5 Things you didn’t know about exams

We are all keenly aware of the exams looming on the horizon. Yes, exams, a word we love to hate, an end to a year but the beginning of intense studying. It being that time of year it felt appropriate to bring to your, the reader’s, attention some obscure facts about exams.

1 – They originated in China:

The earliest recorded standardised tests (exams as we know them) were recorded in China. Those applying for government jobs had to fill out examinations that were based around the philosophy of Confucius, a Greek philosopher. Oddly enough, the favouring of essays for exams in the Western world comes from Greece, where they preferred Socratic method, an argumentative dialogue.

2 – They got popular during the Industrial Revolution:

In nineteenth century Britain, many families (children included) were moving away from the countryside and into the cities where new jobs were available. As more and more children were being subjected to child labour, the government decided to educate them. Standardised tests became the best-known way to do so.

3 – They have been criticised since the beginning:

The debates in Ireland over how students should be examined are nothing new, they are just more mentioned than ever. Padraig Pearse referred to the Irish education system as the ‘murder machine’ and stated that it was destroying the will and drive of students to learn any kind of knowledge, an argument that some people might agree with.

4 – They can seriously affect your brain:

Scientific studies have shown that the most stressful of exams can trigger the same ‘fight or flight’ adrenalin reaction one receives when in a fight or a highly competitive sporting event. This reaction gives a person an ability to write for longer (in the case of an exam) and an ability to recall the event in almost perfect detail. Likewise, the stress of an exam can cause memory loss, so you probably can’t recall much of that intense exam.

5 – They don’t define you:

It’s always important to remember that the exams we have now are not the ultimate test of human intelligence, they are just the best solution we’ve come up with so far. If you don’t do well in an exam you’re not unintelligent, it just wasn’t for you.

While I’m certain these facts didn’t help you study for your exams, I hope you found them interesting all the same. I wish those of you reading the best in any exam you may have coming up.