the vicious cycle of exam-result-stress keep repeating on end. While parents toe the same line with unlimited anxiety for their wards' scores the system remain unchanged leaving children mentally stressed. Being excessively exposed to such a situation can even lead to a gamut of psychological problems among children. This will ultimately downgrade their calibre and aptitude. Then what could be the solution when there is a huge portion of the syllabus to be covered and the heat of the exam is felt closely.

Large portion of syllabus to be covered and the fear of exam

First of all, it is not true that students have more portions in their syllabus than they are able to cover. It's the parents and teachers who create such a fear psychosis among children. Schools are now following a new system whereby students are allotted a 'cooling off' period of fifteen minutes in the examination hall just before the exam to ease themselves. I disapprove of this as this instils in children an impression that exams are something draconian and fearsome. We create the impression that children bear the huge burden of studies.

On the contrary, we should give them the impression that study is not a burden and and that they should be enjoying it, whether it's exam or studies. The students should be taught that exam is also a part of studies and that studies and exams are two sides of the same coin. If they get less marks in an exam, they shouldn't be scolded. Instead, the reasons for the low score should be amiably analysed and they should be helped to find solutions to overcome the hurdles and come out in flying colours in the next exam.

When students complain of heavy syllabus

The curricular burden is not heavy. It's very simple. There is nothing wrong if students have more to study. The portions they have is nothing more than an average student can bear. Only that they need to make it a bit faster. What needs to be conveyed to the students is that studying is not a heavy task and that the portions of the syllabi for any class are only within the limits of an average student's capacity. They can be completed by going at a moderate pace. Only that students need to concentrate a bit more on the studies. The fundamental error that we commit is that we allow children to believe they are bearing a heavy burden of a vast syllabus and that they don't have enough time to complete it. We need to first help children shed this misconception and understand the truth that they can easily complete the portions if they study with a focus. What I believe is that they have more than enough time to complete the portions.

The role teachers

In many schools, especially government and aided ones, teachers don't follow the syllabi early on. Thus the portions to be covered remain pending and accumulate to a vast backlog by the time exam is round the corner. This could could be troublesome for both teachers and student. If teachers begin their work from the beginning itself and finish the portions on time, children would find studies and exam easy.

Liberal valuation and grace marks hamper students

I'm of the view that students shouldn't be given grace marks. They should be scoring only for what they have studied. Only then would the students who study and don't can be identified. For example, there is a provision of a maximum 20 marks out 100 for internal assessment in higher classes and the instruction is to ensure at least 15 marks for the internal assessment to all students. When students think they would get the maximum of 20 marks even if they try hard and are sure about getting 15 marks effortlessly, they tend to slack in studies. If they get 18 marks in internal assessment they need only 12 marks more to pass the exam. This doesn't augur well for the students as this sort of liberal evaluation will pull down the standard of education.

Some steps to make exams easier

We should help children learn how to take on exams. For instance, students who study maths should practice it by doing the sums rather than reading notes or textbooks. They should draw illustrations on their own. They can also learn by noting down the points. They can make mnemonics to memorise points faster. Children should be trained to overcome fear and anxiety in exam hall so that don't forget matters they had learned well. Children also should practice writing answers in a time-bound manner using model question papers. It is not students who have more knowledge who score high, but students who have the skill to perform well in the exam. So, along with studies children should be trained to gain the acumen to deal with exam and score high. Above all, children should be made to understand that learning is an enjoyable exercise.