An Introduction into the Effects of the Examination Culture in Trinidad: A Personal Perspective

It’s almost Christmas Time! A time that everyone looks forward to. Yet for the past 8 years or so, I’ve basically looked at it as a halfway mark to the upcoming apocalypses of yearly examinations. it was something I hadn’t had to worry about since 4 years previously when the most major examination of my life was the Secondary Entrance Examination – a make or break examination in my then budding academic career.  We were the year of the guinea pigs. It was the first time they introduced that examination process, with short answers and genuine work (loosely used term, there) a change from the multiple choice Common Entrance that many before me, including my parents, had been subject to.

Now they changed it up, but that’s a rant for another post.

But that was grade 5. Exam prep for form 5, on the other hand, was a whole different world. School based assessments, multiple papers for a single subject – one of anywhere between 7 to 10. And by December, if you hadn’t been preparing, you felt like a lost cause.

And this follows up, into the next two years of tie-clad form 6 bliss – two terms of prep, one for examinations.

I suppose for the tertiary life, it sort of prepared you, in terms of time and assessments and assignments, but that could be stretching reasoning.

It seems like I’ve been summarising the examination and assessment process and the experiences I’ve had. Seems negative, and not that productive. But trust me, I’m getting somewhere with this.

When you look at what stress you’ve been through, and hear the stuff that your children or siblings, or other family members have to go through when reaching these academic moments. Younger children seem to get as much work as a graduate student. While some of these may say that that means nothing and that these are easy assignments – remember what you’re going through at grad level. Remember that your supervisors and professors think the same as you do about standard 5 children and their assessments. And remember that you were once at these children’s level and that it was all difficult when you were that age.

Now think about that. What would you do if you were 11 in this day and age.


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