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Exams! Exams! Exams! Exams are the dreaded word that plagues you during student life. As an adult who is done and dusted with this nightmare, you may look back more often than once wondering if all that stress and trauma was after all worth the while. For starters let’s take a step back and analyze what skills one is expected to acquire during the course of education. Well the skills that are used in everyday life, the skills that allow one to get a job and succeed in their field of choice are surely the skills that one should acquire in the formative years. In this case logic, analytical ability, memory, communication skills and interpersonal skills will probably top the list of most people. Of course there is also the actual knowledge which needs to be tested!
What skills do exams test?
Now though exams are a mode of testing, the manner in which the test is administered can decide what skills are actually tested. The regular ones requiring long winded answers test your memory and perseverance coz surely you must work hard to cram all that stuff into your head and then retain them long time to put them down on paper. In the more objective format of exams, it can be argued that logic and analytical ability is tested.
Upside of exams
Structure is probably the biggest upside of exams. When you know you have exams around the corner you make a serious attempt to actually stop fooling around and make good use of your time to actually study. They help you deliver results under pressure. Memory is certainly sharpened and they can also make you very competitive. This is arguably a great virtue in today’s world.
Downside of exams
You forget what you cram and write. Then why bother! This is the age old argument which works against exams. The wise are known to argue that education must cause a student to think, become inquisitive and have an unquenchable thirst to seek knowledge. It is well known that the human brain has an expiry dated storage space for information and hence pundits believe that we need to create an ambience where we nurture genuine students of knowledge who are passionate about learning. Exam centricity takes away the joy of learning since it is a closed approach; not many excel in the format though they may be inherently very intelligent and it also does not nurture passion of learning but actually serves to detract from that stated objective.
Also there are those scores of cases which point at psychological and physical trauma such as illness and depression owing to unwarranted stress levels. Man evolves with time and so will the educational system and the methodology of testing. While in the short to midterm, exams are here to stay, there may be a day when a bold patriarch chooses to shun this process and allow students to flourish in a non-threatening environment which sustains the process of natural learning. There are already a few examples of such forms in modern day society and it will not be surprising that these voices gather momentum with the years to come!