Overcoming Challenges Posed by Class 12 Board Exam Postponement

Mr. Pradeep Narayanan

The first time the CBSE Class 12 Board Exams were postponed was from March 15 to May 4, 2021. This meant another month and a half of revisions, but at least one knew when the exams would start and the schedule. The competitive exams will be affected, but they will take this into account, so the student’s thoughts and so, things will be back on track. It was distressing for the students and their parents, but they got over it.

But this too was not to be. As it stands today, the CBSE class XII board exams have been postponed, and a decision will only be taken on June 1, 2021, whether and when they will be held. Everybody is clueless and does not know what to do, including the students, their parents, and their teachers. The stress is beginning to mount up. Short of pressing the panic buttons, they are all ready to do anything to get answers to their questions relating to the holding of entrance exams, changes in admission procedures, the role of class 12 performance etc.

It has been one long journey for the students from the beginning of this year, if not earlier, where they have been doing nothing but practice and revision of the NCERT textbooks, guide books, practice papers, and whatnot. And just when they are peaking and ready for the exam, they get postponed. This kills the momentum the students have built up and even shakes up their confidence. Since the pre-boards at the beginning of the year, they have not and will not be writing any formally evaluated examination. All said and done; when you write a formal exam along with your fellow students, there is a sense of seriousness and competitiveness to it. Students are also worried, they will forget whatever they have studied earlier while repetitive learning saps their energy, leading to stress. And what we mustn’t forget is that the students have been confined to their homes with no socializing, no playing sports, and no extracurricular activity, for more than a year due to COVID 19. This has taken a toll on their mental state.

What also adds to the stress of the students and parents, too, is not having the clarity on the yardsticks the colleges will use for admission and how much will they accommodate the CBSE examination scheme. If we were to go by what happened last year, the whole calendar of the entrance exam dates would reshuffle with many entrances spilling over to after the board exam. Keeping track of the new dates will be another challenge. Therefore, the students are confused about how to utilize the time they have got now with them with the postponement of the board exams. Should they take up short term coaching for entrance exams in May and get back to board preparation for boards in June or continue studying for the board exams only?So, what can students and parents do in this scenario where ambiguity rules the roost. The first is to keep the momentum going. Thus, the students must make a weekly plan from Monday to Sunday, every Sunday night, along with the parent(s). This weekly plan should keep aside at least 2 - 3 hours for each subject's revision. The rest of the time, they can prepare for entrance exams, hobbies, entertainment, helping out parents and working out. Yes, workouts! Since all of us are confined at home, it makes perfect sense to work out as besides being good for fitness, it's a good stress buster. The parents, too, can join in. This will ensure the students stay mentally and physically fit for the board exams whenever they happen, and the parents are there to boost them up. The advantage of having a time table and a plan is that one has everything up there, and so there is no feeling of guilt upon seeing a movie or playing a video game if that is on the plan one made with one's parents. The important thing is to ensure continuity of the preparation for the Board examination.Then when the exams come near, the student needs to build momentum. As far as the CBSE Board exam is concerned, this means fully and smartly utilizing the 15 days' notice that the board has promised to give before starting the exams, i.e., at least 15 days from June 1. This is crucial, given the possibility that the gap between exams is likely to be very little.

Most students would have taken five subjects, and so they can allocate three days to each one of them. Other students with six issues can adopt a similar strategy for 2 and 3 days. Now they should plan to study the subject of which the exam is first, in the last three days, the matter will have its exam second in the second previous three days and so on till the issue that has its examination last is allocated to the first three days. Now that all your subjects are scheduled, for each subject, the plan for the three days could look like this:

  • Day 1 Revision day;

  • Day 2 Full-fledged mock test for three hours; 1 hour of marking your answers and understanding where you went wrong, and revising the subject where you did not feel confident in the test;

  • Day 3 A mock test first thing in the morning for 3 hours; 1 hour of marking your answers and understanding where you went wrong, and revising the subject where you did not feel confident in the test;

 It is also essential that the students plan the amount of time they should spend answering a question. This can be best worked out by relating the marking scheme in terms of the marks for a question in proportion to total marks with the whole time for the exam and setting a target time for each type of question. So, with the target time in place for the mock questions, the student should practice time management without compromising the correctness of the answer.

This way of preparation will also help students generate momentum as well as focus.

To summarize, the postponements of the class 12 board exams create confusion, stress and demoralization as far as the students are concerned and parents too. But they are also a necessity given the scourge of Covid 19. So, by studying and preparing for the examinations smartly, students can be successful with less stress and take a lot of it away from their parents too.