Exams

Okay. So to anyone here who cares enough to be reading this please prepare yourself. Because this entire post is going to be me venting about the exams that I am taking at my college. If the staff or someone at my college reads this then they’ll either understand my pain or I’ll get shouted at to take this down when I next walk through the doors. Either way, please know that this is just my coping mechanism and that I don’t mean most of the things that I am going to say. But if someone big gets to reading this… Then keep this in mind when you update the exam structure next (cause some of these points could make life so much better for everyone).

So, let’s begin shall we?

So I am just some kid in college who has to do their exams right? Yeah, we all know the feeling of dread right before an exam. The feeling of “Oh God have I revised everything I need to know?” …Yeah. That.

Anyway, I am one of the students who is given extra time in an exam. I get 25% more time than other students. Why? Because I am what some might call socially awkward… Now I always knew that I wasn’t the most charismatic guy in the world and I always had a feeling that I was kind of an introvert but I thought that was a bit harsh when I first heard the news (bear in mind that this was a solid 8 something years ago). They also didn’t say that I was socially awkward, but I’d rather not just have fragments of my medical history on the internet… So you know.

Anyway, it’s because of this that I am granted 25% extra time in my exams. Now, I am perfectly okay with any advantage I can get in an exam but even I think that this is stupid. What relevance does my social awkwardness have to my exam? I have racked my brain and I can only think of one situation where it would. This is if I was stuck on the phrasing of the question and was too worried to ask for help… Which I’m not. Not only is my comprehension above average (even if only slightly) but if I can’t understand the phrasing of the question… Then surely that’s my fault right? Not my social awkwardness.

I also get a laptop to use in the exam because my handwriting is awful. I’ve always tried to fix this but it never panned out. But because it didn’t, I get a laptop with Microsoft word and the spell checker turned off (obviously). Now for those who don’t know how this goes allow me to explain it to you… In a computer exam, I am required to do the following: place my name on each page, place my candidate number on each page and place the page number on each page. Now those things make perfect sense, I can understand all of that. But I never understood this one: Make sure you type with double spacing to assist the markers. Why do they need assistance with reading single space writing? Why? To put this into context, the answers are saved onto a memory stick and then sealed in a brown envelope that has your info on it. The memory stick is then delivered to some personnel who print it off.

Now, I’m not saying this to be mean. I don’t want a lot of backlash for this but… If you are unable to read a few single space pages of typed answers then why do you have a career in marking exam papers? For the record, candidates are required to type with Ariel font with a minimum of size 12. This means that the words should be perfectly legible as they are. But I am very used to typing on a laptop (as I use it in all of my lessons). Because of this, I am very used to typing all of my notes in single spaces. The very fact that I have to check my last paragraph to see if I remembered to use double space is seriously slowing down.

Now I can understand that some people’s eyesight might not be the best. I feel you. But seriously? This is ridiculous. There is no way that AQA or WJEC would hire someone whose eyesight was so bad that it made them unable to read single space text that was typed out in size 12 Ariel font.

My final gripe about exams is not about my own personal type of exam but the exam system itself. I can understand that we need to be tested on our natural ability but Jesus guys. At what point in our lives are we going to be stuck in a room on our own with no means of communication and no internet at the exact moment when we need to solve a particular problem? Pretty much never. I’ll admit that there are some circumstances but they are very unlikely to happen.

In a real world scenario, we will be able to find any information we need in literally about a minute and if we don’t understand something, there will almost always be someone nearby to help us. These are facts. One of my A Levels is Law ok? We learn about how the law is ever changing to suit the people, their morals and the changes in society. Allow me to ask a big question to everyone…

Why can’t exams do the same thing?

We make advances in our society every day for crying out loud! Why is it that we have to stick with these old-fashioned ways of testing each other? Let’s face it, the world is changing… We as people are changing. The way exams are now, we cannot call them accurate tests of our ability. This is because, in the world that we live in, we have the ability to aquire information at the click of a mouse. We have the ability to develop new ideas with the help of our friends and fellow collegues; things that we could never have attained on our own! So let’s make this work! If we all speak up about it then someone has to listen right? #ChangeExams

Welp, I’m all done here. If you want to give me your opinion then go for it. It’s only fair. I mean, you just spent God-knows how long reading my crap so tell me what you think!

Thanks for reading!

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