Exams and the Jammy Twats

Are exams really the best way to assess our intelligence?

Most of us have written more exams than Katie Price has prenups. University exams are a bleak progression from A-levels, which followed GCSEs, which followed intra-school exams, which followed primary school spelling tests and so on and so forth.

The fact that exams are a pain in the backside is obvious and this article is testament to that fact, born out of my unashamedly rampant procrastination. But are exams actually the best way to assess our intelligence?

Based on my conception of what it is to be a ‘good student’ (consistent, hard working and dedicated), I have come to the conclusion that exams rank as possibly the worst method of assessment.

Cue, Jammy Twat.

Go out every night, go to 2 lectures, get a high 2:1. Haters gonna hate.

He’ll turn up to one lecture at most, be coincidentally ‘ill’ for seminars and end up with a high 2.1 after a week of cramming harder than Ryan Giggs at a family reunion. But I don’t blame him. I blame the inadequacy of exams, which cater for aforementioned jamminess.

Here’s another exam plea. For one of my modules last year I could quite easily have got an abysmal mark. I revised two topics out of eight during the holidays, luckily both came up and I got a first. So basically, the exam failed.

Equally, someone could work bloody hard all year, never once grace the bodily fluid-stained floors of Crisis or Ocean, attend all lectures and seminars and still get a poor grade. Their interim commitment would go forever unrecognized, such is the all-or-nothing nature of exams.

The Barclays Premier League (don’t laugh) doesn’t award silverware to the team that turns up on the day and gets by on luck. The trophy goes to the most consistent team, tested every week to prove their ability against the best teams and managers in the world.

Players need to work hard all season to get their reward, abstaining from booze, party antics and laziness (Mario Balotelli excluded of course). This is surely a much more admirable path to success.

So my main qualm with exams is that they do not reward what is most admirable and desirable in people: consistency, dedication and sacrifice. They reward people who can memorize facts and get away with as little work as possible.  Are these the people Barclays Capital and RBS want to employ? About that credit crunch…

Poor Quentin has never stepped foot in Ocean, but is set to go “on the game” after getting a 2:2 in his Latin exam.

Surely we should be introducing more regular assessments. Wouldn’t it be better to revise a topic each week, have a short test on it and then use these tests to generate a grade? A range of other assessments e.g. presentations, interviews, coursework, work experience are also all plausible alternatives to exams.

I suppose the question boils down to your own personal interpretation of a ‘good student’. Is it someone hard working, dedicated and selfless, or is it someone able to scrape by at the last minute? Mine is the former, but thanks to exams, I can afford to be the latter.


Have your say! Are exams the best method for testing people or are we allowing Jammy Twat to succeed? Are there any better ways to test people? 

Get involved in the debate and leave your comments below!

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