The pressure of re-exam following the paper leak

The pressure of re-exam following the paper leak

A few hours after the completion of the last exam of Class 10 (CBSE) on March 28, students who had just begun celebrations felt disappointed, disgusted, cheated and stressed when they heard the news of the Maths paper leak in Delhi. In a matter of seconds, their singing hearts sank into despair. Same was the case with Class 12 Economics students. After days of dilemma, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has now decided against holding re-examination for Class 10 Maths paper, but Class 12 students are not so lucky and will have to prepare for the re-exam.

There was a serious breach in the protocol which led to the question paper leak in spite of having several security measures put in place by the CBSE. So, where and how do these leaks happen? This is something that the investigating team is currently unravelling. However, in the interim, students are paying a huge price for the callousness of some individuals.

To overcome adversity

"How can such things happen when the CBSE board claims to have a foolproof system?" asks Sunanda, a parent. As Jonathan, an anxious parent, explains, "From start to finish, the examination season is a trial for children and parents. Though various media outlets interview expert counsellors and carry 'agony aunt' columns to help students cope with stress and manage time intelligently, how does one prepare students for an adversity such as this?"

Now that a date has been set for the re-examination for the Class 12 Economics paper, the need of the hour is for parents to reassure their children of their continued faith in their ability to face such sudden challenges in life. The students, for their part, would do well to keep calm and take it on their chin and come out victorious.  

Counsellors feel that this kind of psychological pressure year after year can be detrimental to the students' well-being. The alarming rise in the statistics of students succumbing to pressure is not encouraging at all.

The need to perform, the need to win peer approval, parent approval and the all-important self-esteem quotient is an uphill task for most of the students.

Switch on to study mode

Some students are stressing about the indecisive attitude of the officials, while others are trying to deal with their disappointment, frustration and the need to remotivate themselves to stay focused.  A cross section of students I spoke to were of the opinion that it was not easy to switch on to study mode after they had kind of switched off. While some students are turning to breathing exercises like pranayama for help, others are turning to study groups.

Children these days are high-strung and media reports show an alarming increase in students committing suicide because they are unable to handle stress. A worried parent, Anirudh, asks, "Who is to be held responsible if my son does not perform as well as he had in the first attempt? He has an anxiety issue and the additional stress is going to take its toll on not just my son but scores of others who have chronic exam stress as well."  

Teachers and parents agree that the present generation kids are not so communicative and prefer to cope with their problems themselves. "Very rarely do they approach us if only to use us as a sounding board," observes Jasmine, a teacher and a parent of a 17-year-old. "It is at times like this that we have to be patient listeners and a friend to our children for they are constantly watching our reaction."

While the media is emphasising on disappointments and holiday plans having gone haywire, Somya, a Class 12 Student who has taken Economics, points out that such unfortunate episodes throw a wrench on their study schedule. "We have entrance exams lined up from April 7. I am a little stressed but have to go through it," she says. "The date for which the Economics exam is scheduled for (April 25), is bound to clash with one of the competitive exams." Students who have taken Science and Economics combination are facing this problem.

Ira, a Class 12 student, smiled and declared she was so very glad that rumours about Biology paper having leaked had proved baseless.

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