Navigating the uncertainty

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First, the facts: For Class 10 students, the CBSE, ICSE and IB have cancelled the board exams. For IGCSE students, the exams were done in March but deferred exams have all been cancelled. For Class 12 students, the CBSE has postponed the board exams indefinitely, the ICSE also announced postponement with new dates to be announced in June, and IB has cancelled and will go the non-exam route for assessment. What does it mean for students?

Watch | Explained: The cancellation of Board exams and what happens next

Class 10

Is there something to worry about? Well, the impact of Class 10 board marks is typically only on college admissions, as they are used to evaluate students in the U.S., the U.K, and in liberal arts colleges in India. This may put students on the back foot when CBSE’s much-awaited marks algorithm is issued. Of course, one can clarify that this was a COVID-19 year. “Class 10 is not a high-stakes examination, and thus the cost of cancelling the exams is not high,” says Vishnu Karthik, Director of The Heritage Group of Schools, Delhi-NCR.

What students can do:

Once the excitement settles, treat Class 11 like you would have treated Class 10 and start preparing for the SAT or ACT, whether you’re going to apply to colleges abroad or in India. These are accepted as additional inputs by most colleges and a good SAT score will certainly support your academic profile.

For those applying abroad to competitive colleges in the U.S., U.K., Canada or Singapore, take the Advanced Placement (AP) exams relevant to your course.

Work on your self. Join a summer school, do an online course, write a blog, lead a social project, do research and move closer to your dreams. Colleges tend to ask what you did last summer.

Class 12

It is hard to spend your last year of school at home, and miss out on all the fun and leadership opportunities. Studying at home has not been easy, and the uncertain application year has been a bumpy ride. Now, the endless wait for the board exams is the last straw…

“If more clarity regarding rescheduling of the Class 12 exams is not provided soon, the students’emotional and mental stress will increase considerably. We need to be prepared to help them and their parents,” says Karthik.

Some schools had anticipated this and planned their responses. “We created a comprehensive assessment framework that catered to the needs of a range of learners,” says Nooraine Fazal, co-founder and CEO of Bengaluru’s Inventure Academy. This included Summatives and Formative, which comprised group presentations, research-based assignments, quizzes, open book tests and case studies, besides others. “We are looking at the possibility of offering one more set of pre-finals in lieu of the boards. But much will depend on how much this second wave impacts us.”

Cancellation is not really possible for students following Indian syllabi, though. “It would be unfair to thousands of students and impact their college admissions, especially for those looking to go abroad or to different states,” says Karthik. Universities from the U.K. and Canada that have made conditional offers are waiting and watching the situation with no change in their plans so far.

In response to queries, the U.K.’s Universities and College Admissions Service posted on its official Facebook page: “Most universities will ask the conditions of an offer be provided by the end of August but students should contact the University directly to confirm when they expect the students’ conditions to be met.” This means that students with conditional offers will not get a clear decision, and may be tempted to take offers with May deadlines UCAS also clarified that “Clearing” admissions (seats still open after students have accepted their offers) will be available from July 5 until October “for applicants who have already received their results. If a student wishes to use Clearing before their offer is confirmed, they could look at making a reply swap, changing their firm (and insurance) choice to decline in order to use Clearing.”

What students can do:

Most students responded by taking a break from studying till dates are announced. Those getting back can focus on tough subjects and leave the ones they usually perform well in for later.

Accept at least one unconditional offer that you will be happy with to reduce the stress of waiting.

For those applying to colleges in India, focus on applications and entrance tests. Go for upcoming deadlines in May, and double down on entrance exam preparation. All tests are available online.

Write a journal/ blog/ lockdown diaries.

This is one summer when you don’t have to align your activities to college applications. Yes, you can’t go for summer camps, but you can watch your favourite movies, and pick up a new hobby. Make a film, set a running goal, learn to sing your favourite songs, pick up some dance moves.

In other words, try to chill a bit. However, overwhelming this looks, it too, shall pass.

Class 11

Though not directly impacted, here’s what students can do:

Use the summer to work on preparing for the SAT, ACT or entrance tests for Indian colleges. Join an online coaching class or get the necessary books and go for it.

Make study groups with friends to motivate and support each other. Share material liberally.

Do online courses in the areas you intend to apply for. You will be writing application essays soon and these will come very handy.

Attend summer school, do projects in the areas of your interest, and keep your spirits up

The writer is Founder and CEO, Inomi Learning, a Gurugram-based career and college guidance firm.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 12:52:19 AM |

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