diksa home
Board exams

Board Exams!

10th grade, the first dreaded milestone in the life of a student. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly but I knew it was a big deal. I pretty much grew up hearing so much about how crucial it is. Along with moving on to the 10th grade my situation was further complicated by the introduction of the samacheer syllabus. Schools had not received clear instructions regarding which syllabus was to be followed - Matriculation or Samacheer.

I still recall getting so frustrated having to prepare for two different syllabi. So by the time the syllabus was finalized, it was almost the end of September and we were following both samacheer and the matriculation till then. The Samacheer books finally arrived only in October.

Concessions are offered by the Tamilnadu State board to students with dyslexia for the 10th board exams. The concessions available were extra time by an hour, overlooking spelling errors, exemption from second language and use of the calculator for math. Sudha ma’am advised us to avail these concessions and enquire about the procedure to be followed. Surprisingly my class teacher at that time was really approachable and understanding. She helped me quite a bit with the process. But it didn’t go very smoothly with the principal because she was new and was not aware of my challenges. We really had to wait to get permission to apply for the concessions. I still recall her asking my mother why I was studying at their school while there were several special schools out there. She wasn’t nice about it in the least. My mother tried her best explaining to her that my issues weren’t so severe and that I did not need a special school. The principal only responded by saying that I was making it harder and complicated for them by continuing in their school. Somehow she finally agreed since it was already December and nothing could be done Though the board understands dyslexia and gives concessions the school, and the other authorities involved in granting them can choose to make it difficult and painful. 1. I had to go through two assessment procedures first at Diksa in class 9 and then again at the MDA in class 10.

2. This was because my earlier assessment report from Diksa was considered invalid by my school. They insisted on a report from the MDA.

3. I had to get a certificate from a doctor at the Royapettah Government Hospital. I took a day off from school and went to the hospital and waited for nearly 7 to 8 hours from 7:30am. I had no clue what they would ask me to do and how long it would take. I was very anxious and restless.

4. We weren't even told when the doctor would come or how much longer it would take. Finally, he came and saw all the reports. He then issued a letter saying I was eligible for the concessions. After this, I had to get all my documents attested by a gazetted officer. The following were the documents I had to submit to the board:

1. The IQ test report,

2. Letter from my parent addressed to requesting concessions from the board

3. The assessment report from MDA

4. Letter from the hospital. I had the option of giving up on the language paper

(tamil) but I decided to do it. I got to use the calculator and got an extra hour.

But through all of this, the one question that lingered was how was I to explain this to my peers. How will they take it? So I didn’t tell anyone about it until I had to.

Board exams! (Part 2) As my board exams were nearing, it was quite hard to know where to start studying or how to even go about it. But the syllabus was much easier than I had anticipated and the tutor I had she really planned everything on my behalf, right from how we were going to go about the lessons. Everything would be fine until I have a blank-out in my exams. The thing about the issues I have is that often times I feel like I’m not in control of what goes on in my head. Some days, the flow of information, input and output is brilliant and I feel like I could do a great job, be it with reading, writing or comprehension. Most often, however you don’t.

As I begin to read a lesson, everything is clear. I would understand what the chapter is about. But if I went back to the beginning and try to recall and explain what I read, the picture would remain in my head but the words wouldn’t form, though I knew what I wanted to say. It's like a jammed processor. When I try to answer even orally, I would end up sounding like I have no knowledge of the subject in question and this isn’t just in the area of academics. Though I would know the content, I wouldn't be able to form the words to express verbally or in writing.

My greatest hope was that everything would be in control during the exam. Finally, my boards started. I cannot explain how anxious I felt on the first day of the exam. It seemed like we were going to our first day of school with all the parents waiting outside to see us go in. I used to feel numb physically and mentally by the time I completed the examination. The whole process felt almost mechanical.

Surprisingly my board exams went pretty well, I had no blank outs. But the invigilators at the exam hall grew more and more impatient as time went by. Since I had an extra hour, they constantly reminded me to finish my paper as soon as I could, since they had other things to do. I found it quite distracting, but in all honesty, I couldn’t say a word. Though the board gave me concessions, it really didn’t trickle down to much.

Could NIOS have been a better option? Well maybe because I could have chosen subjects that I was interested in and take my time to finish each subject. But at the time I didn't think I needed it, I wasn't even sure if that option was necessary. I wanted to go about it the usual way and complete class 10 with my classmates. Today I can proudly say I scored an 87%