The Problem With Exams

It’s very clear to anybody who has ever had the (mis)fortune of doing an exam, that they are far from perfect, and clearly haven’t been developed or even very well thought out at all.

Written exams as we know them have been around for quite some time. Since education in the western world became widespread, we have had written, closed book exams. But what are these exams? What do they test? Intelligence? Commitment? Mental strength? Hard work?

In reality, none of these are tested in written exams as we know them. Take the Irish Leaving Cert, for example. The syllabus involves studying seven subjects intensely for two school years. We go through countless textbooks, take down copious amounts of notes, and most of all, we are supposedly learning. Yet the unusual part is that throughout these two years, despite the fact that we complete countless essays, questions, and tests, these account for nothing.

Instead, the system as we know it involves the age old technique of learning off. We are often handed essays that have been written by the teacher, or even better, by a “subject expert” and then told to go into the exam, and write this essay out word for word. This isn’t a test of intelligence, hard work, commitment, or mental strength. It is merely a test to see who has the ability to learn something completely inconsequential and then spew that out all over a page.



4 comments on “The Problem With Exams

  1. i couldn’t agree more bro. i never saw a point in my written exams so i suppose self consiously I didn’t try as hard as i could’ve.
    also the whole ‘written exam’ this is so antisocial and cold hearted.
    how can we have a love for learning when we are taught to constantly work alone, without assistance?
    group work is discouraged in secondary school + and opinions/beliefs count for nothing.
    i could expand on this point forever but i’ll stop here to save you to drama.
    i’ll leave you with this.. intelligence is the capability to speak one’s mind, explore new options, create new things, and overall, intelligence is all about someone’s mind and not their brain.

  2. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Seriously flawed system. Well done you.

  3. the only aspect ever taught by this system is memory, that is the only thing tested, i can learn a maths formula and never understand it, yet pass every test on it, is this intelligence? no, if asked what this formula means, i draw a blank, this is the failing of current education, tests in which i am devoid of any outside intellectual material damage me, i do not learn and improve, give me ten minutes access to the informatics treasure trove that is the net, an A4 sheet of metal and a scissors and i’ll construct a technological wonder never before seen for u, which scenario i ask u, do u think i learn more from?? Einstein said the very same about education today, he must be turning in his grave the poor guy. đŸ™‚

  4. I think I have to agree with you, a joy of learning should be based on finding out new facts that interest and educate a person

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