For those who did not do well in KCPE

Immediately someone we know joins Class 8, we give them a nickname that we have been using over the years, “Candidate.” It’s like we forget their real names and for that year we remind them that their most important job in school is to sit for KCPE exams. In our conversations we say, “This is my sister, she is a candidate,” or “I have two candidates in my house.” For some it starts early “Don’t you know you’re a candidate next year?”

All candidates should know that the secret to passing exams is writing the correct answers to the questions asked. That’s it. You don’t have to sleep with a textbook over your head so that the information can move to your head through osmosis. Neither do you need to slip some money into your exam papers to ‘motivate’ the teacher to give you good grades. You can save the cash for celebration later.

But writing the correct answer is not as easy as it sounds. At times you know the answer to a different question or you can’t remember anything at all. When you remember how your parents have promised to fill your room with pizza if you pass, answers may start evaporating and in the end you get less marks than you expected.

The reality is most of us don’t get the marks we wanted in KCPE. Some spend days crying in their rooms knowing that they worked for a better grade. Others are aware that they were not prepared for the exam and therefore did not expect to do well. The results may come with a feeling of discouragement but it should not be the end of everything.

It is important to accept your results no matter how bad you think they are. KCPE is just a stepping stone to other levels of education so do not let it discourage you or make you feel like your future is bleak.

Parents could be of major help at this time. If you were promised a room full of pizza you should still get it because you passed to the next level and you were honourable enough not to cheat. No one should be punished for getting poor results. Extra care should be given to make sure that the discouragement does not turn to depression or other serious effects.

The sooner you accept your results, the easier it is to look ahead and realise that you still have a bright future. At this point you could also evaluate what went wrong. Maybe when you enterred the exam room, you saw that the exam paper was pink and you started thinking, “Gosh! The exam is pink. Mum’s slippers are pink. If I fail she’ll beat me up with her pink slippers. I can’t fail,” but in the process you ended up panicking and were not able to concentrate on doing the test. If your problem was panicking, you need to put measures in place that ensure you handle issues a bit better in future.

Analysing the exam results, one could be able to see the weaknesses and strengths. Since all of us are unique and we all have our favourite subjects, you can tell what to enjoy and you can start working on a career. At KCPE level, you may not be sure what you want to pursue but you can start developing your own interests.

Just remember that a Class eight certificate does not define you. It is just a stepping stone to greater things. Once you get to high school you can work harder and become the person you want to be. It does not even matter that you were not able to be admitted to the high school of your dreams. Many have had surprising achievements from circumstances and so can you. Take courage and be great!