The end of examinations? I have a clear memory of seeing my first iPhone. Soon after its release, educators wondered if we would stop requiring students to sit exams now that we had the internet in our pockets. This was not the first time people had called for the end of examinations, and it has not been the last. With the advent of Generative Artificial Intelligence, it seems that if anything, examinations are making a comeback. I note with interest that English Extension 2, one of the few HSC subjects without an examination, looks likely to add an examination in the new syllabus currently being developed. This means that for the foreseeable future, our girls will need to learn to do exams well.
Let me offer a few suggestions on how to approach examinations.
Firstly, it is important to identify what exactly is being tested. All students are given information about what is in each examination and should pay close attention to the advice provided in assessment notices. It is particularly important to identify any areas that are not being tested to save time on topics that will not be examined.
Secondly, it is important to begin the process of memorising the information needed for the examination. The creation of study notes is often very helpful in this process. There are many different ways to create study notes, and it is important for students to work with their teacher to develop resources that will be relevant to each subject. For example, a student studying languages might create “flash cards” with the words on one side of the card and the definitions on the back. After identifying what needs to be memorised there are various techniques to commit things to memory. Repetition is essential to this process, and the girls should keep returning to the material in cycles of revision.
Finally, it is important to practise. Each examination requires not only the recall of information but also the demonstration of a number of skills. It is important for students to practise these skills in the lead-up to examinations. Practising similar questions to those in the upcoming examination is particularly useful, especially in subjects like Mathematics.
While examinations can be stressful, it is certainly possible to learn how to do them well. Meriden staff are committed to helping all students develop the skills they will need to succeed in the many examinations they will encounter over the course of their lives.