We in Nepal have given more importance to the SLC examination than is actually necessary. The SLC has become almost the first indicator of education. Obviously, a huge fear and anxiety is associated with the SLC. Because of our social schooling, we have a propensity to judge a student on the basis of the grades he or she secures in the examination but not on the basis of his or her competency.
In the process of moving up from grade one to grade 10, one has likely accumulated lots of experience of appearing in examinations. Students are usually frightened, intimidated and even terrorised by the words like ‘terminal examinations’ and ‘final examinations’ in one way or the other. There is tough and sometimes cut-throat competition at present in the education sector. Different schools and students prepare for the SLC differently. The expectations of parents, the student’s own ambition and norms of the society open up different paths of progress, but at the same time, that may create huge tension and contradictions. Psychologically, exam-phobia is such a problem that affects the tender mind of the youth both physically and mentally.
Students who have set goals to do well in the SLC work hard year-long. But examination time brings about the feelings of fear, tension, anxiety and uncertainty. Students often lose their appetite and suffer from other problems like insomnia, headache, fatigue and fever. Anxiety actually makes the filter that is inside our brain, in between the receiving and production areas, more active in blocking the channels between star shaped cells and pyramid shaped cells. As a result, the students’ memory power may become even weaker.
Many students become the victim of depression when they do not score high marks in the examination in spite of their hard work. Our social structure and schooling is such that one is considered to be an intelligent or a dull student on the basis of the marks one obtains in examinations. This mounts a huge pressure on students. Examinations thus become a factor of intense fear for the students and not a means to evaluate what they’ve learnt.
To combat SLC phobia, first of all, it is essential to control the fear of examinations. No external factor can help the students in this respect. How can one control this fear? The best way to do it is through preparation. If one is well prepared and confident, then worries and anxiety will take up less room in the mind. A balanced and nutritious diet is also really important. An empty stomach only fuels fear and anxiety. Food rich in iron and protein (amala, chana- gram, raharko daal, dry fruits, including almonds) should be included in the diet as they are considered ‘brain foods’. A glass of cold water after every hour of study can act as a quick refreshing agent. Recently, it has been proved scientifically that water can be regarded as brain food too.
Self confidence is the main key to success in life. That also goes for examinations. Now the question arises: how can one build up self confidence? As far as I am concerned, the best and the only way to gain self-confidence is to study the curriculum deeply and fully by strictly following a time table set by the students themselves. Relying on guess papers or guide books available in the market is perhaps one of the worst ways to prepare for the SLC. A throrough understanding of the entire curriculum will go much further in giving students the confidence boost they need. Otherwise, they will forever be worrying about whether the questions in the guess paper will appear in the actual examination or not.
Once one actually makes it to the exam hall how then do you solve the problems and answer the questions? This is a million dollar question. Prior to writing answers students should properly understand the questions first. Reading all the questions with a cool mind (perhaps take several long breaths from the nose) is very important so you know what it is exactly you are being asked to. Another really important thing is always to start with questions that are easy or which the student feels comfortable answering. Trying to tackle the hard ones first means that there might not be enough time at the end to answer the easy ones or that all the mental energy is already spent trying to answer the long and hard questions first.
The SLC is not an iron gate. It is simply an exam and the sooner students can internalise this, the better they are likely to perform in it.
An article by Hem Rai. Rai is associated with the Career Building International Academy you can contact him at [email protected]