Insight: Pressure of Sitting Exams

Inisght: Pressure of sitting exams
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We all have sat for an exam, at some point in life.

It may be an institutional exam or just some type of assessment e.g. a medical exam.

All have some type of pressure, but I would like to talk about the pressure, that is brought about by an institutional exam

This exam may determine: your progression through to the next semester, or even whether you graduate or not.

Remember in primary school, where you read, not for your educational needs to be satisfied, but because you knew if you passed the exam, you could receive gifts from parents, or you would pocket some goodies on the prize-giving day.

Not forgetting during family gatherings, where that one aunt or uncle, would bring up the question (NA ULIPATA MARKS NGAPI?). If you hadn’t done well, this was the most uncomfortable time, as even your parents pretended not to know you anymore.

But on the other hand, if you had excelled this was the best moment, as you said your marks out loud, chest out wide, with no fear of doubt or contradiction.

If you had not performed, some relatives would “criticize” you in some way thinking that through the criticism, you would gain more confidence and do better next time, though in the real sense it diminished your esteem, as you thought you were not able to succeed.

In high school, reading, and understanding, depended on the form you were in.

In form one, you read as you knew if you don’t pass, strokes and punishments would keep you occupied. We read pretending to understand, but most of the time, all we were doing was cramming.

I really hated how some high school teachers loved to embarrass you in front of other teachers in the staff room when you failed and not forgetting that one teacher who would mind their business and has to beat you maybe because you had collided with them at some point, yet maybe they didn’t even teach you any subject.

I remember in form one, after my first high school exam, our deputy principal found me receiving hot Bunsen burner whips and decided to steal the show.

(The following is a conversation btw me and the deputy principal)

Deputy principal: Kijana! si nlikupata ukitembea nje usiku kama mchawi wengine wakisoma

Me: Nlikua nmetoka choo

Deputy principal: Watu wanasoma wewe unajaza choo. Mwalimu, niache huyo. Leo hio matako nitaziba. (dragging me to his office). Kijana kazi ni kulea kitambi, unadhani wewe ni mzee wa kijiji.

Me:(shaking as if confronted by a lion, which he was, as he was a hunk man) Mwalimu sitarudia.

(IN HIS OFFICE)

Deputy principal: LALA CHINI

Helplessly, I lay down, begging for mercy, but he turned a deaf ear to me. I was like an antelope, caught in the jaws of a lion. He whipped me to a point where I could feel the pain no more.

In my head, only one question rang. ” IS SCHOOL NECESSARY?”

After about 10+ whips he demanded I thank him for instilling discipline in me.

That’s exactly what most form one’s go through. And we are left asking ourselves

  •            Why did he/she drop out yet the parents had enough money to cater to their needs?     
  •            Why did he/she commit suicide?

We ask ourselves questions with no answers, yet all these would have been avoided, if the pressure applied was appropriate.

In universities and colleges, most people fail to plan themselves and end up instilling unnecessary pressure on themselves. Most people, drown themselves in books, a day or two before the exam.

They disrupt their sleep-wake cycle, not knowing it would eventually have adverse effects on their health.

READ: How to cope with childhood trauma

One may argue, that it is only through being put under immense pressure, that we are able to portray our real potential, but…IS IT REALLY?

Can’t we just study in a simple and relaxed way? Can’t we succeed, in a well-relaxed environment?

Until when, will students drop out, due to the stress that is brought about by these pressures?

Dear teachers and lecturers, these students are tomorrow’s only hope. Let us instill knowledge in them, in the most appropriate ways, ways that are not building blocks of stress, so as to protect the world’s tomorrow.

To students, take your initiative, properly plan yourself, and avoid procrastination and time wastage, so as to avoid pressure build-ups.

Most importantly, where these pressures are unavoidable, take part in activities, that will slightly divert your attention from the pressure.

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