Sunday, 5 February 2012

An Open Letter to Exam Boards

Dear Examining Body,

I am writing to you to express my great displeasure at your methodology. You stick 50-80 kids (more or less, depending on room size) in a cold hall for 30 minutes to 3 hours, give them a paper and expect them to do it and shut up. This however, is intrinsically flawed.

In 2010, I took a two hour maths exam which I finished in around 50 minutes. I checked it, checked it again, and then again once more to make sure. By this point 1 hour 10 had gone by. What did I have to do? Nothing. Thus I entered into a staring match with the nearest invigilator, who came running over to check my paper. He read it in detail, before telling me to write down my working for one question (which I had, in fact, bullshitted my way through, but then I remembered how to do it and was pleased to find that my bullshitting was indeed correct). I did so and returned to my staring match, which lasted the remaining 40 minutes (I won in the end).

My argument is not with the time limits - some people needed that time, as I did on several papers such as History and Philosophy and Ethics. My argument is with enforced silence. Generally, people like to revise to music, so why not play music during exams? Not only would it be more interesting than silence, but it would also induce the encoding specificity principle, aiding factual recall and increasing exam grades and thus I will be able to stop turning up to my exams drunk (I joke; I had never turned up drunk, although doing so has also been proved to work if you revised while drunk).

Might I suggest Drop Audio by The Qemists? It's fast too - meaning that students would write fast as well:

Of course, for the ESP to work you would need to tell entrants which music you are planning on playing, but hey, that's easily arranged, right?

Yours Faithfully,
Students work better with music on.

~~~

In other news, this week's extract will not be out tomorrow, sorry all!

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