A few hours before the first paper of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination was to begin, the phone of counsellor Vidya Jagtap wouldn’t stop ringing.
“Most of the calls were from anxious students. Most feared the English paper, especially those from semi-urban or rural areas. In a few cases, the students were so scared they told me they didn’t wish to appear for the exam at all,” she said.
However, after the first paper was over, the calls turned celebratory, Jagtap said.
- ‘Strip search’ row gets murkier: Probe team visits exam centre
- Pune Class XII students allege they were ‘strip searched’ at HSC exam centre
- Maharashtra SSC exams 2018: With new features like barcodes and bilingual instructions, exam begins today
- Class 10: SST the new fear factor
- Testing Times: Students grappling with pressure to score well
- Maharashtra board announces helplines for students taking HSC, SSC exams
“Most students called in to say the paper was easy. However, some said it was lengthy and they couldn’t complete it on time,” said the counsellor appointed by Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.
Students, too, said while the questions were relatively simple, they fell short of time.
“My hand is fractured and I had to take a writer, but I got no extra time. So I had to dictate the answers and then correct mistakes, which was very time-consuming. I found the paper to be very lengthy, especially the Writing and Communication Skills section,” said Siddharth Shah, a Class XII student of Fergusson College.
But most students said they were surprised at the easy questions.
“I got set D and it was very easy, including the poem and grammar section. In these sections, very basic questions were asked,” Shah said. Meanwhile, board officials claimed no untoward incidents were reported anywhere across the state, where 13,88,467 students where scheduled to appear for the exams.
In Pune division, which includes Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur, 2,29,437 candidates had registered for the exam.
“The paper went off smoothly. Through centres or through helplines, neither colleges nor students have complained of any hiccups. The question papers reached on time and were distributed 10 minutes before the examination. We had taken measures against the use of unfair means, and no major incidents have been reported,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, chairman, MSBSHSE.
Counsellors, however, asked parents to tone down their anxiety, pointing out that most calls they received were from parents.
“Parents kept calling and coaxing their children to talk to us. They wanted us to tell them to take the exams seriously. In some cases, they put children on line forcibly.
We counselled parents that they should not add to students’ anxiety, but simply encourage them by showing confidence in them,” said counsellor Pavan Kumar Gaikwad.
“Also, students from rural areas called for basic queries such as if blue ink was allowed, what if they carry calculators, et,” he added.
These are basic instructions that schools should have given, rather than allowing students to stress over them at the last minute,” said.