Many students, irrespective of their age, find exams of all sorts extremely stressful. In fact, way back in 2011, Australia’s Macquaire University even debated if they should do away with exams altogether. However, exams, in spite of the anxiety they cause, are actually very important for students’ development. Here are seven reasons why –
1. Exams Provide A Balanced Assessment
Exams test students in different contexts – short answer, essays, multiple choice – so they can demonstrate the information they know and how they can apply it. Furthermore, exams indicate how well a student understands a particular subject matter – does a student only understand quadratic equations and 3D geometry formulas, or several branches of mathematics, holistically? It is important to have a fair assessment of a student’s capabilities.
Just imagine, would you want a doctor who has 0 proven understanding of their subject matter treating you for a critical illness? In essence, exams help document if an individual is really fit in their grasp of a particular topic before they are allowed to move on to the next level; it shows they are qualified.
2. Exams Add An Accountability Factor
Because exams carry weightage, it is often what compels a student to actually sit up and learn – consequences of failing adds a much-needed accountability factor that motivates a student to not slack off.
3. Exams Indicate One’s Ability To Communicate
Just because you know a lot of facts does not mean you are good at imparting that knowledge in real-life settings. Since exams are structured in different formats, it allows a student to demonstrate if they can even express what they’ve learned in a manner that’s clear, concise and easy to understand by others.
4. Exams Identify Weak Spots
Exams are actually a blessing in disguise in many instances – by flagging weak spots, exams present students with several opportunities along the way to actually improve upon specific areas they wouldn’t know they are deficient in without a structured assessment.
5. Exams Are Difficult To Fake
Many people pay ghost-writers to develop their essays. There are even instances of students roping in professionals to assist with building project presentations. Classroom based exams, however, are difficult to cheat on, making them an important tool for student evaluation.
6. Exams Showcase Range
While projects, essays and presentations showcase how well a student can apply information to a niche area, exams showcase how well a student understands a subject overall – if they truly understand the breadth, the full range of a topic.
Building upon our earlier example, would you want to go to a doctor who only understands how one area of your body functions, or someone who actually has an understanding of how the overall human body operates in conjunction with a specialised area of expertise? While it is the era of targeted skillsets, having a working knowledge of an overall domain is important, too. People need to understand the whole puzzle, not just one tiny piece of it.
7. Exams Exercise Your Brain
Exams challenge your mind to search your memory database for information that is relevant during the exam – you can think of it like exercise for your brain. Research indicates self-testing boosts learning even further because it engages a student actively.
We hope these seven pointers help you appreciate why exams exist – without exams, many students wouldn’t have the motivation to sit in the classroom, actively learn or retain information or even demonstrate if they are qualified for the career paths they embark upon.
At SpeedLabs, we encourage each student to constantly test their progress and mastery over different subject areas across various syllabus formats through practice tests before they move on to the next level.
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Also published on Medium.