The months after the board exams spew various opinions about the actual importance of marks in our career and life, parents, counselors, stand-up comedians, and even various celebrities would go on and tell students that “marks don’t matter, look at XYZ, he got 50% in class 12th boards, and look where he is now” and more of the same kind.
In all honesty, these are sugar-coated attempts to make kids feel good about their performances in the board exams. Saying that your marks do not matter at all would be one big fat lie, and nothing else. The people who go around telling students that marks do not matter are those whose fate wasn’t in a position to be decided by board marks. Musicians, actors, or other artists require skills to ply their trade, skills that no amount of top grades can ever match or reproduce.
Okay, what about the normal bunch? People, who aren’t as talented as, say, actors?
It is obvious that board marks cannot decide what one eventually becomes in life, but they do influence the path that one takes. For instance, Delhi University admits students to its various colleges based on the 12th board percentage of students, which thankfully is now changing with the announcement of the CUET 2022 exam. Try saying “marks do not matter” to a student who missed the cutoff on his/her course of choice by 0.2 percent. Getting into a prestigious college in India usually requires a high board percentage; if entrance exams are criteria, then a minimum cutoff of 60 or 75 percent is usually put by universities and institutes. Board marks matter, but not in all situations.
What do board marks reflect or signify?
Often board marks are thought of as an indicator of the intelligence and knowledge of a student. This could not have been any further from the truth. Board marks usually define the sincerity, determination, and hard-working potential of a student, since preparing for the exams takes a lot out of students. Studying for 10-12 hours every day, trying to remember all the important concepts from chemistry, remembering all the difficult calculus formulae, it does take a lot of hard work to make it happen. Students work tirelessly for hours and hours on end, they stop socializing with friends, they stop doing what they like, and dedicate their entire days to studying and working hard in order to get good grades. All of these factors- hard work, diligence, sincerity, and a willingness to sacrifice- are important traits in life that an individual must inculcate within him/herself.
So, if board marks do matter, what do we tell teenagers and students?
The best thing to tell students is that average or subpar results in board exams do not mean that all doors of opportunity are closed. Low grades aren’t the end of the world in any way, and you can still go on to live your life as you want it. Scoring fewer marks usually means that you’ll have to struggle a little more to get what you want, but if you try hard enough, you’ll get there.
Marks do matter but do not let them define who you are or what you become. The truth about marks is somewhere of a middle ground, with them neither mattering too much nor mattering too little. Striking the perfect balance, as is the case with many other things in life, is important when it comes to boards.
So, don’t stress out over a mark sheet, get ready for the million other fights that you have to face in your life! This is just the beginning!