Exams Need to Go

Creative+Commons

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For the last year and a half, semester exams have been out of the picture. But this year, with all Hillsborough students returning to brick-and-mortar learning, semester exams are back – but they aren’t necessary.

We already take a number of standardized tests, unit tests, and other benchmarks to assess our understanding; so taking yet another exam is just redundant. So like many others, I feel that exams are a waste of time and just another thing that causes unneeded stress.

Throughout the year we take countless tests that judge our understanding of a topic taught in class. This means that our progress is already being tracked throughout the year so taking exams at the end of the semester doesn’t prove anything that those tests didn’t already. If a student is getting an A or B consistently on these tests chances, are they will get a passing grade on the exam, making the exam process a waste of time. If a student scoring well then there’s no point in taking an exam that will just stress out the student.

However, an exception to this should be that if a student is failing a class, then they should be required to take an exam – similar to how it was done last school year.

Standardized testing and exams occur in an artificial learning environment: tests are timed, there is no talking, no help from teachers, and no access to outside information or other materials. In these conditions, your score is solely based on what you remember which I feel wont prepare you for the real world and future occupations. When out in the “real world” and a problem arises, you have a number of resources such as your phone or others around you to help you work through the problem. This is the opposite of our testing environments and suggests that once out of school, we shouldn’t ask for help when we face problems.

I feel that exams cause extreme levels of stress and anxiety that are unnecessary and have a negative effect on students’ mental health. Exams place a lot of pressure on students as they could be what makes or breaks your grade if someone is on the border of passing or failing.

Testing can lead to test anxiety, which can cause students to perform poorly, even if they have a decent understanding of the content. And because of how much exams count towards final semester grades, many students simply study just to pass the exam, rather than truly learning and retaining what they have been taught.

Overall, exams are of little value to students as they waste time and create unnecessary challenges. Although there are exceptions – such as students who are failing– students do not need the added stress of testing on content that they have already been tested on.