Saturday, November 7, 2009

Exams: A Case Study

Saturday, November 7, 2009
‘Exams’. How much we students fret just upon hearing that word, let alone when we are forced into the exam hall to do our exams. How we wish there were no exams, and how some even go on to the extent of cursing the poor guy who started something called ‘school’ which led to the existence of exams.

Like many events in life, there are pro’s and con’s to exams that are not only held in schools, but in colleges and universities throughout the world as well. Based on my opinion, exams are rigid and it is of no good to unearth the talent needed to drive the nation forward. Exams measure one’s textbook intelligence primarily, and that is an important point to be noted.

At the same time, I would say a good many students would not care about their studies if it were not for exams. Therefore, in a sense, exams pushes students to study. Otherwise, students will just go to school with the intention of disrupting law and order.

In truth, exams are not a prerequisite for success in life. Many, for instance Bill Gates and Albert Einstein, did not do too well in their exams in school. The reason why many study hard for exams is because it will offer them a stable job in the future.

Say, for example someone scores brightly in school, and carries on that form into college and university; it is highly likely that that person would become a successful individual in their career thereafter. One who studies biology well in school, does pre-medical in college and medicine in university with distiction, will inevitably be a good doctor.

However, the odds of that person being a multi-millionaire, or someone to that tune, would be nigh unimaginable. That is because since exams are most of the time based on textbooks and ‘confined’ knowledge, hence those who excel would most probably have limited soft skills needed to start entreprises and businesses among others, and also shallow general knowledge.

This is not always the case though as I know of some people who are academically strong as well as posses abundant soft skills in addition to being articulate general knowledge wise. This is a rare breed, one which I respect and wish to emulate as I feel it is simply superb to be always able to get results towards the top end of 100 while at the same time being holistically intellectual.

No offence, but I am sure we have come across many people who get top marks in class yet they cannot speak an intellectual conversation. These are the sort of people that are branded ‘nerds’ who mug their textbooks all year long. Do they serve themselves and humanity on the whole any purpose?

Another con of exams is that those held especially in the East are typically harder than those in the West. Instead of being an advantage, this has backfired on countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. This is because for Easterners, the emphasis is placed on detailed theoretical knowledge, while in the West, it is on hands-on practical knowledge.

No matter how hard we try, exams will remain a part and parcel of a student’s life. The best thing is to adapt and try as hard as possible to get good grades. However, there should not be a state of paranoia whereby you keep staring into a textbook all day long. Therefore, keep this in mind that you should excel not in exams by virtue of being a ‘nerd’, but as a holistically developed individual.
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