It’s that time of the year when every student wants to get done with the burden, attend college and make sure that their name is not there in the shortage list. They wish to get their hall tickets and start preparing for their exams. People say, “Exams are a necessary evil”. They are ‘necessary’ since until now no other alternative method has been adopted universally and ‘Evil’ because most people shiver by the name.
Vidhi Jain, a second year student from Picasa College says, “Exams cannot reflect a person’s true knowledge or intellect but it will definitely make us confident about our own knowledge and help us retain concepts longer. They are meant to test not just a student’s calibre regarding a subject, but also his or her discipline interest and attention towards studies through the curriculum.” She further says, “Last moment studies can never reflect in cent percent results. Preparation beforehand would include listening to valuable lectures which are of great practical knowledge and attainment of useful information from other sources. Whereas last minute preparation will make the student mug up and hence the knowledge volatile.”
The long corridors buzzing with anxiety, students turning around pages to get a last glimpse of what they have missed studying. It’s the time when everyone wishes for the paper to be simple and to remember what they have read.
Simran Kaur, a second year student from St. Bedes College, Shimla says, “Even without a text book to do last-minute mugging from, the familiar exam-hall scene doesn’t disappoint. There are scores of people reading through some printouts and notes, trying desperately to grasp on to the subject – to get hold of something that sounds familiar, but often it’s of no use.”
Having to sit in a crowded room for two hours, surrounded by people who smell like they haven’t taken a shower since the semester started, and answering questions that you’ll forget the answers to as soon as you walk out the door (if you even knew them in the first place) is the worst. It’s not like in high school where you might have a test every week. Here in the big leagues, there are only about three tests a semester and your grade desperate depends on your performance, no pressure.
“We enter the exam hall. The Question Paper is sitting right in front of me. Everyone in the room is tensed, even more so because you don’t know anything. “You may begin” the TA announces, and I cautiously open the exam booklet. ‘Please let me understand the first question. Please let me at least know what the question means’ – I utter my silent prayer to myself,” says Bharat Jain, a second year student from Bhavans Vivekananda College.
Rounak Gupta, a final year student from St. Francis College for Women says, “Since I don’t want to leave the exam paper blank, I go to the extent of writing the questions back– I had to write SOMETHING – to help penetrate the marks. After the exam is over we all sit and discuss the paper. No one knows what’s going to come of it, but at the end of the day, it was fun.”
Students just can’t seem to keep their hands off of their cell phones. Of course, text messaging is the main culprit. After all, it’s hard to imagine that study material is more interesting than what friends have to say. It’s 3am, a rather important exam is alarming in less than seven hours, there is still half the syllabus to be read and yet for some reason, you find yourself clicking robotically through pictures of a classmate you have not spoken to since junior high. Yes, you have found yourself on the website that needs no introduction. You check your Facebook account. Does the reading even have a chance? After all, you could be tagging yourself in pictures from last week’s party, or taking a quiz, or checking up on that kid you had a crush in your eighth grade. So with so many fun ways to avoid your work, how can a student be expected to pay attention?
“I think students should be prepared for exams well in advance. When they try to cram too much information at the last minute it doesn’t work. Naturally, they will then seek distractions as their brains are being overloaded with information. The only solution is to plan ahead and have healthy breaks built in,” says Urmila Mahajan, Teacher, International School of Hyderabad.
Waiting-to-the-last-minute syndrome is the biggest problem that most college students have. Despite all the websites that dominate your internet history and meetings and parties that demand your attendance, it is of the utmost importance to spread your studying out. If you wait until the last minute to cram, you will severely stress yourself out, lose sleep, and be completely fed-up.
“In true sense an exam is just a revision of all that has been taught in six months or a year. But frankly speaking exams are the times when 90% of people actually open their books for the first time. Our education system is more theory than practical and therefore no matter how hard we mug up the study material for days all that prevails in mind while undertaking an exam is the material from intense study sessions done on a day before or previous night,” says Aditi Jain, a final year Architecture student from CSIIT. She further says, “Even then I feel exams are important as it is the only force which makes us sit down and study.”
The problem is that most of us have is that of procrastination. You start to put off studying so much that it’s the night before the big day and you pull an all-nighter to learn an entire month and a half’s worth of information.
“For me exam time is just like a monkey. I hate them both. Both increase my blood pressure and anxiety. I am scared of both and I always wish I don’t encounter them but then…. firstly it’s India where you can’t get rid of monkeys and secondly I am a student so I can’t avoid the exam time,” says Vamika Darhel, a second year student from St. Bedes College, Shimla.
10:00 pm Denial
11:00 pm Freak out about your unwritten paper
12:00 am First paragraph finished, checking Facebook
1:00 am 10 minute power nap and then productivity
2:00 am Red Bull break
3:00 am Ask friends in the class how far along they are and then complain to one another
4:00 am Productivity
5:00 am Read old aim chat
6:00 am Save paper five times in a row
7:00 am Printer doesn’t work! Panic as the sunrises.
“The most hectic time in the life of any student is undoubtedly the time just before an exam. I like most of the students, in order to revise, get up early on the exam day itself. And before entering the exam hall there is a lot of rushing around and last-minute clearing of doubts. When the exam is finally over and done with however, everyone is relieved and relaxed,” says Nandita Mahajan, a final year student from St. Francis College for Women.
It can be tough to balance study time during this crazy month, but somehow we get through it. Whether it’s by spending hours at the library, forming study groups, or getting tutors, we all have our own ways of surviving this stressful month.