yes, it's that dreadful time of the year again...for anxious students & their super-over-anxious parents.
i'd be lying if i say i'm not concerned for my daughter whose exams start in 2 weeks. having gone thru my fair share of tests & assessments from age 7 till 36 (!!), i think i may have figured out the twists & turns of exams.
1st, you're not competing against one another but rather against the system. as long as you achieve certain marks, you'll pass or score an A. yes, the examiners plot a curve & then decide on the cut-off points, but these points don't change much from year to year. if the exam is exceptionally difficult, as what my friend said about the PMR BM paper yesterday, most people will find it difficult, so the points will be lowered accordingly. i overheard my teacher friend said the standard of SPM Add Maths is so bad, the passing mark is 20%!!
so, it's actually in the students' interest that they have group studies/discussions & share with each other what topics they think are more important. that's called spotting questions & i believe this term still apply these days. my friends & i used to spot, in the sense that we've covered most exam topics & then we decide, based on previous years' questions, which are likely to be ask that particular year, so we can emphasise on those topics & hope to score should it be asked. but you have to have covered MOST topics, if not all. of course, when you haven't & are desparate, you'd also spot questions but i call this gambling with your future!
2nd, most students would have diligently prepared months before the exams & no one will ever admit they've completely covered the whole syllabus. even so, i'm quite obssessive about making sure the other preparations are in place, eg. full complement of pens, pencils, rulers & erasers, identity card, hankerchief (to wipe the sweat from forehead & palms) & watch/clock. after all, the revision is already in the head & there's not much more you can do about that, but you don't want to be rattled because of a oversight, eg. don't forget fresh calculator batteries!
3rd, don't forget to pray. doesn't matter which religion you embrace, you still need the confidence that a Supreme Being is on your side. especially when all else fail, when you're staring at a question & don't know how & where to begin, or when you're facing an essay question with no points in your blanked-out mind. when you're in dire straits & the sinking feeling is overwhelming, your last hope will be to call out, pray, exhort, chant or just mumble. you don't know Who's listening & Who's going to give you enlightenment. besides, you have nothing to lose.
fast-forward a few months, & when the results are announced, if you scored, then congratulations are in order. otherwise, don't fret that you didn't achieve your target. yeah, i know, your parents are disappointed & you're frustrated & the whole world seems to be against you. your friends have moved forward but you're sort of stuck in a rut.
who's to know what the divine plan is for you? is it for you to take a detour from your desired career path？or, should you start back at square #1 & start your journey all over again, hopefully be better equipped the next time?
after 30 years of sitting for exams, i've been thru it all - success, disappointment AND outright failure. the battle scars tell of the detour & square #1 tales. & more.
that's why i dare tell you - don't give up because it ain't over till the fat lady sings!