HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
The real test of life is beyond the exam paper
Samir Parikh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 25, 2013
First Published: 17:37 IST(25/6/2013)
Last Updated: 17:39 IST(25/6/2013)

Society today has become very competitive, with more and more students vying for seemingly limited opportunities. Cut-offs have reached unprecedented heights. Good is just not treated as good enough anymore.

Exams have always been a way of teaching students important life-skills for coping with future challenges.  However, students must keep in mind that no one exam can ever define who they are or what their potential is. Yes, a poor score can be a hurdle in today’s educational milieu, but if you’re aware of what you want from life, what your long term vision is and you’re committed to your goals, then remember that one poor grade is not going to come in the way of it. What you need to do is take a positive approach, and learn from your mistakes rather than letting your result pull you down.

1 Explore your options - We often take a very limited and stereotypical approach to our choice of subjects and colleges. The reality, however, is that there are more than 10,000 career options available in today’s day. Explore your options; consider consulting a career counsellor for guidance.

2 Don’t isolate yourself - You may not feel like interacting with friends and family after receiving a poor grade. However, it’s important that you talk about your feelings with your friends and family. Try to maintain a normal lifestyle, and don’t withdraw from others.

3 Use this exam as a learning experience - Don’t give up because of a poor result. Instead, use this examination as a learning experience. Take a positive approach and learn from the mistakes you’ve made this time, to ensure that you succeed the next time round.

4 Refrain from drawing comparisons - Avoid comparing your results with those of your peers. Remember that each of us have our own abilities, weaknesses and circumstances.

5 Draw on your strengths - academics may not be each person’s forte. But even if you aren’t a topper, you have your own share of strengths that separate you from the others. Focus on your strengths and harness your true potential.

6 Talk to a counsellor - If you find that you’re feeling very distressed and are unable to cope with the feelings of disappointment, remember that you are not alone. There is help available - talk to a friend, family member or counsellor if you’re feeling low.

7 Remember, no exam is the final exam - Exams in school are meant to teach us how to cope with successes and failures, how to organise and prioritise and how to learn from our mistakes. Exams are forever a part of life. Even if it may feel that this exam was the end of the world, remember that it is not. There will be many more exams to come, each more important than the other.

The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare

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