What I Think About Examinations Essay
In the course of his school or college career a student has to go through a prescribe. course of studies. These studies range over a variety of subjects. The subjects, again, are such as are calculated to impart to the student a working knowledge of most things that are of everyday importance in this world. The higher course of studies as imparted by college provides for specialization in more than a test of the student’s Knowledge in the various subjects. There are various methods in which examinations are conducted. The method is regulated by the intellectual development of students and by the subjects. In general, there are three broad principles according to which examinations are held. These result in the three classes of examinations, oral or viva voce, written and practical.
Oral examinations are, as a rule, confined to tender boys, who are just beginners and whose intellectual capacity and ability are not so far advanced. as to justify a written examination. In certain exceptional cases advanced students are subjected to an oral, or as they are better known, viva voce examinations. In such cases these examinations are designed to test the thoroughness of a student’s knowledge in a branch. There are certain subjects in which the soundness of one’s knowledge is best judged by promptness with which questions are answered. Oral examinations, which allow the minimum amount of time for thinking, afford the best facilities for such a test.
Written examinations come next. This method of holding examinations is by far the most widely adopted. Questions are set and put into writing and the students have similarly to put down their answers in writing. There is a fixed period of time in which the questions have to be answered. This method of examination affords students the maximum amount of opportunity to think over their answers. Last of all come the practical examinations. These are limited to particular subjects, the nature of which demands a practical demonstration of the students knowledge in the subjects in question, in addition to their theoretical knowledge. Practical examinations are usually held in scientific subject.
As general test of students knowledge and proficiency in any subject, examinations are all right. But perhaps the highest utility of examinations lies in the fact that they give students an impetus to prepare the subjects in which they have to sit for an examination. Leaving aside the case of sincere and hardworking students, the vast majority of students are naturally averse to studies. It is an examination which applies the motive force to the general bulk of students to have a thorough knowledge of the subjects in which they are to be examined.
But an examination, by its very nature, can never be a real test of a student’s merit. In an examination, questions can at best be put or set so as to cover only a limited range of a particular subject. It often happens that a student having a special knack of selected questions comes out successful without a complete knowledge of the particular subject. This is with regard to students of mediocre merit. Meritorious students, too, labour under certain disadvantages. In written examinations, answer papers have, of necessity, to be distributed among several examiners who naturally may be of various temperaments and moods. It is not unusual for the paper of a meritorious student to be examined by one who is strict in his scrutiny of answer papers, while another less meritorious student may have the good fortune of having his paper examined by one who is less strict. In such a case the meritorious student is decidedly at a disadvantage to the other one. It is luck rather than merit which plays an irritant part. The element of luck is even more manifest in practical examination in which the examiners have to draw their question papers as in a lottery. One student may have an absurdly simple question to tackle with, while another may find a correspondingly difficult question. Last, but not the least, the anxiety of an examination tells heavily upon the mental condition of students in general.
The. above remarks with regard to the disadvantages of examinations hold good with regard to university examinations. They are not strictly applicable to school examinations. In the latter when the number of students is not necessarily large some of the anomalies do not arise. But as, in a discussion of examinations, the question of university examinations looms large, the following suggestions are made with regard to them. Instead of holding university examinations at the end of one or two years, in which case the range of the subjects is naturally large, it would be better to hold periodical examination covering a comparatively smaller range as done in America. By this means questions be set to cover completely the limited range, so that no student can obtain cheap success at an examination by reading only selected portions of the prescribed course. Secondly, these examinations should be confined to separate schools and colleges, by which the individual schools or colleges will have a small number of students to deal with. This will obviate the necessity of having a large number of examiners with varying temperaments and will enable the same set of examiners to examine the same set of students. The element of luck or chance will in this way be reduced to a minimum, and merit will have wider scope.