The Bitter Truth about Board Exams that No One is Telling You


This is my attempt at a public service announcement, one I wished I knew when my board exam results were announced three years ago. My scorecard ended up giving me a false sense of confidence, one I realise I shouldn’t have had in the first place.

On the day these results are declared, all television screens bear footage of these super kids being fed laddoos by their parents. And not to forget the dozens of coaching centre flyers that come along with the daily newspaper. My brother passed out of school 7 years ago, but his photograph still appears every year in the pamphlet of the coaching centre he went to.

And I being the younger sibling had to score enough to top my older sibling in order to continue being a part of the family.

Board ExamsThe pressure is so real for every student that I see them rounding off their percentages or seeking recourse in the higher best five percentage when any and every random person chooses to pester them asking about their result.

I scored 95.5% in Humanities and was fairly satisfied, up until someone very pleasantly pointed out how I could’ve been the school topper if I’d got 1% more. Not only are people concerned with the marks you score, but also fret over the marks that you did not score. And the unsurprising reason behind this is their ‘humble’ expectation of you.

Marks matter, of course. But it most definitely doesn’t end there. It heals over time, with loads of effort and hard work from your side. Life provides you with endless opportunities and 12th board is not the last one. I mean, it’s 2022 and you have more career options than your parents did. You may not become what they wanted, but you can become what you want.

No, really. 97% might get you in a good college, but that is all the help you’ll be receiving from your percentage. It all comes down to you later.

So why and how have we created a culture of heightening anxiety around board exams? Because in an examination where luck actually plays a decent amount of role, and students can go on scoring a perfect 100 in a subject like English, it is no less than a circus where the students are at the mercy of the ringmaster a.k.a. the paper checker.

Here’s a fun fact: according to Robert Leahy, director of American Institute of Cognitive Therapy, the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s.

So I would request you, yes you staring at the screen right now, to stop asking about marks incessantly, or at all. Truth be told, it shouldn’t be anybody’s business to know how much someone scored. In fact, I believe one is not entitled to know about it at any point of time.

In case the countless memes all over the internet haven’t given you the hint yet, your “concern” may as well turn into a burden or can even inculcate unnecessary and undeserved shame and embarrassment within the student. If you’re really concerned, better help and motivate them before the exams rather than remembering them only on the result day. Let’s make our children competent and not push them down the same beaten path of success, because life is what you make of it.


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