Smile more to score more in exams: Modi to students

He also asked students to chose 'anuspardha' (competing with self) over 'pratispardha' (competing with others).

New Delhi: With the exam season round the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today exhorted students and their families to treat exams as a festival and not as a source of stress, saying they should "smile more to score more" and not take it as "test of life".

In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast, he underlined the need for students to relax by taking breaks from studies and rest properly and said that the memory's recall power is at its best when the mind is relaxed.

He also asked students to chose 'anuspardha' (competing with self) over 'pratispardha' (competing with others) and cited the example of legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar who kept challenging himself and bettered his records.

Students, parents and teachers were the focus of Modi's 40-minute address as he noted that he found exams a source of concern for them wherever he went all these years and he always felt that they should come out of this "strange psychological pressure".

"Examination should be a source of happiness. It should be seen as an opportunity to highlight all the hard work you have done in a year. There should be enthusiasm and zest. It is your decision to treat as a pleasure or pressure. Those who treat it as a pleasure will gain and those who treat it as pressure will repent.

"My view is that examination is a celebration. Take it as if it is a festival. And when there is a festival or celebration, then the best comes out of us. We feel the society's strength during celebrations. Whatever is the best comes out... Smile more to score more," he said.

He gave the example of discipline seen among masses in 'kumbh' fair even though it is generally felt that there is a lot of indiscipline among people. "This is the strength of celebration."

During examination, there should be a festive atmosphere among students, families and neighbours and it will convert this pressure into pleasure.

He also asked people to put examination in perspective and not treat it as "a question of life and death or as a test of life but merely of the study students have put in during the year".

He urged students not to chase marks but gain knowledge.

"Only studying for marks will lead to shortcuts and one will limit himself or herself. It is important to study for knowledge. Marks and marksheetd have a limited use.

Knowledge, skill, self-confidence and commitment will be of use to you during life," Modi said.

He have the example of late President A P J Abdul Kalam's failure in an air force recruitment examination and said had he accepted it as a defeat, then India would not have got such a great scientist and President.

He also asked students to desist from resorting to shortcuts and cheating to score more.

"To cheat is to be cheap. It makes you a bad person. If you form a habit of cheating, there will be no desire to learn. Trying to cheat involves one's time to find ways. Use it for better purposes. People have told you often but I am saying again -- do not cheat. Even if no one catches you, you know that you have cheated in exams," he said.

Turning his focus to parents, Modi said they should accept their children as they are and not burden them with expectations.

"There is a lot of discussion about the weight of students' school bag. It seem that the weight of parents' expectations is more. Expectation is at the root of problems while acceptance gives you an opportunity to improve things and look for new ways," he said, asking them to spend quality time with their children.

Underlining the need to avoid competing with others, he said it leads to jealousy, disappointment and complacency while if one competes with oneself it leads to stronger resolve, introspection and inspiration.

Highlighting the need to play sports even as they prepare for exams, he said, "Letter 'P' is for preparation and 'P' is also for play. The person who plays shines. Proper rest, adequate sleep and physical exercise should be there...

"A happy mind is the secret for a good marksheet. When you are tense, knowledge takes a back seat. Do not let that happen."

He asked students to strike a balance between their mission and ambition, saying if they do it, good marks will follow them.

The burden of scoring good marks at times prevents them from taking the right path, he said, noting that people never inquire about how much marks a doctor or a lawyer has scored when they go to them.

In a lighter vein, Modi said parents and teachers may not like his emphasis on the need for relaxing and playing.

"Whatever I say, it does not mean that you keep sleeping or your family will blame me when the marksheet comes... You should not allow whatever I have said to become a burden. Do it if possible or leave it."

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