Sunday, July 11, 2010

The exam bully

The thing about me and books is that we love to hang out with each other during normal school days, spending hours together... just laughing and fooling around as we learn new things and discuss new ideas. But as soon as exams starting drawing closer we fall apart. Hours are spend on the computer, in front of the television and chit chatting with friends and family instead then- while my poor books lie stacked away on the study table, in swirls of dust and in the company of those drugged mosquitoes that lurk in the shadows of that table when left in darkness for too long a time.

The fear and threat of the exam ‘bully’ pushes and me and my buddy books apart. Yes, exams are very much a bully, a mean nasty bully indeed. They ought to be locked up in jail for torturing students for all these years and for causing damage to the environment (all the trees that were brutally chopped down for making papers for exam booklets, of course). However, before I start degrading the old-time exam system - which has been evaluating students since time immemorial) let me just add that I do know that there are millions of students out there who study just out of fear of exams – right at the eleventh hour. Cramming in during the last tense moments, cursing teachers for not teaching something (which they did, by the way, while they were too busy chit-chatting, doodling away or just catching up on Z's in that ‘oh-so-boring’ class) and reading from short books (big books are just for decoration, you see). So in the end, what did you gain in those last tense moments? Fractured concepts and a traumatized mind that was forcefully fed with all sorts of jumbled up gibberish information? Use of exams, then? What about making learning fun, interesting and - most importantly natural- a way of life?

Hence, I feel, that there is a need to completely change the exam system. Can we not do away with them entirely and have a different evaluating system? Like interactive sessions, mind-stimulating tests at different times during the semester, vivas and presentations. Exam are evil. They need to be eliminated. Yes. They do.

"Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer." ~ Charles Caleb Colton

"In examinations, the foolish ask questions the wise cannot answer." ~ Oscar Wilde

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