Why are Indians so good at test-taking? India’s first competitive exam

Post-mortem: A recent article in the New York Times on pressures facing school-leaving teenagers in India brought back my own personal memories of the Higher Secondary and various competitive examinations. Some things never change.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right? I mean, those of us that survived live fairly normal lives as long as we don’t miss therapy and take the green pill in the morning, the blue one in the afternoon, and the red one at night. Oh that, and we have to avoid bright light. Did I mention the back-aches and the arthritis?

Not a big price to pay in order to enjoying the wonderful view from a cubicle.

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22 thoughts on “Why are Indians so good at test-taking? India’s first competitive exam

    1. Technically I am not in a cubicle. I have an office with a nice view, but that doesn’t sound as dramatic, does it Jenee?


      Have a great weekend!

  1. I am shivering big time thinking of those exams and that pressure surrounding it…When i used to worry before a exam people around me used to say “Dont worry betaa…the whole life is an exam” Crap…nothing comes close to tension of an exams….

    Phewww…I am of to doc i am on the verge nervous breakdown remembering those days and U r the culprit Mr Anirban :p 😀 .

    1. Tough times, but as therapists say, you should not push it to the back of your mind. To let the “healing process” being you should talk about it.


  2. This reminds me of those days too. Who the hell says that student/childhood life was wonderful blah blah. Indian educational system is a total failure with rote learning and mugging up. Most of the kids don’t have the basics right and I shouldn’t even mention practical knowledge. The teachers came out of the same system and they hate their work.Coz the students hate them as they can barely elicit any attention(mostly). Sports/play are looked down upon and this does more harm to a human brain than good[no endorphines for Indian kids :P].
    [sorry for this long post 😀 ]

    1. No need to apologize for the length. I like reading the comments more than writing the post.

      I agree with you 100% regarding the teachers. But they are not the only ones to blame. We all love our parents (and perhaps some of us are parents too), but parents share the burden too for pressurizing their kids.

      Our whole educational system tells you who you should be instead of letting you be who you want to be and doing a good job at it.

  3. I feel our generation was fairly blessed if we look at kids now a days. So much of studies, pressure and competition. On top of that let us not forget the distractions of TV, Facebook, texting and other nonsensical stuff.

    For us it all started and ended with Doordarshan 🙂 and an occasional movie.

    Exams were bugging and did cause sleepless nights but thank god I think I saved a lot of money and time on Therapy.

    1. I agree with you, LP. (What’s new, right? LOL) These kids have so much pressure and have a worse time than we did. The competition is greater, and the stakes are higher, but the rewards are greater too.

      I think the worst times might have been a few years before ours. In the 70s-80s there were few non-engineering IT jobs, BPOs, or jobs in general apart from ‘sarkari naukri.’ In 1990 there were 5 IITs. Now there are 15. The opportunities to go abroad were limited too. I can see a whole class of people born just before us who are underpaid and underachieving and there is a lot of resentment.

  4. Absolutely brilliant and funny 😀

    Only, ‘Ravananda’ is not quite a kingly name. Something like Rana Ravanendra Singh Rathore might fit the bill.

  5. Thank you dear sir for I may perhaps claim to be the muse for the post:)

    LP….our life was bliss in comparison. The Science syllabus in class 12 is equal to BSc levels in our times. Nish/ Sushmita – Class 12 were the worst days of my life 😦

  6. hmmm..maybe it would be better if they disemboweled us with a sword nowadays!! 😛

    Thanks for stopping over at my blog! Yes, the visa is an H1B and I intend to take every scrap of paper depicting my life!!

  7. I do wish sometimes that they bring some changes into the system you know.

    But of late , it seems to be snowballing into a much worse situation,with even kindergartens and primary schools applicants being screened thro interviews.

    1. Didn’t they ban that sort of thing in many states recently? I think some states, they have a lottery system, which isn’t fair either.

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