The word “Exam” is the nightmare of the lives of most of the students. They bring a lot of stress, anxiety and frustration with them. If you ask a school student that whether they want to take an examination or not, I am damn confident that majority would say “NO”. Exams are considered as a source of grading the capabilities of students. It is a standard system to test knowledge which is being practiced in almost all schools. It is the fear of both, bright and weak students. You like it or not but you have to take exams every year because there is no other system being introduced by experts yet. There are some advantages and disadvantages of exams for school students. Why I target only school students? Yes, it’s because the grading points and ranking systems affect more school students compared to university or college students. What I’m expecting is, the government of each country has to consider and make some slight changes in school examinations. Alright, let’s have a look the types of exams and advantages and disadvantages of exams for school students.
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There are different types of exams in order to check the learning ability of students. Mainly there are two types of exams
1 – Objective type – It includes MCQ’s, true/false, short questions etc.
Multiple Choice exams
These types of exams are also known as “MCQ’s”. In these exams, candidates are given with different options, with a question. These types of exams are used to check your ability to recall and connecting the correct information with the question. You have to select the correct statement from several given statements.
In these types of exams, different statements are given, which can be correct or not. You can determine the correct statement or wrong statement easily if you have studied the whole course thoroughly and attentively. Sometimes, these type of questions includes “Not Given” statement along with the True or False statement. But mostly “Not Given” includes for college or university level examinations since it’s little harder than only True/False questions. These exams are again the best source of checking your ability to recall.
In these types of exams, the candidate is required to write two or three lined answers the given question. The purpose of these exams is to check, whether the students have memorized the important information regarding the course/ subject or not.
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2 – Subjective type – It includes essays, open book or takes home exams, case-based or problem-based etc.
In this exam, you have to provide information about the given topic. There is no hard and fast rule, regarding the length of these types of exams. Sometimes students may be given options, for example, they may be given 2-3 different topics and they have to pick one among them. Before writing any essay you must have background information about the topic. Also, you must have some idea of the content of essay before writing it.
Open book/Take home exams
These types of exams are slightly different from other exams as you don’t have to thoroughly revise or memorize your entire course while taking these exams. All of your textbooks and notes are with you and you can take complete help from them. The examiner will definitely expect more detail, which is written in your textbooks or notes. The best tip is to organize all your lectures and notes properly so you may not miss any important point. And of course, proper attention during the class is also essential. Since it’s open book exam, this exam restricts under a certain time limit and more chances that you won’t have enough time to complete the exam. So more practice within the time limit will help you to succeed this type of examination.
Case-based/ problem-based exams
These types of exams are basically designed to evaluate, how well you can respond, deal or handle a certain situation or difficulty. They are also one of the best ways of evaluating your analytical skills. They focus on how your brain works rather than how much information you have. You may be very good at memorizing theory but may have no idea how to practically implement it. They check how well expert you are in applying your knowledge.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Exams
There are some advantages and disadvantages of taking exams for school students:
Advantages of Exams
1 – Exams help the individuals in broadening knowledge:
Exams are a fair way of telling the individuals, how much knowledge they have of the respective course or subject. It encourages them to work hard and learn. They try to gain more and more knowledge. Just imagine a school student without any examinations. If there are no examinations, they won’t study at home at any time and they focus on playing play stations, Xbox game, Wii games at all the time except their school hours. Playing every time or watching TV all the time definitely diminish the school children knowledge. So end of the day their brain have full of TV shows and Games names instead of knowledge for their future life. In this case, exams are essential in order to regulate school students and make them concentrate on studies at home.
2 – Create competition:
Exams also create competition among the individuals, which push them to acquire more knowledge. It also pushes the competitors to give their best. Competition is in everywhere. If you become a president, there is a competition, if you become a general manager, there is a competition, if you become a school principal, there is a competition, if you want to become a gold medalist, there is a competition. Likewise, competition is one of the essential things in this world to become number one in every department. Without a competition, this world won’t run successfully. So, it’s good to create competition among school students and you can do that by commenting examinations in different stages.
3 – Scholarships and bright future:
When an individual works hard and tries to maintain good grades, it will lead him/ her to get scholarships and chances for studying at prestigious institutes. Those prestigious institutes will lead him/her to get a good job that will ultimately result in having bright future and luxurious lifestyle. Basically, only college and university students get scholarships and follow their higher studies in best universities around the world. But nowadays this scholarship scenario comes in schools as well. Even school student get scholarships and follow their studies abroad. So having exams among school student will help to pick few intelligent and provide them with certain kind of scholarship which allow them to study at any schools around the world with free of charge or with half payment.
4 – Develops personality and confidence:
Knowledge not only helps to get good grades in exams but it also helps in the development of personality. The individuals become more confident and expert in their respective fields. Exams always raise a kid with full of confidence. When school children attempt the exams in every stage, they will free from panic and grow with full of confident which helps the most when they face interviews for their future career. So exams surely help any school kid with more confident and personality.
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Disadvantages of Exams
1 – Stress and anxiety:
The exam season brings a lot of stress and anxiety with it. Many students are not able to memorize due to the increased level of anxiety and stress. Some may face difficulties in concentrating on studies. Since the school students do not grow enough to face such stress situations, they will get panic and trembling. Some countries especially Asian countries set up a question paper harder than we think which bring more anxiety to a school student. School kids especially primary school kids have playing mind. So they really hard to focus on studies at their age. So it’s very important to think about examinations for little school kids.
2 – Not a fair way of testing someone’s knowledge:
Three hour or one and a half hour exam is not enough to judge the skills of an individual. There is a possibility that one cannot perform well during the exam, maybe because of some illness or maybe because of anxiety, he/she forgets the answer of question which is being asked. It’s like a test match and 20 – 20 cricket match. You can find a real talented batsman in only test matches. In 20 – 20 cricket match a player with luck can score runs or take wickets. The real talent won’t impact a little in 20 – 20 cricket match but it completely impacts in test matches. Likewise, you can’t assume a student’s real talent with just 1 or 2 exams. I’m sure that exams are not the only way to test a school student intelligence.
3 – Comparison among students:
Every individual has a different personality from other and every individual is capable of something. But in our schools and even in our homes, parents compare their kids with others. It is not good for kids. They will become depressed and lose confidence in themselves. There is a difference between comparison and competition. As I mentioned in advantages, competition is good for school kids. But when they compare to each other, it won’t be good for their future life. Exams sure make students compare with each other student which will ruin their life. This is one of the disadvantages for the exam in school students, so the government has to think about these examinations for small kids.
4 – Cramming:
In order to get good grades, students try to do their best to memorize the course which they are being taught in schools. It will limit the amount of knowledge, the students are acquiring. Most of the students begin to cram the course, without understanding it properly. They may get good grades at school, but cramming will never help them in practical field as their concepts are not cleared completely. This is why the recruiting companies focus more on experience rather than the qualifications.
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In the end, no one can deny the importance of exams but our system of taking the exams needs to be revised. The main focus should be on understanding the concepts and attaining knowledge rather than getting good grades in exams. And someone fails in the exam it doesn’t mean, that kid is capable of nothing, they will surely have other skills which you as a parent or teacher have to discover. I would say, exams are essential in order to compete with others and study hard. But the exams for school children especially primary school children is worthless, instead, you can do more practical sessions for them and allow their brain to build up with real knowledge. Please don’t force anything to learn for school children, but force yourself to get to know what they really need in order to build their knowledge.