It’s that time of the year again! This little news item reminded me of my board exam days. My 12th grade – the one year in my entire life I would never want to go back to. The tuitions, the tests, the notes, the pressure…it’s really unfair that our entire life will be decided by the exams we write in this one year (actually, it doesn’t. We’re just made to feel like that). I’ve always felt this as the biggest drawback of our education system – too much depends on the outcome of your 12th grade board exams.
For me, the people who suffered most during my 12th grade were my family. No cable TV at home ‘coz I needed to study. Imagine my brother’s plight! The poor thing used to live on cartoons and one fine day, no Cartoon Network! But I don’t remember him complaining – I guess he understood the importance of ’12th board exam’ (it was like this really ominous sounding word you know). My parents were also hit hard – Dad had to drop me for tuitions at 4:30AM! Yep, I had Math and Physics tuition on weekends from 5:30AM to 9:30AM and you know what the craziest part is? I went for tuitions only because the rest of the world did! So here I was attending tuitions, half asleep! And my Mom had to get up at 4AM and prepare some breakfast for me to have after tuition (it would be 11AM by the time I could come back home). Come to think of it, I feel these were the things that made me want to get good marks – all the small sacrifices that my family made just so I can write my exams well and get into a good college.
Exam day. The first exam is generally the second language – mine was Sanskrit – piece o’ cake! Went to the temple, did all the prayers and stuff and went for the exam. Strangely, the exam felt like any other normal exam – which made me realize that ‘board’ exam was just a thing in our minds. End of the day, it’s just questions and answers! Then came English – it’s always a tricky one! The important thing is with English exams in a State Board school, you cannot flaunt your command of the language on the paper (unlike in CBSE schools). You have to be as dumb as the textbook – simple. Problem is, I couldn’t do that! Till date, I’ve never learned to mug-up stuff – it jus’ won’t stay in my mind like that! So..my lowest marks were from English (185 on 200 if you must know) – no big deal eh? Well, it is a big deal when you miss the state first rank by 9 marks!
Then came the monster – Maths! Aaargh! I used to hate it. It’s amazing how I became an electrical engineer given my dislike of Math. Breezed through Math and then I think we had 2 days off for the weekend before Physics. I used to hate Physics – too much Math in it! 😉 We girls have this stupid habit of coming out of the exam hall and discussing the answers (a lot like Hermione Granger!!) – and it seemed like everyone in the entire school had given one answer and me, me alone, had given something else (for a multiple choice question)! Right! There goes one mark straightaway. I got 200/200 in Physics. Only one other person in the school did. 🙂
Chemistry, followed by Computer Science. 199/200, followed by 199/200. There’s nothing worse than missing a 200 by 1 mark. The look and words you get from people – ‘Oooooh, narrow miss aa?! cha! you couldn’t have got 1 mark more?!!’ – what the heck do you mean I couldn’t have got 1 mark more?! I got 199 marks! Well..who listens… BTW, I messed up the structure of Ethyl Alcohol – hence the 199! 😦
I got ‘decent’ marks. Got into a ‘decent’ college. Now in a ‘decent’ job. But I never want to go back to 1997-1998 ever in my life! Even if you give me a million dollars. And it’s just not fair that students have to put up with this pressure year after year. It has to be made simpler and more of an exam that tests your knowledge, not your capacity to mug-up and remember stuff.
Let’s hope we have some kind of a revolution in our education system atleast for the generations to come.