Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's All About Planning Ahead

I'm sneaking out some time between the rocking back and forth and memorising and the anxiety driven eating binges to bring you this post on the Board Exams. Straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. While the horse (metaphor for the Boards) is slowly chewing me up like unpalatable dried up oats.
So between mouthfuls, I am going to dish out some Board advice.
There are really only two ways to ace the Boards for sure. You can go for either Plan A or Plan B.

PLAN A. The Cut Me And I’ll Bleed Plan

Before the Boards:
As soon as possible: Practice writing in beautiful cursive, with (i) flourishes (ii) curly underlines and (iii) bold, italic, underline, shadow and other effects in Microsoft Word. Time yourself to do it very fast. Everyone knows the prettiness of the paper is the most important thing.

A year ago: Start calling up the Board hotlines. And the newspaper and radio people. Also Star Ananda, who will broadcast anything. Tell them and anyone else who will listen that Board stress is killing you. Be very graphic. Get a blog, and write lots of ddmp, or deep dark morbid poetry, sending everyone the link. (If you can’t get morbid enough, get it off the Sunday Statesman). Make sure you’re well known as the nutcase who’ll jump off a building if the exams go badly.

A month ago: Study only seemingly irrelevant things like chapter headings and the exact phrasing of formulae and theorems. Practice writing only and precisely 60 word and 100 word answers; don’t bother about content. The Board allots the most marks for things like that.

During the Exam:
Wherever you find a suitable question, insert a line about how exam stress is killing today’s children, and how a recent study has proved that they’re losing hair at an alarming rate. Then tear out a clump of yours and strew it about on the page. Fold it in carefully.

Don’t forget to get your name in somewhere. It’s illegal, but by that time every examiner will know your name, if you’ve gone public properly, and no one will want to risk the aforementioned jumping-off-a-building stunt. (Look at how the gaaonwalo meekly relented to Dharmendra in Sholay.)

Try not to think of the shambles you’ve made of your life in the past year. Oh, and buy huge dark shades and a cap with a low brim for when you go out.

OR, you could try plan B.

PLAN B: The KickAss–est Plan Ever

As soon as possible: Go to the gym. Learn karate or tae-kwon-do, if you’re frail. Or learn to handle a knife like the Italians. Watch mafia and kidnapping movies and learn up the threats. You’ll need these skills more than brains or (yawn) perseverance.

A year ago: Start research about the Board paper distributing system. Find out the pattern of the fictitious roll numbers, and where your set will go. If possible, infiltrate a family member, not too close to be traced back to you, into the CBSE hierarchy.

A month ago: Pester your teacher until she tells you your exam center. Threaten her if necessary. Every night, bribe the guards and sneak in there. Calculate your seat very precisely (or some more bribing, later, might work to get the seat you want). Buy one of those newfangled Ultraviolet pens from Fancy Market or wherever, and write down all the formulae and facts and dates and other slippery things on the desk. It’ll be quite invisible.

Two weeks ago: Grab hold of the nearest engineering student, and make them give up all their cheat codes and tricks. (I’m telling you, these guys are the goods.) Also threaten the best student in class until she agrees to be your cheat partner.

Use the UV light provided on the back of the pen to look up anything you’re stuck on from your desk. Be generous-share with the person sitting beside you. (Or she might sneak to the invigilator.)
Keep your little knife handy. Whatever she might have promised, the class topper might not want to help at the last minute.
Fill your paper with religious symbols. It can’t hurt, and a superstitious examiner might totally fall for it. Alternatively, draw omens next to each page mark.

This is the most important part-since you’ve found out where your paper’s going, and have hopefully got an inside contact, and can handle knives like Ramon Zarate and threaten like Batman, I don’t think I need to tell you what to do. Anyway, it would probably make me an accessory after the fact. Whatever that's supposed to mean.

(Oh, and there is another way, which is to study hard throughout the year, but success is as yet unproven, usually very rare, and it’s all very unpredictable. I don’t really know how it’s done so I shouldn't comment, but even if I did, I wouldn’t recommend it at all.)