E is for Exam Musings
There are quite a number of teaching related ‘E-s’ I could write about, and quite a bit that I can discuss about Exams. In fact, I’m struggling to focus on an aspect to explore in this post; so I’m just going to share some of my immediate thoughts about it. 🙂
I’m in full-gear exam preparation mode at the moment even though I’m on Easter holiday. I have about 10 hours or so of lessons left with three of my external exam groups; thankfully more with the fourth one.
These exams are a very important education rite of passage in the UK. One – GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) – wraps up 5 YEARS of secondary education. The other – A (Advanced) levels – concludes 2 YEARS of post-secondary education. Their outcomes invariably determines their next step: College or Sixth Form, subject choices, job market, government benefit etc; and later on, University, course of study, future job options etc. They even feed into the kind of groups students have access to and their relationships. And these of course impacts the ongoing development of their personality, ambition, hopes and dreams.
The exam period tends to be a time of tension, hurry, intensity, and stress; both for senior and middle leadership, subject teachers, and of course the students being examined. It is also a time when other students (who don’t have exams) are not as prioritized in getting any offerings beyond the minimum expected.
At the start of exam courses, I tell my students about how essential it is for them to take it seriously from the beginning.
I tell them how
… giving their full attention in lessons …
… consistently putting their best effort into their homework …
… revising as they go through the course …
… being organised and structured with their work ..
would help them to avoid running around
like a headless chicken nearer the exam. A headless chicken is not a pretty sight, I’ve unfortunately seem it before.The chicken runs aimlessly in a different direction from its head whilst blood gushes out of its neck and splatters everywhere. It was a horrible scene that happened by accident; a result of bad planning, poor workmanship, and inadequate judgement.
Lack of adequate time and good planning for exam preparation over the period of an examined course will most likely result in students feeling very overwhelmed and lost. The desire to pass
without giving it what it takes and the awareness of how much needs to be reviewed weeks before an exam is off-putting to an unprepared student.
It also makes teachers feel like a broken record, and it’s hard not to think
and say, ‘I told you so’.
I think I get it though, disciplining oneself to achieve good results is hard work; and more so in subjects you don’t care about. Nonetheless, isn’t the potential impact of these exams on ones future prospect a good enough motivator to really try hard?
O well, we all live and learn, hey! All the very best to all my students in all their exams; the teachers who prepare them for it, and the system that keeps it going. 🙂
What comes to your mind when you think of exams?