As the Cambridge Exams draw nearer, students of Pakistan Embassy College Beijing (PECB) are attempting various methods to deal with the increasing stress. Three senior classes in PECB will be appearing in IGCSE in May and June of 2013. Not only do students now have to review their subjects daily, but the increasing amount of papers, homework, essays and projects also means burning a lot more midnight oil.
Muhammad Shahzad Khan, an O-Level student from Pakistan claims,“My parents keep telling me that they will provide all my needs by doing everything they can and all they want is good result. I feel very pressured after they repeat this again and again.”
“Of course parents pressure [their kids],” Saad Habib Qureshi, a Pakistani student taking his A-Level exams next year says. “My parents have lot of expectations from me and I start feeling a lot of pressure, thinking more about aftermath of a bad result than the exams themselves. Also, sometimes parents give examples of people who have done excellent in their exams and they question you why can’t you be like them.”
Saad suggests that one should first go through the whole syllabus in a subject and then move on to pass papers. [Doing pass papers refers to using real tests or papers given to students in years past and using this as a practice test.] “This way you get familiar with the exam pattern and also you learn time management, which is an important factor in these exams. It’s good to look at as many pass papers as you can as it opens up your mind and helps you think more efficiently. If you forget about something while going through the pass papers, you can always go back to the books. This way you are prepared in a much better way. An important thing which I learnt from long lectures given by my teachers was: always do as many pass papers as you can!”
“I make sure that I get the time to ease my mind while I am studying,” Shahzad says. “I walk around my house and eat some snacks, sometimes I organize my stuff and I do different chores as well. It keeps me calm so that I do not feel that exhausted after studying.”
Hina Kato, a student from Japan studying in O-Level 2, also claims that being calm helps a lot when she is preparing for her exams, whether it is just a simple MOC exam or the real Cambridge exam. “I think positive! No use scaring yourself unnecessarily. My mom is so calm; I think I learned that from her.”
Hina also says that she makes a time table a few weeks before the exams. “It gives me a feeling of being well prepared and I make notes and diagrams of data which I scan through once on my way to school for the exams.”
Mr. Rehan Ahmed, a Physics teacher who has been in PECB since August, 2011, agreed that pressuring students is not a way to help them during their exams. “The Three Idiots,” he said, “is one of the best examples that shows that pressuring students to study has a negative effect on them. I agreed 100 percent with the message of the movie.” [Three Idiots is a popular Bollywood movie released in 2009 about two friends searching for a third friend who bucked the trend of becoming a doctor or an engineer and pursued his own destiny.]
Mr. Rehan states that like all teachers, he tries to make his lecture an enjoyment rather than a burden on his students. “I always praise and sometimes reward my students for their performances. Friendly behavior with students encourages them to study more since they like your subject more.”
Mr. Rehan also reveals that success in high school depends on how you study, not just how much you study. “Study conceptually. When you read a book, do not just concentrate on that book only, consult from other books too. Also, do as many pass papers as you can!”
Jun Wei Loh, 15, is the beijingkids student correspondent for the Pakistan Embassy College of Beijing. She is from Malaysia and is currently doing her O Levels at PECB. Although her favorite subjects are math and physics, she enjoys writing articles and is part of the newsletter editing team in her school. She is also attempting to write a novel and hopes to publish it one day. Her hobbies change from day to day depending on what mood she is in. The three things she wanted to try out one day are: parachuting, bungee jumping and piloting a plane.
The beijingkids student correspondent program gives high school students with an interest in writing and journalism a resource for guidance, feedback, and real-life training.If you are a student interested in becoming a beijingkids student correspondent, or you know a student who is, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Junwei Loh