Thursday, 16 April 2015

Education in the UK and examinations

So, if you haven't already read or guessed I am a student and I go to sixth form. I have been in education for over 10 years now and I'm planning to stay here for another 5 years I guess. Currently I'm studying A-levels in Biology, History, Sociology and Dance.
With upcoming exams in about 4 weeks, it made me think about how strange our education system is here in the UK (other countries are probably very similar but I haven't got proper knowledge on those, if you get what I'm saying).

You start reception at 4 years old and on the first day you wave goodbye to your parent/guardian who usually sheds a tear at their little monkey growing up.
You reach 11 years old and youre off to 'big school' where you think you're really grown up leaving all the little kids behind.
Then before you know it, you've reached 16. You have sat through your GCSE's and spent countless hours in the exam hall.
These results determine whats going to happen next in your life.
By 18 you've finished your college/sixth form life.
Results day will decide for you whether you're going to have a gap year, go to uni or get a full-time job.

Exams and exam results seem incredibly important at the time. I personally spent hours slaving away behind textbooks to get some decent GCSE's and hopefully will get some o.k A-level results.

But I can't be the only one how finds it weird how our futures are supposedly determined by what grade we get from writing on a piece of paper for an hour or two?

This method of learning isn't really learning in my opinion. The exams are teaching us that memory recall is more important than actually understanding a topic.
Yes, people have come up with some solutions such as BTEC courses and courses which can be heavily coursework based. However BTEC's aren't avaliable in everything (and I understand that that isn't always possible), coursework isn't in every subject and soon some A-levels are going be completely changed. All exams will be at the end of the second year.
Personally, I think that this is a very strange change. There must be some advantages to it, otherwise it wouldn't have been changed but I just can't find them.
I consider myself lucky to be having exams at the end of my first year and at the end of my second becuase that means that I can truly focus on remebering all the knowledge for my first exams, forgetting it the second I leave the exam hall and then memorising more information for the second exams, only to be forgotten again.

I might be the only person who feels like this and of course some people will disagree because maybe they actually do learn the information needed for exams and then retain it for a lifetime. I just know that its never happened to me.

Anyway, thank you for reading, I would love to hear your opinion, so feel free to tweet me or leave a comment - whatever you want.
I must dash as I've got to get back to revising ;)