Well, I’m glad that is finally over.
I can now put behind me the last few weeks of living in a library and dreaming about the Meiji Restoration, amongst other very strange academically related things.
Exam season is hell. Ask any student and they’ll tell you. Seemingly endless and repetitive reading of the same material over, and over, and over again. You take notes from what you read, take notes from the notes you made while you were reading and then, make notes on the notes of the notes. An almost insane attempt at distilling incredible volumes of information into little shot glasses of A4 paper. The expression ‘mind numbing’ really dosen’t do revision justice and frankly, watching paint dry is far less tedious.
No I’m not a big fan of examinations.
In my eyes they are a dated form of assessment that encourages the students taking them at various levels to become memory machines, as opposed to critical and creative organic beings. Unfortunately this dosen’t take away from the fact that currently, education at every level is littered with the examination format of assessment. This said, the exam format does encourage and improve information handling skills as well as discipline. But I’m pretty sure that computers are alright at handling vast amounts of information and I’ve never had to tell my laptop off for anything.
Realistically, being a student I am in a slightly bias position to be critical of current education assessment methods. Or am I?
Eitherway I figure there’s little point moaning every time I get an exam timetable, so I guess that what I tell myself is the best advice I can give. Where exams are concerned, you get out what you put in. Plan it, stick at it, work hard, and provided everything goes well on the day you’ll pass.
If then, like me you really don’t like exams choose subjects and modules which place more, if not all emphasis upon essay, portfolio and practical work. I was lucky this year as the Leicester University Sociology Department offers a number of optional modules in the second year. While the majority of them carry the traditional 50 per cent essay 50 per cent exam weighting, there are a few exceptions. For example the ‘A Sociology of Fashion’ module had absolutely no exam. Yep you did read that correctly NO EXAM! That’s not to say it was an easy module, far from it.
So to all you students out there currently going through exams, regardless of the level, good luck.
(And best wishes to my eldest niece who has thirteen exams to battle through during her GCSE’s. Good luck Kat)