My board exams….and some other things

Today was my first board exam. The first one, thankfully, was Tamil, one subject I am very comfortable with, albeit issues of lack of time in some instances. I know that the very next question would be: how did I do, and how much would I get?

To answer this, the paper was actually a very easy one, and for the first time, I was able to write how much ever I wanted and still finish in time. I am sure that I will get an A1 grade(the equivalent of 81 or above for 90 in CBSE).Not only me, all of us who wrote the exam did well.

However, I am not writing this merely to tell you that I did well. When I was sitting in the hall, listening to the invigilator’s instructions, one thought struck me. I realised that the room and the general atmosphere was not at all scary. It was just as if we were writing a normal exam in school. After all the hype, this was a welcome reality.

I don’t blame our teachers and some other people, who told us that our 10th exams would be the turning point in our life, and constantly reminded us that we were ‘board going children’. After all, they were concerned for our future, and I know , that us lazy students took studies seriously only because of this compelling reminder.

But, generally in our society, I think the influence of these exams is exaggerated. Some people think that life revolves around these. A month before the exams, all the magazines started printing advice on ‘How to study for board exams’. I won’t deny that I read all of these, not because I was religiously going to follow the instructions(it included eating lots of leafy vegetables!)but because I just liked to read what they had to say.

When I think about it now, it strikes me that they provide advice only for board exams. Or at least, if the board exams were non existent, they would not offer  any tips. Why? Why can’t we take these exams as any other ones we normally take up in school? The only difference I see is that, we write board exams in centres outside our school, and teachers whom we know nothing about, correct our papers, and the marks we get are important for our future. That shouldn’t be a problem if we prepare well, unless we expect some extra favours from teachers we know, which is not an acceptable practice.As regards future, I think we just need to keep that in mind to motivate us to do well,and go on with our regular preparation.

One thing I agree with the magazines.We need to do some extra question papers,to get familiar with the types of questions that can be asked, since boards are unpredictable. Otherwise, it is just another regular examination.

After today’s exam, I thought that writing these board exams was a good experience. I enjoyed today’s exam. One, somehow, writing  in those answer sheets was nice(I guess it made me feel important),and two, the questions helped me to express my creative side, especially  an essay on hard work and persistence.I can almost see my father laughing on reading that I wrote a good essay on something I don’t follow at all.

Even in school, I loved to write social exams(though I did not finish the last answer last time). This was because, I knew all the answers most of the times. Except geography, I liked all the others, and I believe that is the reason why I do well in social. Really, the satisfaction you get when you know everything in the question paper is immeasurable.

I also liked science exams, largely due to the fact that our teacher would appreciate me if I did well, and also because she told us that we should pray for  challenging question papers which would stretch our potential. She was a great teacher, and we all required just a simple ‘good’ from her to make us feel on top of the world. And I think I don’t need to tell anything about English exams.

But, whatever I talk about liking exams, there is one subject that I hate as much as a person can possibly hate a subject, and I have no doubt that I will be tensed and nervous before that particular exam. I averaged only a 50% in all our revision tests, due to (1)many silly mistakes (2)My brain which seems to have an overload of linguistic ability, and very less of analytical skills (3) an intense dislike of the subject (4)and not understanding why algebra and surface areas were going to help an English graduate. By now, you must have guessed that the subject is math.

Math is my nemesis. I don’t know why, but from the earliest I remember, it has been like this, though I did very well in 6th standard and my FAs in 10th. I didn’t even want to write an entrance test in math for a school, though it wouldn’t carry any weightage, as I was applying to the Humanities group. But I promise that I will get at least A2 in boards in math, as how much ever I can’t do it, my grades are important for Oxford.

So, that’s it. I am happy today as I did well. My biggest concern was time, but the 15-minute reading time we are given is a boon; it helps us plan our answers, so I shouldn’t have any difficulty in finishing the social paper also. I know I will get A1 in the other three; math, I need at least A2. Let us hope for the best!

I AM COMING, OXFORD

My days are filled with beautiful dreams and ambitions for a perfect future. I have gone back to my daily ritual of exploring the Oxford website and I derive the greatest pleasure in talking to somebody about my blog or about the different schools I have applied to.

I forever think of the place. I even prepared a presentation the other day regarding my plans for when I am there: which student societies I will be a part of, which volunteering activities I will enroll myself in, what will be my syllabus, the exams I have to attend and my weekly study schedule. I have become so bewitched by Oxford, that in slam books, I filled out my residence as 2019-2021 in Oxford.

But, in the midst of all this, I tell myself now and then that I am expecting too much. I give myself a reality check by telling my mind that all this might well be just a bizarre dream which afforded me many happy hours. After all, very great expectations may lead to great disappointments.

Even if I say so, the people around me, especially my parents, family and friends, think it is a plausible occurrence. They believe in my capabilities more than myself. They don’t dismiss it as some teenage fantasy of mine. To have people who  will support me in every endeavor of mine, who are truly confident of my abilities, around me is my biggest motivation.

I don’t know, but there is a small voice inside me, in spite of all my doubts, telling me that I might have a chance, however small, to get there. I think of  how great an opportunity it will prove to be, if at all I get the chance. I believe this is the reason why I still go back to the website, knowing that it all might be a farfetched dream.

I have imagined my exact reaction when my place at Oxford is confirmed. It is like this: I will get the news when I am coming back from my grandmother’s house along with my grandparents, and after coming home, I will bolt the door, close all the windows, and scream with joy. But I know, when it actually happens, my reaction will belittle all of this.

There are still twelve days for my 10th boards, and the other day, I was struck by the realization of how fast time was flying. In just two years, I will be at Oxford or Delhi. I have grown up, but I know very little about many practical things. I panicked suddenly that I didn’t know anything, and my mother comforted me, saying that she will help me out.

I only have little time left to spend with my mother, before I pack off to Oxford or Delhi or wherever my future beckons me. And moreover, I can’t spend at least the next one year with her, due to the fact that only some schools offer the subjects I want. So, I told her that we must hug each more often, whenever there is still time to.

One other thing. I am inspired to write because of the appreciation and support I get from all of you who spare time to read a 15-year old’s musings. I want to become a writer, but it is not an easy task, and the encouragement keeps me going. Thank you.