Haunting Exams!

Placeholder ImageA refreshing Sunday morning caused me to call one of my friends to plan a day out in the city outskirts. I expected to hear his excited and eager consent but instead heard his anxious voice refusing to go out owing to a particular reason. As I hung up my call, I pondered over the “reasonable reason” that my friend had said and suddenly, in spite of myself, my face split up with a wry smile. My friend was preparing for a bank entry exam.

Exam…The word “exam” needs no introduction. You would whole heartedly agree me if I say that the very idea of giving an exam (oral or written) has the capacity to send shivers down the spine of any student, young or adult! If we contemplate carefully, exams have become the inevitable and integral part of our lives. The saying ‘Life is an exam!’ befits each one of us.

Education, in the present era, demands foremost priority. Be it any arena: Science, Arts, Commerce or any professional/vocational course, diplomas, or even when applying a job, the element of exam is ubiquitous and inescapable factor. And, let’s face it, to secure a respectable position or degree in any arena, the battle of Exam is indispensable.

Let us nostalgically recall our wonderful school and college days. The fantastical journey from our first day at school to the last day in college was full to brim with the notorious exams: the greatest common foe that we all had to fight! You won’t be surprised if students make confession that they would rather fight a real ghost than facing an Exam ghost! You ask any student the synonyms of exam and the reply would definitely be: tension, anticipation, apprehension and trepidation! Oh, yes, the sleepless nights, hours of strenuous studies, devouring the mountainous pile-up of books are no less than haunting nightmares!

And, then comes the most feared day: Exam Day! Despite the fact that this day is the one of most crucial days of our lives, where we have to prove our mettle, any student would happily want to strike off this “day” from the calendar! (And also erase it from the dictionary!). This day jolts the student awake from his nightmarish sleep even before the cock sings a “cock-a-doodle-doo”, and then begins the round of revisions, flipping through important notes, mugging up sophisticated formulas (remember mathematics & chemistry!) and going through past exam papers! And believe me, on this day, surprisingly and inexplicably, time flies away at a furious speed as compared to other days! And then, comes the blessings and best wishes from parents, siblings and friends, and somehow, (even if the student doesn’t want to!), he or she manages to arrive at the examination centre.

The exam centre on the exam day is a hubbub of activities. The excited murmurs, noise of the flipping pages, shouting teachers, discussing students, scrapping of the benches against the desks create an impressive ambience suggestive of a football match. With the last minute rush, the students finally enter the exam hall, take their allotted seats and wait. The bell rings finally like a conch shell of war, a deafening silence sets in as teachers distribute the papers, and all the students pray in earnest to the Almighty for an easy paper!

The examination hall, in my opinion, is the only place on earth where human brain is in a state of intense concentration and undivided focus. Now if you look carefully at an exam hall where an exam is going on from an outsider’s or let’s say teacher’s perspective, you would appreciate and differentiate between particular categories of students giving the exams.

The first category: The Confident & Prepared – these students, as we all know, are brilliant performers, all well equipped with the cavalry of talent and tact. They never leave any question unturned! They sit with their heads bowed down upon paper and penning down the answer sheets with impeccable calligraphy without any pause. They almost always become the top rankers. That’s why they are always eyed with envy by the Second Category which is –

Unconfident & Prepared – Well, one can say that their preparation is always in shoulder to shoulder with the first category but the lack of confidence is the only shadow factor. Their body language speaks openly of their category – shaking their legs, scratching their heads, often fumbling with pen, not-so-good handwriting, and sometimes not finishing the question paper in time. Although, they also make themselves to the top positions yet, they are often disturbed in the exam hall by the third category which is:

Confident & Unprepared: (oh I know you are frowning!) another name of this category would be the trouble makers often chased and scolded by the teachers. Mind you, their confidence and coolness would bag them the ‘Best Guts Prize’. You would often see them throwing covert glances here and there with impish smile on their faces, winking at their pals, chewing out gums, looking out for chances to cheat, often warned by the teachers and trying to fill up as many answer sheets as possible!

Finally, the fourth category needs no mentioning (Unconfident & Unprepared!). Well, they often scream as if the exam hall is a nightmare (and even faint sometimes), and always almost leave the examination hall much before the exam ends!

Having said all these, a student (whatever category he or she may fall) should always remember that an “exam of hall” differs much from the “exam of life”. The latter tests the true mettle. Failure is never a deterrent factor but rather a roadmap to success. Persist until you succeed! Well, as of now, the bell rings, and the exam finally ends!

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