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Aakriti Vasudeva, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 11, 2013
It is natural to feel stressed on the day of an important examination. Even the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) understands this. Thus, it has devised ways to account for this stress and ensure that exams are a smooth ride for students.


The moment a student is handed the question paper is usually stressful. Your heart is racing and you are trying to recall all that you have studied. In a hurry to begin writing, you may not read the paper completely and miss out on a question. To avoid this, the CBSE has devised what is called a cooling-off period.

“We understand that the exam centre is a completely different environment for students and they need to be at ease while attempting the paper. They are, therefore, given an additional 15 minutes before the examination begins to read the questions and fill in details such as the roll number,” said Rama Sharma, spokesperson, CBSE.

“That time is a cushion; a sort of mental relief for students,” said Sharma.


What can throw a student off balance is if the very first question in an exam paper, if they have not prepared well for it. This stress may even affect their ability to answer the rest of the questions, say teachers. To address this issue, the CBSE allows students to answer questions in any order they choose.

Most teachers suggest that students first answer what they know best and then move on to unfamiliar or difficult questions. “If they first answer the question they are most comfortable with, it builds confidence and sets the child towards answering the paper in a more positive way,” said Ashok Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International.


For many students, the cause of stress during a particularly long examination or one with incorrect questions is if their plight will be considered by the board.

To the students’ relief, the CBSE has a mechanism to look into such problems. If students find a question is out of syllabus or is printed wrong or even if they find the paper lengthy, they can complain to the examiner at their exam centre. “Each school is given an observation schedule during every major examination and student complaints are recorded in these,” said Sharma.