Last week while I was interning at finance company, I met students from various parts of the world which is the classic exquisiteness of Dubai. As merry as it was talking to them all, there was one instance that got me contemplating. I had found myself in a situation where I had to explain to young Algerian girl studying american board the overview of “Board Exams” and what they mean to us Indian students. However, my apprehension in all this started when I was done explaining and her reaction was something like “Woah, that sounds harsh! I’m sure it couldn’t be that bad.” That is when I exactly realized that the world doesn’t understand the pain of being an Indian student. So with the intent of raising my voice for my fellow boards-givers and spreading awareness, I’m gonna give an insight on how I gave my 10th grade boards. So those of you who relate, feel free to get nostalgic and those who don’t, please take a minute to feel sorry for us.
1) Check schedule every 15 minutes of the day.
Now irrespective of however sure I was, the terror of showing up for Math prepared for English is probably the biggest jolt for anyone. While many people dream about deadly ghosts and psychopathic killers, this is my idea of a nightmare.
2) My pre-exam night syndrome.
So this happened before my very first exam, I knew I was prepared, I had been studying this whole year yet I awake till 2 am with 3 books cramming and rocking back and forth like a crazy person having a seizure.
3) “Where’s my admit card?”
Okay, my dad is probably smiling just by reading this particular one. I was geared up for my physics board exam. My dad was dropping me to school in a taxi. It was not until 15 minutes before the exam I lavishly discovered that my admit card was missing. Honestly, for about 20 seconds I considered running away and living the rest of my life as a bedouin in the dessert, but thankfully my dad found the card and I did well in physics. However, the story didn’t end there. The very next exam, I dipped my hand into my pocket realizing “Oh No! It happened again” and jumping in terror in front of the whole grade, then i dipped my hand into my other pocket and realized that I’m an idiot.
4) Speculating the invigilator
One of the most frequent things my friends and I did were, examining the person handing the paper than actually examining the paper (pun intended) . Is he softy? Is he strict? It could mean the difference between an 89 or 90.
5) Chickening out
This does not apply to me as I’m a very honest student especially during exams let alone boards, however I did have a friends who considering cheating, but after one stern look from the examiner …Nope..nope…nope, big bucket of nope!
6) Throwing sully looks at the topper.
So I had a topper sitting 2 seats away from me. I knew she had come prepared while I was still reading the last chapter. I knew she had a good night sleep while I was awake till 3 on coffee and internal anxiety. To make it worse, I could even see the smug on her face.
7) Filling out the giant OMR sheet or form on the answer sheet.
I’m sorry but last time I checked I was sat there for a chemistry exam not for filling a passport application.
8) Praying to God.
We prayed like we’ve never prayed before. You promise to give up all your bad habits, listen to your mother when she nags you, never litter in the park etc etc. It’s almost like bribing. “Please god, I swear I’ll visit the temple ever Tuesday”
9) Throwing looks at your friends after you see the question paper.
Don’t get me wrong, but this is a very crucial moment. The eye communication between us students is more effective than morse code in battlefield. This moment labels the paper, if it’s easy, silent high fives and thumbs up everywhere! If not, “what is this?” “Oh shit” or mostly “THIS IS OUT OF SYLLABUS”.
10) Asking for extra sheets.
Irrespective of how hard the test is, there will always be that one person who will ask for extra sheet every 15 minutes. What the hell are you even writing?! Lord of the Rings?
11) Last 15 minutes.
It’s like God decides to give you supernatural powers, I swear the way I wrote during last five minutes of my history exam, Usain Bolt would have been proud of me.
12) Walking out like a boss.
No matter how good or bad the boards went, I felt like I had won Fifa world cup, Nobel Price and an Oscar all in the moment. To add to my joy, it was raining in Dubai and my mom bought me some cardamon tea. Perfect climax!
So yeah, that was basically that how I gave my board exams. Even though it was very exhilarating, I learned a lot and in the end I did very well! My parents were happy which made all of it worth the work. But even if it wouldn’t have, we need to finally release that these number don’t define who were are! As a senior in my school says “The only number important on your report card is your date of birth.”