Exams are a waste of time

It’s that time of year that everyone hates, but realistically, spending all day in the library to revise for exams is a load of rubbish


Let’s face it, exams are shit. No one enjoys spending 2 hours cooped up in a stuffy sports hall, attempting to bash out an essay on a topic that is pretty irrelevant to their life, whilst enduring the pains of hand cramp. But unless you’re a jammy bastard who has managed to wing a year with no exams, exams are standard practice, and quite frankly, I think that they’re a waste of time.

Where's the fun in that?

Where’s the fun in that?

Firstly, exams are just a memory test. They may not be as extreme as remembering hidden items on a tray as a kid, but there’s no getting out of that one. Unless you’re ridiculously organised and probably having no fun, you cram like crazy for the week before an exam, then two days later you can’t even remember what you were studying.

In the same way, how can exams be the best test of our knowledge when we are able to pass by cramming? Some courses involve little understanding of concepts to do well, merely being a case of memorising and reciting something you’ve been taught in a lecture you probably didn’t even turn up to.

Another question to put out there is how can a whole semester of work be tested in an average of two hours? That may not be the point of an exam, but then why is that how we are assessed? For the unlucky ones with no coursework, an exam is worth 100% of a module, but surely it isn’t possible to allow a student to pass a module when they’ve only been assessed on a fraction of the content.

It’s also crazy how much is dependent on exam technique and style for all subjects. Whether it’s a matter of writing an essay correctly for that particular module, or making a point of showing your working out in maths (even if you’re close to the intelligence of Stephen Hawking and don’t even need to work it out).The amount of time wasted at uni perfecting our technique is almost as much time as Andy Murray spends practicing his back hand. Surely there’s more useful and interesting things to concentrate on.

The only thing it's good for

It’s exhausting

Realistically though, our dear politicians couldn’t care less about the format of exams or whether they’re actually a good indicator of knowledge, most probably because they’re still revelling in their days of education, the golden age of exams. The days when coursework didn’t exist and essays were only written under timed conditions are gone, yet we are still subject to weeks of cramming, in an attempt to show someone important that our memory works just fine.

A huge issue with exams is on the subject of fairness. Exams aren’t fair, so in that respect they reflect life, but should extra time be a thing of the past? Life doesn’t give you extra time, if you’re late for a train you don’t slow down because you have 25% extra time to catch it.

Obviously, exams are about creating a level playing field for everyone, and some students really do need the extra time that they’re given, however I find it ridiculous that some students are still awarded extra time when they are reluctant to use it, leaving after ten minutes extra. Maybe extra time shouldn’t be scrapped, but the testing for it needs tightening.

Finally, if we’re going to be made to sit exams year upon year, they should at least have effort put into them from the other side. Every year there’s stories of a stupid number of exams going wrong, whether the paper itself is ridden with mistakes or the invigilators are shockingly crap, the exam period never seems to actually work as planned.

Utter crap

Utter crap

I don’t like exams and I don’t think they’re a fair or even the best way to test our knowledge and intelligence, however exams have been around forever. If there was another decent enough way to test us, I’m sure someone would have figured it out by now, but unfortunately, the big wigs haven’t come up with anything.

So it seems that exams will continue to be endured, despite my bitter disappointment.