30 April 2014

Rwanda: Schools Should Embrace 'mock' Examinations


Starting a few years back, and with increasing popularity each subsequent year, schools are taking to setting 'Mock exams' for students in candidate classes (Primary Six, Senior Three and Senior Six). The 'Mocks' are set in a format that is as similar as possible to the national final examinations of each level, and their aim is to prepare students for the final exam.

The argument is that the more students familiarise themselves with the kind of exam they are likely to face in the finals, the more confidence they will have when they finally do, and the greater their chances of success in the end.

This is a sound argument in favour of 'Mocks'.

But even more important is that apart from merely preparing students to pass exams, the extra effort they demand from students - who have to read harder in order to pass them - will help the learners internalise the information they have been taught early on.

Thus they pass from the mere rote learning and blind cram work that students who are only waiting for one evaluation at the end are normally prone to. Instead, they are compelled to learn as much material from their school course as they can until, hopefully, it becomes a part of them. And that is the first step towards authentic learning.

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