Nearly 11.5 lakh students across State to take class X exams starting tomorrow

Anxiety seems to be the prevalent feeling a day before class X students take the first common board examinations beginning Wednesday.

Besides the sheer number of students taking it (11,47,530 this year), the S.S.L.C. examination is crucial for students and teachers as the same question papers will test students from four streams —S.S.L.C., Anglo-Indian, Matriculation and O.S.L.C. — for the first time. This is the first batch appearing for the examination after the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus was introduced.

A total of 10,66,459 candidates have registered through schools, with 7,87,734 of them from the Tamil medium stream. These students will be spread across 10,312 examination centres in the State. This year's examinations is particularly important for private candidates as well, for students who were yet to clear one or two papers have one last chance to take the exam based on the old format.

A total of 81,071 private candidates have enrolled for the public examination, with 19,574 appearing for the first time.

Although the School Education Department made available model question papers, there is apprehension among students about what the new pattern will be like. “I am anxious to see how the question paper will be. I have my own fears about how students will perform as until last year, all questions came from the exercises at the end of each lesson. This year, we expect only 35 marks to be dedicated to such questions,” says an English teacher of a government school.

Giving weightage to practical component and introducing activity-oriented learning were a few initiatives taken with the aim of making students come out of the clutches of rote learning.

In quite a number of schools, students still come to school, even the day before the exam, for group study. For instance, at Presidency Girls Higher Secondary School, Egmore, teachers say a majority of them prefer to study at the school where the facilities are much better and evening snacks are also provided.

Amidst fear of exams, there are some confident voices too. N.Aishwarya, class X student of a matriculation school says: “Tamil is my toughest subject and it also happens to be the first exam. But, I am confident I can given my best.” She has her mother helping her for the paper.

In some other families, one of the parents have decided to take leave the day before the exam. While students say the examinations are well spread, the fear of exam still haunts many. Experts say students should get at least six hours of continuous sleep before the exam; else, exhaustion is likely to set in. “If you are with a group that is discussing animatedly, making you panic, then stay by yourself,” says Arundhati Swamy, student counselor.

Avoid learning new topics, just revise what you know. For those who have exam fear, Ms. Swamy suggests they imagine themselves in the situation three times a day. “If it is not a new feeling, the fear diminishes,” she says.

Parents need to be supportive or at least stay neutral rather than excite their child. “They can set a range for the child to perform rather than setting one target,” she adds. Above all, eat healthy and drink lots of water to stay cool and calm.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012