My guide to preparing for exams

Mar 21, 2015, 08:14 IST | Rohan Joshi

Like all good Indians, a large part of my sense of self-worth comes from the exams I have given. On average, I still wake up three nights a week in a cold sweat, roused in terror from a nightmare in which I have either missed a paper, or studied for the wrong one. However, as my breathing normalises, I realise that I’m an adult and that means never having to give an Indian exam ever again. So I high-five myself, turn the pillow over to avoid the bit that’s gone cold from drool, and go back to sleep.

However, some of you are at this point either preparing for or sitting through exams. This is a nervous, defining point in a young Indian’s life, so to you I want to say Hahahahahahahahahahasuccckkerrrrrrrsss. I’m sure you have questions about this trying time, so I have prepared a handy guide to help you out.

How should I prepare for my exams? Study. Because it’s the right, disciplined thing to do. Representation pic/Thinkstock
How should I prepare for my exams? Study. Because it’s the right, disciplined thing to do. Representation pic/Thinkstock

Are exams important?
If your last name is Ambani, nope. If it isn’t, yup.

Why? Will a good score help me get into a good college?
Sadly, no. It will not. Because at this point you’re probably giving board exams. To get into a good college, you’ll have to finish the boards and then give another equally difficult exam for your specialisation, then fail at that, kill yourself because your scumbag support system will humiliate you for your failure, and then come back in your next life to give the exam again. By your 15th life, you will clear both exams and get into a good college. Following which you will immediately be killed again by the brutality that passes for “ragging” in this country.

Wait, so then why are good scores important?
Because you probably live with a family, in a building, within a society, in a neighbourhood, in a city, that will judge your character and fibre as a person based on how much you score. If you score well, you achieve something more important than academic success. Your good score:
>> Shuts your own family up (for a week) about “paying attention to studies”
>> Gives your grandmother ammunition against that uncle who keeps bragging about how his kids are in IIT
>> Gives acidity to six competitive aunties
>> REALLY pisses off that d*ck in your class who keeps talking about how he eats 21 Paper Sets for breakfast and poops Model Answer books afterwards
Trust me, the smugness a good score buys you outweighs any academic benefit it may have.

What all do I need for my exams?
Three ballpens, in case one dies. A ruler and some pencils, because if you doubt the quality of your answer, the best way to fool an examiner is to underline the ever-loving shit out of everything. In India, neatness is an acceptable substitute for ignorance.

How should I prepare for my exams?
Study. Because it’s the right, disciplined thing to do. But only because of that. Cut out the bullshit. Don’t worry about the future, and your career, and letting other people down. I promise you, it doesn’t matter what happens, it doesn’t matter if your papers get eaten by leopards that ISIS sent to destabilise India. No matter how big the train wreck, I promise you tomorrow will be okay, and there is a place in the sun for you, and it isn’t dictated by numbers on a piece of paper.

Anything else?
Yes, remind your family to overreact to the situation. You do not prepare for your exams, WE prepare for them. We don’t support you, we go to war for you. Remind both parents to take four months of leave from work. This is not to help you prepare, but for the all-important ritual of your family accompanying you in droves to the examination centre so they can stand around looking worried for two hours as you give the paper, and then get more worried as they trade notes with other families who are doing the same thing, and then die of a heart-attack as a result of the worry, thus making the exams more important, because now you’re the sole bread-winner.

I guess what I’m saying is, no pressure.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on

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