It is that time of the year again when examinations are around the corner. For every candidate it is the time of thoughts and great anxiety as to what will everything boil down to. At one point or another every one in this life has undergone examinations of some sort. Everyone has had to be tested in one way or another. All the tests that we have all undergone and actually emerged alive and well should encourage us to take future similar tests with optimism and a fighting spirit.
Examinations are tests that are taken at the end of each learning period. In Malawi, the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) Examinations bring a lot of fear and anxiety among students as these examinations are frequently associated with a person’s future where University education is concerned. Most students are overtaken by fear as they think of the consequences of the examinations which go in two different directions: 1. Pass 2. Fail. These two consequences are ingredients of fear. It is very important to get that right, students are not afraid of passing, most are afraid of failure. A quick oral interview of ten students showed that most which in this case were 8 out of ten were afraid of failure than they were of passing. This is because of the person that we are and what we have all along been valuing as students and members of the society at large.
Student s are divided into two groups, those that care too much about their results and those that really do not. The second group; is not that they don’t care at all, but to them the aspect of learning matters more than what actually happens in the exam room, after all you are examined on just a few aspects of the lot you have covered in four years (form 1-4) you are however to demonstrate the knowledge of it all. It should be pointed out here that being nervous and afraid during an exam is a common problem to most students and it is what we need to conquer here by understanding that the concept of learning matters more than what these examinations are all about.
Parents, family members, teachers and friends contribute to the fear that most students experience during examinations; this is so because they have their own expectations from the student and some even make promises of what they are going to do to the student if he/she passes with such and such points. Looking at the expectations and the emerge of self that one has presented to the aforementioned groups of people, worsens the situation for the candidate. When the time for examination nears; panic sets in and most of all comes because one is trying to see to it that he /she does not end up disappointing the parents, teachers, friends. This burden of trying to impress everyone makes one fear examinations to the point where he or she will think has not prepared enough for the examination. Let us encourage our sibblings in the right way. Promises may be detrimental if a student expectations hinges on them.
Examinations should however not be about pleasing anyone, they should be an enjoyable experience, a demonstration of learning, an opportunity to showcase to the examiners just how much you have been shaped into a responsible knowledgeable citizen of Malawi. They should be approached with a sigh of relief to say finally! What I have been waiting for is here. It should not be a time when you have mood swings, when you are rude for no reason, when you try to look for every reason to excuse yourself from partaking this wonderful meal of examination, where the conversation is between you and the examiner with the help of you furiously inking your answers, wishing if it were an oral exam so that they can really understand just how much you have learnt. Confidence should be your hallmark…it is you who should intimidate the exams not the other way round.
The journey has been long and bumpy, you managed to tough out the scotching sun and the stinging cold not to mention the beating rain just to make it to school to learn and prepare for this time to demonstrate your knowledge. Should you then be worried about failure? Why the fear? As it is often said failure to prepare is preparation to fail, but hey look on the bright side, it is not too late, there is still a window of opportunity for you to prepare well for this upcoming meal that you should not for any reason miss. It is your opportunity to shine, take it, use it and emerge victorious just as you have emerged victorious before.
For some their fear will emanate from the fact that they are repeating form 4 and they are afraid of the same traumatic experience that they underwent, well learn to make lemonade if life gives you lemons, use this opportunity to showcase just how much repeating has assisted you to be bigger and better. Nothing is impossible, never limit yourself. Fear is just a feeling that plays with your mind, tell yourself just how ready you are for this exam and just how well you will do, think not of any of the groups of people that we have mentioned expecting you to perform to their advantage. This is a time for you to be the best that you can be for yourself not for anybody. BE YOURSELF!. If there is anyone that you have to out do in this life is yourself. Fear nothing. Overcome fear. Prepare for MSCE examinations by studying harder and emerge the victor that you are.