Examines Exam Process – The Hindu | Rare Techy


Examinations should be seen as a means of studying the level of academic achievement and as a guide for deciding future career paths.

Examinations should be seen as a means of studying the level of academic achievement and as a guide for deciding future career paths.

The ABCs of success, in general, can be extended to ‘E’ in this way: A for ‘Aptitude’, which indicates that the initiative must match your will for best results; B for ‘Courage’ (answering questions as a student, attending board meetings or making decisions) and C for ‘Creativity’, the best asset for success; D for ‘decision’ indicating progress towards a goal where failure is decisive; E. for ‘exams’ which have been an indelible part of life since childhood.

Examinations can be oral or written, objective or subjective, online or offline, theoretical or practical, individual or group, academic or competitive, direct or indirect. Schools and colleges provide great opportunities to face exams and learn techniques to master them. Although test anxiety is normal, test fear is a problem.

Exams are an integral part of learning. Even in summer schools or faculty improvement programs, assessment tests are administered at the end to assess what participants have learned. Therefore, the aim of exams is not to hinder but to encourage proper learning. Testers and test takers have responsibilities in ensuring that tests serve their purpose.

For the examiner

When I handled entrance exams and admissions at my university, in my effort to update the question bank for the entrance exam of a particular program, I invited input from a senior faculty member of an institution. I was given a set of 40 objective-type questions, with options all: (a) True, (b) False, (c) Both of the above, (d) None of the above. Moreover, the correct answer to all the questions was either A or B. This showed that not every teacher needs to be a good examiner.

While interviewing teachers for recruitment, it is common to check their educational qualification and teaching/research experience. However, in my opinion, their ability to generate meaningful and appropriate questions about their subjects is also to be discovered.

Question setting requires skill and maturity apart from subject knowledge. Multiple-choice questions, for example, should be direct, simple, and concise in language. The aim should be to test a subject’s grasp rather than the examiner’s memory. Of the answer choices, not all deviations must be clearly impossible, and not all of them must be wrong, but the best answer must be unique. Correct answer codes for different questions should be distributed randomly and not follow a pattern. Verbatim repetition of a question from any source should be avoided, as this can lead to an automatic, mindless answer.

Responsibilities of examiners

Scores in exams have two components. One is the attainable level, which depends on the degree of preparation and innate ability. Another is that you don’t lose what you deserve, which depends on how you answer the exam. While a 100% score or first rank is not necessarily a sign of brilliance, losing what is deserved for avoidable reasons is bad. Anxiety and stress have a serious effect on many examinees before and during the exam. Australia’s Charles Darwin University lists irritability, palpitations, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, shallow breathing, dizziness, repetitive thoughts, and altered sleeping/eating patterns as some indicators of test anxiety. Recognizing and addressing stressors, practicing relaxation, staying healthy, systematic planning, revising well in advance, positive attitude, and self-efficacy are some of the ways to overcome stress.

Think of academic exams like a health exam; As a means of studying the level of academic achievement and as a guide for deciding a future course of action.

The author is former Professor and Head/Director, Entrance Exams and Admission, Anna University, Chennai.


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