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The Purpose of Exams

We all remember the exam period in schools. The daunting experience of entering the examination hall, finding your name on the exam desk and taking a seat with a booklet with blank paper and unknown questions. The sweaty hand palms and sickness feeling that seems to have made you forget everything that you have been revising for over the last previous few weeks (or in my case few days, I have always been a bit last minute). In all those years of school, college and university I always wondered what the main purpose was for exams. What would this stress achieve later in our lives? Luckily I am able to look into all this and finally learn that the stressful weeks truly are beneficial.

“Exams have an important role in the process of learning and in the whole educational institution.”

Exams and tests are a great way to assess what the students have learned with regards to particular subjects. Exams will show what part of the lesson each student seems to have taken the most interest in and has remembered.

With every pupil being so individual, exams are also a great way for teachers to find out more about the students themselves. The test environment comes with added stress, which allows teachers to work out how their students argue and how they think individually by their works, which is a great attribute for them to keep in mind for future class activities.

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Strengths and weaknesses can also be assessed through exams. The teachers will be able to understand where more attention in class may be needed when teaching the particular subject. A pattern of weaknesses may be apparent when marking the works. This is where mock tests are a great technique to use when teaching before the formal examinations. This will give students and teachers the opportunity to understand where their weaknesses may be, in time for the preparation of the formal exam. This will give them all the chance to ensure that they are able to achieve the best of their abilities in class, thus helping them in the future.

School becomes more demanding as you get older. As you grow as a person, you also do as a student and the school curriculum becomes more demanding. Exams allow higher education establishments to assess whether the students applying are going to be able to deal with the work demand. Although this idea of “ranking students capability based on grades” seems harsh, it is an easier way for them to assess the students’ potential, which becomes even more important with regards to higher education establishments.

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The exam process is beneficial to the school in regards to assessing where faculties and particular classes need more focus or resources. Schools need to ensure that they are offering students the best that they are able to and exams are a great technique to use to monitor the progress and effectiveness of that particular class. School administrators can see where improvement may be needed within the school, college or university based on the students’ grades. Studies have shown that a “happier class has higher grades” so a pattern of similar average results may indicate the motivation that a particular class may have or not.

After reading about all the benefits and advantages gained, it just goes to show that the stress, pulling my hair out was all worth it in the long run. I have found my strengths and weaknesses, applying them to where I am now. I am starting to realise that the age old saying “school is the best days of your life” could actually be true… 

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Posted by: Michael Hurd

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