Yesterday, it was reported how all 24,000 students in Liberia failed their entrance exams. While this was shocking and bizarre event, we all know exams are considered difficult by many students. Every assignment, CAT and main exam counts. Failure always brings about stress and depression. For some students, poor performance in an exam always triggers a change in lifestyle from lazy to hardworking. Some students end up giving up and look at other options that can guarantee them a bright future. Their academic morale dwindles to deep levels. There are exam facts that don’t miss anywhere:
1. Last minute preparations
A very small percentage of students prepare for exams early enough. Campus is so full of fun that we at times tend to think we have better use of our time than studying. Unlike in high school, no one follows you around to study. It’s a personal choice. Two or three weeks prior to main exams, every student is always busy. Photocopy joints always experience booming business; many students line up to photocopy handouts and past papers that were issued earlier on in the semester. Some even photocopy notebooks of the most attentive students in class. Preparations always go on up to the last few minutes before the beginning of a paper.
Despite all efforts by university administration to curb cheating, there are still students that cheat. Majority of students cheat during continuous assessment tests and assignments. Courses with large numbers of students are usually the easiest to cheat. Lecturers always feel a little lazy to check for cases of plagiarism in the answers of the entire class population. During main exams some perfect the art of copying from deskmates, small papers or handouts. Some inquire from reliable friends. Inquiring is usually the best form since no evidence is left.
It always feels like a curse when you enter the exam room and most of the things you read just disappear. It’s even worse when you remember answers for questions with little marks and forget answers for the loaded questions. The worst part is when you remember everything soon after you leave the exam room. Many students face this disease. There is still no known cure. There is also the tendency to ‘misanswer’ questions- this involves using the correct answer to answer the wrong question. One leaves the exam room confident that results will be good then disappointment comes later.
4. Gulf in brains
Exams usually bring out the gulf in brains between students. Sometimes, no matter how hard an exam is, there is always that one student who will end up scoring everything. The inverse is also true. There is always that one student who will score close to nothing in a very easy exam. For the students who used to be academic champions in high school, reality shock always creeps in. What you scored in KCSE no longer matters. It’s a level playing field once again.
5. Passing exams, failing the lessons
Kenyan students have mastered the education system. We know how to study and pass exams. However, we retain very little of what we are taught in school. Most of us still don’t why we had to cram 90 percent of the syllabus which has no useful application at the moment. For some reason, Kenyan students perform really well when compared to other students across the world. Maybe the education system hardens us.
In the end it’s all about exams. We wish we didn’t have them but we are glad that we do.