An article by guest writer Lam Cheng En. Refer to “About the Writer” at the end of the post.
I am very sure that most of us have sat for at least one examination. As we walk along the journey of life, we experience many ups and downs. One such “down” is examinations.
Why do most people feel that way? It is probably due to examination pressure. Pressure is also known as stress. Our modern life is bustling with activity, and as such it is full of hassles and frustrations. It is a normal physical response and when you perceive a threat, stress hormones are released. Likewise, when one is sitting an examination, one is likely to be on tenterhooks. Why? The answer is simple. During the examination period, the atmosphere is tense as students try to do last-minute revision by cramping as much information as possible. Their mindset is: If I do not study hard enough, I will do badly.
The truth is, no matter how hard you try to memorise everything in your textbook, it does not always help. My grandfather once told me, “Everyone wishes that one could have a few more days to revise, but as long as one has studied consistently hard, there is no need for those few days of extra revision.”
However, a desire to achieve good results is definitely needed. That way, we can motivate ourselves to do better. Examination pressure keeps telling us that we have not been studying hard enough. Most people perceive examination pressure to be something that gets on their nerves, but to me, it is part and parcel of life.
I completed my Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) last year. It was a stressful time for me. Just before I became a Primary 6 student, I always thought of the PSLE as a dark cloud looming ahead of me. Though I was able to manage my studies pretty well then, I started to question my own ability. That was how examination pressure in me built up. Some of the things I saw included:
PSLE = Parents Stressed Lonely Exasperated
Yet, there was no need to be so nervous. As long as one has confidence and tries one’s best, one has already succeeded. My teachers used to tell me that a person who is nervous about giving wrong answers is very likely to give a wrong answer. I find this especially true, so the ability to differentiate when examination pressure is useful and when it is not, is needed.
Besides the desire to do well, one could argue that other people put examination pressure on them. I also find this to be true. The huge homework piles have left pupils with little room to breathe. Parents who set high standards are likely to leave their children worn out.
What are the pros and cons of such undue parental pressure? Doing so enables the child to motivate himself to do better than before, which is good. Doing assessment books or past examination papers, such as the PSLE booklets, widen a student’s knowledge, thus producing better results. However, there is a necessity to do other activities as well, like exercising regularly. The children may spend too much time on schoolwork and doing assessment books that they hardly have time to relax or exercise. Thus, they can fall sick quite easily. To be a less healthy child or a less smart one, please take your pick.
A Chinese newspaper entitled “Thumbs Up” stated that we should only revise the important points of the chapters that are likely to be tested in examinations. It also mentioned that we should also revisit the chapters that we are weaker at. Furthermore, we have to have good eating and sleeping habits and most importantly, exercise regularly.
To sum it up: examination pressure is both our friend and our enemy. Indeed it is necessary, but like all other things, work in moderation and keeping a cool head during examinations are 2 important ingredients for examination success.
About the Writer
The writer is a Secondary One student at Raffles Institution Singapore. He completed his primary school education at Nanyang Primary School last year.