When the SSLC board exams were to take place, children of Devadasis from our Children GOOD project were very anxious. To take these kids out of fear, boost their confidence, and guide them on how to write exams, the Children GOOD team conducted a virtual consultation with counselors Mahesh and Veena Mohan. Both of them have expertise in guiding and counseling children and have worked directly with several government schools, as well as private ones. Both have been successful in letting the children open up about their grief and troubles, and have guided them on how to overcome their issues.
During the meeting, Mahesh guided the children on how to prepare for all the subjects. He suggested they split the entire subject into different sub-topics and solve a few sums every day. He suggested they spend 2 hours on each subject every day. He recommended memorizing what they would have learned the entire day, and revising them by the end of the day. He also reasoned it by saying” 20% of your mind is subconscious memory. Therefore by revising the things that you have learned, it gets into this 20% and you will be able to remember it for a longer time”. Children considered this technique to be very useful and said they would practice it every day.
Veena Mohan explained to the children how the paper would be and for many marks they will have to attempt. She also explained how the paper would be evaluated. With the pandemic, children had to write exams on OMR (Optical mark recognition) sheets that were unfamiliar to them. She guided the children about OMR sheets and how to answer, as they were unaware of how this would work. She took the example of a subject, helped the children understand it better, and said
“Suppose, let us consider Mathematics. There would be just 40 questions, as in, each question carries one mark. We are supposed to use a micro tip pin or dot pen, and we are not supposed to use pencils as they would be Optically scanned (as they are OMR sheets)”.
She also mentioned that the Government has used colour schemes to differentiate one subject from another, to make it easier for the children, as they will be attending three subjects per day. For example, Mathematics is pink, social studies are orange, etc. With the help of a sample answer sheet, she guides the children on how to fill up the student details.
She told them
“a 120 question booklet would be provided each day of the exam, where every 40 questions will belong to each subject. Every question will be provided with 4 options each. The children are supposed to identify the right option and select it. The correct method to answer the right answer is not by ticking, circling, or any other indication. The circle with the help of a pen. She also suggested the children not waste time on thinking answers for questions which they are not sure of. She asks them to attend the questions first which they know answers for”.
She even instilled confidence into children by telling them that the question paper would be very easy, due to the ongoing COVID uncertainty. The marks will be summed up to 625 marks, as usual. As internal marks are already uploaded for either 20 or 25 marks, and the children don’t have to worry. The respective school teachers would have already given them full marks or almost full marks, to almost everybody to ensure that they score better in their final exams.
Both Mohan and Veena asked the children to make small notes and stick them around. When the children have a glance at it, they will be able to remember what it refers to and will be able to revise better. If not, they will know that they haven’t studied it thoroughly, hence, giving them clarity on what to study again. They also suggested the children to not compare themselves with somebody else, and that they should be confident enough. Mr. Mohan also said, “Take regular intervals to give your brain a break so that your grasping power increases.” the children were also suggested to eat well and eat nutritious food, as this would help in maintaining their health during the exam, and they will be in a position to handle the stress well.
After the counseling session, the children were allowed to ask questions and clear off their doubts during a small Q and A session. A few of the questions asked were “Should we take the vaccine?”, “Is it required to take the Covid test report?”, etc. Ms. Veena cleared off their doubts and also assured that no such extra regulations were needed, and also assured the safety f the children attending exams by saying that the examiners/invigilators would be vaccinated. There were also a few of them who would be re-appearing the board exams, and Ms. Veena affirmed that she would get back to them personally regarding their assessment and evaluation system, after hearing the education minister’s announcement.
With the help of the motivation and support provided, the children were able to do really well in the exams. Prasanna Gudadappanavar topped the exams amongst other Kishoris, with a total score of 96.32 percentage.
By Keerthana Vijay , Communications Associate.