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Archive for June 7th, 2013

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It’s that time of year again … exam time!

ae85c17eda2d3c8bc0cb18388a4075c3Either you, or someone in your life has just finished, just started, about to start or is in the midst of exam season.

It causes stress, manifested in a variety of ways …

anger or tears,
insatiable or absence of an appetite,
sweating or freezing,
insomnia or exhaustion.

The one thing that all exams do is bring to the surface … stress.

For some there is so much riding on the exam … perhaps whether they pass or fail, whether they get that job promotion, or raise, whether they can move on in their studies or not.

3cb8ea67646ee947903be47ac2843dc1For some the risk of the exam is minimal (other than the physical and emotional stress received simply from having to write it).

I have watched students walk into an exam room looking as though they are walking to their own executions. I have observed the laying out of pens, pencils, erasers and calculator more methodically than the steps in disarming a bomb. I have watched the twisting and turning of hair, tongue and entire face as though possessed in a Poltergeist fashion.

They fret, they fear and the f-word that is most dreadful to them is failure.

I often wonder if we called an exam a quiz, would students perform better on it? They do have a very distinct way of viewing the importance of a quiz, a test and an exam.

My greatest memory of exam time was that if our marks were above a certain mark we did not have to write the final, whole year, exam. Let me tell you, that motivated me to keep my marks up all year long. As a student with not great retention of information that I would file as “will never use again in my life,” I was determined to avoid having to write finals (the mid-term exams which were not exempt-able, were enough to convince me to study).

Really we need to remember that it is just an exam. An imperfect, often inaccurate tool of assessment of learned materials. The most important assessment tool is life. I guess we could say it is not how we did on the exam, it is how we did handling the pressure as we prepared for and wrote it.

And soon, if not already, they will be done 😉

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