What’s the point of exams – what do they prove?

With many students in the middle of exams right now, working long hours, making huge personal sacrifices and putting themselves under considerable pressure, perhaps we should stop, take a moment to reflect and ask ……….what’s the point of exams?

Why are you doing this, what will it prove when you do pass, what will passing give you that you don’t have now?

 

 

It’s not about knowledge

If you pass an exam, you have proved that you knew the answers to questions set by the examiner at a particular point in time. To be precise you have only really proved you knew enough answers to get a pass mark, in some instances this might be less than half! But you have not proved that you understand everything about the subject or that you could work unsupervised in practice, knowing what to do is not quite the same as doing it.

This is not to say that examinations are easy, they are not or to underestimate their importance, it is just to be a little clearer on what exam success means.

Higher level skills

By passing an exam you are demonstrating many other skills, for example;

Motivation – You have proved that when you set your mind to something you can achieve it.

Concentration – For some people, concentration comes easily for others it might involve removing all distractions by locking themselves in a room. Whatever method you used, you have learned how to cut out distractions and focus on the task in hand.

Prioritisation and Time management – Undoubtedly you have had too much to learn and too little time to learn it. But if you pass the exam you have proved that you got the balance between an endless, or at least what appeared endless set of demands and the overall objective just right.

But most of all exams give you….

A great sense of achievement – You set yourself a target and achieved it.  It is a statement to others that you worked hard and have succeeded. It will remain a tangible and permanent reminder of success that can never be taken away.

Self confidence – It will build self esteem and help you develop a type of confidence that only comes from being successful in a chosen field. Others will congratulate you and as a result, treat you differently.

Choices – it will open doors to opportunities that simply would not have been possible without the piece of paper that says “Congratulations, you have passed”. Exam success will give you choices, it will change how others look at you but perhaps more importantly it will change how you feel about yourself…

So if you have been working hard keep at it, you may not be proving you are the greatest mathematician in the world, but if all goes to plan the end result will make up for all the pain you are going through right now, honest!

But just in case…..everything doesn’t work out check out these Famous A-level flunkers

2 thoughts on “What’s the point of exams – what do they prove?

  1. Another point to add to your already holistic answers to this pointed question- my process of studying CIMA has exposed me to all the world problems and has flashed back all the poignant professional experience I went through in the times of dramatic and even violent events that has led to the structural changes of this planet! I am referring to economic crashes (2 times in the name of creativity), the manipulations in the financial markets, 911, Debt restructuring across EU nations, digital “transformation”-disruption and redistributive effects that results in entitlement-instant gratification, mistrusts, nationalism, sustainability crisis, and misappropriation of world health funding that exploit human sufferings etc.
    I have to stand strong in faith that I am able to “re-learn”, to process human sufferings constructively through understanding of the integrative financial management principles and find hope that, after I am fully designated( only F3 and SCS to go), I would be able integrate this qualification with my many other high-price investments ( post-graduate level educations) so that I can regain employment and also help rebalance the financial effects of this world and restore well-being for the planet.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Exams in the headlines – but for the wrong reasons again! « Pedleysmiths's Blog

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