The make or break of your high school life, well, that’s what you’re made to believe.
Exams are not a test of your knowledge or your understanding of a topic, exams are a convenience for everyone but students that aim to test a persons ability to recall information in a different context to what the information was learned.
If the education ministers, and the VCAA or whoever runs your schooling system understood anything about adolescences or the way the brain worked they would know that tests are subjective to a minority of people who work well in that situation.
We are taught all though our schooling that everyone learns in different ways, some people like to draw things out, some like to colour-code notes, some people like quiet spaces and some do not. The real question is; if we all learn in varying ways, why do we insist that they are tested the same? As albert Einstein said, ‘everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
One of my close friends is photogenic, he can memorise the entire textbook back to front and recall facts at any time.
Me, on the other hand, I choose to voice my ideas and opinions, I like to research and write in my own time, but I have a complete inability to write an essay in a specific area, in a specific time frame.
This concept of exams is to measure the amount of knowledge a person can memorise, not necessarily the knowledge learned. Whilst the need for exams is highly debated across the world, there is still a consensus, in adults, that students need to be examined, graded and then if good enough accepted to university.
Throughout my entire schooling, we have been given tests, spelling quizzes, multiplication quizzes, these quizzes moved into graded assignments and tests on key knowledge, key knowledge moved into everything we had learned, and tests turned into SACs that counted to our final grades and then GATs to regulate our scores at the end of the year 12, and then finally our finals. Finals, a three week process in which students could have five exams in four days or three exams in three weeks. This process can severely alter persons results due to their own schedule which they had no choice in.
Last year I was the person with five exams in four days, that led to me being severely sick for two weeks after because my body couldn’t cope with the excess stress that was put onto my body. Also known as Allostatic overload. This year, I’m the person with three exams in three weeks, and that is also taking its toll on me, because now I’m expected to be studying every single day leading up to my last day when I just need a break, leading me once again to reduce my immune systems function and get sick.
There is no middle in creating an exam situation that doesn’t make it harder for the student, I myself prefer group projects, and papers, assignments and presentations. I like to discuss things, to understand other peoples ideas and not just my own.
I do not do well in exam situations.
And I feel like a let down.
My teachers always praise me for being such a smart, ambitious young lady and I believe them but after exam results I feel as if I’m a fraud. I study, I spend most of my time studying and yet I still can’t seem to manage to process a whole two years of information for several subjects in a few hours.
What about those students who are having a bad week, found out sad news about a family member, who are sick, who’s heads are not truly in the exam. There are so many extraneous variables that one could have that could lead to a higher probability of doing badly than just not knowing the information.
Once we get into the real world, we don’t get tested on how much we can memorise and recall in a two-hour period. We don’t get asked to answer maths questions without calculators or quote a book without the book in front of us.
So although we still continue to be subjected to exams, like test animals, I have compiled a list of exam tips and tricks;
1. wear comfy clothing – who cares if you look pretty or not, no one is going to notice
2. wear layers – it might be really cold or hot and you need to be prepared because you can’t leave the room
3. take in your favourite pen – it makes it a little bit more fun
4. actually have a big breakfast – coming from a person who doesn’t usually eat breakfast, it’s a must. Your brain needs the nutrients
5. don’t keep looking at the clock – it’ll stress you out more and make you rush through questions, meaning you’ll be loosing marks
6. don’t be that person that taps your pen on the table, chews your gum or huffs every five seconds – if you are most likely as you walk out of the exam room someone will murder you
7. do understand the rules of the examination process – you don’t want to be kicked out and fail high school
8. writing your name on the paper means you pass because you turned up but if that’s all you do you’ll get a 0
9. if your stuck on a question – go to the bathroom, the walking will get your blood pumping and make your brain process faster
10. just breathe
The number of things an exam will count for;
1. A number
2. If you get into your preferred university course – if you don’t there are so many other university’s that may lead to something better
3. Gloating to your younger siblings that you’ve finished
4. About a week of discussion with friends about results and then no one cares
5. No one at university cares about your score because you’re all in the same place
6. No one at your job will care about your score because once again you all got to the same place one way or another
7. You finished
8. You can burn all your books now because you don’t need them any more
9. Its now summer so you can go get a tan and realise how life is great no matter what your score
10. They do not test your knowledge, intelligence or practicality in the world, so essentially exams count for nothing.