I do not like the word ‘exam’! Do you? Whether Shakespeare would agree or not, changing the name does change quite a lot. By a simple rearrangement of words and a little change in the way we say it, a big difference can be felt. Just stand straight… raise both hands upwards towards the sky, look up and stretch your lips so as to offer a wide grin to the one up there and say it loud: ‘Thank God, for it’s OTP Time!’
Yes, isn’t it Opportunity To Prove (OTP) time? An opportunity to express what we know and an opportunity to prove that ‘Yes, I can’! Isn’t it a wonderful chance of filling sheets of paper with all that we have seen, listened to and read throughout the year? The system might be testing us but wouldn’t it be nice to think of it this way — that the system offers us a mic on a platter so that we can let the whole world know what we indeed know!
If examinations are taken by us all as a wonderful OTP time, how do we kit ourselves out for it? How do we grab this big opportunity and prove in a way that our self-esteem is raised; such that our parents heave a sigh of relief that ‘yes, it was all worth it’; and such that many years hence, we do not look at our performance with regret?
Of course, there are fears running amok in the hearts of all of this who must respond to this knock by OTP and there are butterflies in every stomach too, along with many a sleepless night and beads of sweat running down our spines. If you have or feel any of the above, it obviously means that you are NORMAL; that you are a reasonably intelligent person who has ample potential to establish and declare with a bang! There are only a select few who, cool as cucumbers as they are, ace an exam with their eyes closed. It is all akin to a cool breeze for them as if taking an exam is the second most normal thing human can do after breathing….
For the large majority that we are — the palms are sweaty and the palpitations can be distinctly heard. It is the normal folks who find sitting and revising calmly an impossible feat to accomplish. Hence, nothing to panic if you are a normal teen, enveloped in an air of uncertainty.
However, there is a catch here! If the feelings of fear and nervousness persist longer and upset the sense of balance in the mind they will start impacting you adversely. It is alright to be afraid of examinations and to feel a bit apprehensive and nervous too. If the fears, however, begin to affect your sleep, appetite and concentration — these feelings, instead of motivating you, will deter you from giving your best. DO NOT FALL IN THE TRAP! As soon as the fears and apprehensions begin to acquire huge proportions, shrug your shoulders, straighten your back, close your eyes and take deep breaths. As you inhale, remind yourself that you HAVE studied; you KNOW the answers and while recalling the smiling faces of your favourite teachers and the faith and the prayers of your dear ones — inhale deeply. Inhale a sense of determination! Yes, you CAN DO it! And exhale the fears and self-doubts. Remind yourself, ‘I am not the Best and the Brightest in the world, but I am good… I am capable… I have put in quite many efforts and studied the answers… I shall be able to put forth my answers on the paper!’