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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Exam Fever For UPSR Students

Oh no! It’s that time of the year again
I’d much rather stay here in bed.
My stomach’s all wobbly, my eyes are in pain
And my arms feel as heavy as lead.

My throat is on fire, my tongue tastes like a drain
There’s a sledgehammer pounding my head.
Who is it who’s stuffed cotton wool in my brain?
Is this what it’s like to be dead?

The thought of the sitting, the standing, the waiting -
The walking around in the gloom,
The watching, the listening, the prospect of marking
Just fills me with feelings of doom.

The pens and the pencils, the numerous papers
Piled high on my desk with a scowl
The squinting, the marking of young expectations
Are turning me into an owl.

Which means I’m not sleeping, and hardly am eating
There just seems no end to the task
Of checking, correcting, trying to be understanding
With no other adult to ask.

For being an examiner is lonely, destroying
It’s only me and the papers and all
My desperate existence is just filled with marking
With backbreaking, eye watering toil.

The thought of all this has now filled me with pain
And my eyes are already quite red
Oh no! It’s that time of the year again
I think I’ll just stay here in bed.

Year after year, we are geared up for exams. Usually, daily lessons focus on topics which are to be tested in the exams. The importance of results is emphasized, and a good performance in exams is rewarded not only by the school, but also by the parents. So much energy and effort are directed towards exams that the term “exam fever” is used to describe the mood when exams are around the corner.

Exam fever gets worse as the exams approach. Even teachers and parents are caught up in the exam fever. Teachers have to set papers and worry about whether they have taught their students well. The school office is out of bounds to students as teachers type and print the exam questions. Parents start buying all kinds of guide books for their children. Some also sit up with them as they study. Students, of course, are the worst hit. All extra-curricular activities and outings are terminated. Every day is occupied in mugging up subjects for the dreaded exams. They listen carefully to their teachers, hoping to catch some tips about the exam questions. As subjects are revised, they hope to make sense of topics they have never understood so far.

At home, coffee is brewed all night long. Many students struggle through those lonely nights, trying to cram in facts in one night, which were supposed to have been learned throughout the year. As the exams draw even closer, some students suffer from a loss of appetite. They go around with glazed eyes and dark rings under their eyes. Pimples also start breaking out on the faces of these pressurized youths.

During this time, students also try to release their tension by dreaming about what they would do during the holidays. Absurd plans are made in their minds which are, of course, seldom carried out. However, it is these dreams that see them through this period of extreme stress, and help them to face their exams with greater courage and calmness.

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