Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Exam stress

is under discussion again. There is an article about it in this morning's paper - suggesting that a certain amount of stress is good for mental health.
Ms W has exams coming up. Her school has them at the end of each school year. There are assessments and tests in between. She copes pretty well but she does work hard. Her attitude is "My Dad is paying heaps for me to be at school so I should (work hard)".
I went to school under the old Public Examinations Board system - rather like the old "O" and "A" system of the various examination boards in England.  That's gone now. There is no "Intermediate" or "Leaving" and "Leaving Honours". It has been replaced with a year 12 "certificate" instead. Even that has changed from the time my nephews here did it. 
Ms W will eventually do some form of that. At the moment she is just sitting school based exams - or about to do them. She is doing French and Latin at school and Italian as an extra subject. The school brought in a native French speaker yesterday and the girls had what I suppose was a form of oral examination.  I went over after school for another purpose and heard about it.
    "Our teacher said we didn't have to say anything and that it didn't matter if we didn't. She said it was about listening as much as anything and that we could talk about it later. It was weird. Our teacher still says lots in English and this one didn't. It was all French."
And how did Ms W get on?
    "It was okay. She sort of told us to do some things so that everyone could join in and I tried to say things like I did when we went to Switzerland." 
Her teacher spent some years living in France and does, according to a native speaker I know, speak very good French but she is not a native speaker herself and this would have been different. 
    "I suppose it was sort of an exam," Ms W said, "There are exams all over the place all of the time."
This is true. We keep doing them even when we don't recognise them as such. 
I loathed school exams, college exams, university exams. When I did the last formal exam I vowed and declared I would never do another. The most recent Masters I did had no such exams. There was a lot of practical work to hand in, research to do, essays to write. I suppose it was more like real life in that area. 
    "But having to do exams makes sure you actually know things at least for a while," Ms W informed me. 
Mmm.... I wonder. I can't do trigonometry now. 


Cathy said...

Lol me neither! Or algebra!

Stroppy Author said...

But you never know when you might need it... And the fact that some children won't use it isn't a good reason to deny all children the chance to learn it. Quite apart from the exam system, of course, which is iniquitous in many ways.