Why Do Exams Exist? (11 Reasons Why)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

For a lot of people, exams are the most stressful and frustrating times of the year, which drives a lot of people to question “why do exams exist?”

For that reason, it’s important that we understand the value of examinations and measure our capabilities in order to gain confidence before attending a test or a trial. In this article, we’ll walk you through 11 reasons why exams exist in our society!

Why Do Exams Exist?


1. Tests the Breadth of Knowledge

Let’s start with one of the most obvious reasons why the examination system exists today. Ideally, exams are designed to test the breadth of knowledge of different students by covering key points across the curriculum.

For example, if a semester includes 10 chapters of a specific subject, the exam should cover all 10 chapters within the test in order to measure the quantity as well as the quality of the knowledge accumulated throughout the semester.

For that reason, some parts of the test are usually more difficult than others.

However, when poorly executed or testing too much information at once, tests lose their intrinsic value and encourage stuffing and cramming as much information as possible, only to be forgotten soon after.

2. Distinguish Elite and Hardworking Students

Whether it’s for college or work, distinguishing an elite student who is capable of achieving more in a specific situation is one of the reasons exams exist today.

Without examinations, it will become a lot more challenging to pinpoint elite and hardworking students who are capable of overcoming stressful situations and solving problems within a short period of time.

Those individuals are highly sought after in the employment market, as they usually turn out to be elite employees who are capable of handling executive positions and achieving more material and non-material profits for their organizations.

3. An Excellent Time Management Exercise

It’s pretty customary for exams nowadays to have a certain time limit. Of course, many examination systems will put an ample time frame that gives students more than enough time to answer all questions and even revise their answers.

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However, a lot of schools and colleges recently have implemented changes in their examination systems in order to reduce the time limit of the exam.

This is not to make the exam more frustrating. Instead, the shortened period of the exam helps in testing the student’s ability to manage their time and ability to overcome as many little problems within a specific period of time.

Such a valuable skill is also highly sought after in the competitive work environment, which is why testing time management skills in exams is highly encouraged.

4. Gives Value to the Learning Curve

The learning curve is basically a mathematical concept that allows you to graphically represent the process of obtaining information and improving your level of proficiency and knowledge of a certain subject over a specific period of time.

By setting a relatively consistent examination date per semester, you’d be able to obtain reliable information about the rate at which different students grasp information.

For example, some students are capable of covering a complete course within a couple of months while it might take others as little as one or two weeks to cover the same course.

As a result, we can use exams in order to figure out the average and median amount of time needed in order to measure the learning curve of the average student, which can help us notice students that are significantly above or below average.

5. Different Perspectives on the Learning Material

One of the biggest misconceptions that students have about their learning materials is that they’re always enough to achieve a full understanding of a certain topic.

For example, studying and memorizing mathematical formulas or physical equations is only a part of the learning process.

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However, in order to fully grasp their concept, you need to be able to apply their formulas in real life by solving real problems.

This doesn’t only add variety to the learning material and makes it more applicable and understandable, but it also provides a completely different perspective to this information.

6. Allows You to Rectify Shortcomings

Allows You to Rectify Shortcomings

Achieving success isn’t always a straightforward process, and many students may find it hard to understand some concepts or fail to pick up the reason behind some aspects.

Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy task to pinpoint the parts where a student needs rectification or improvements, and that’s where an exam comes in handy!

Exams help teachers to figure out the mental capacity of different students as well as the parts that they need to work on in order to improve their skills.

For many people, a mistake that you make in an exam is a mistake you never repeat again, which makes exams extremely valuable for such students.

7. Developing Personality

Exams can be nerve-wracking and stressful. However, overcoming hardships and working hard to achieve your goals is one of the best ways to build your personality.

In fact, Time Magazine published an article that shows the impact of stress on making you stronger from a scientific point of view. According to the report, mild stress can actually become a source of positive energy.

8. Generates Healthy Competition Among Students

Since a lot of students take exams at the same time to test out their capabilities and capacity of knowledge of a certain topic, this creates a sense of competition between students, which allows them to give out their best.

However, too much competition can actually be a bad thing, as it creates a somewhat toxic environment within the class, which encourages a lot of negative behaviors, such as cheating and cutting corners.

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9. Gateway to Scholarships

According to ThinkImpact, there are over 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships all over the world, which benefit anywhere around 1.58 million students and recipients worldwide!

Although not all scholarships out there require certain scores on tests, passing certain exams with specific degrees remain a primary requirement to earn many of these scholarships. This allows the scholarships to go to those who deserve them the most.

10. Boosts Confidence When Done Properly

Excessive examinations can cause a lot of physical and mental stress on students. Yet, when you take out the complexity of examinations and make them a lot simpler and straightforward, their impact on students changes 180 degrees!

In fact, learning the value of preparation before a test on its own can help individuals build more confidence to overcome anything that comes their way.

11. Composing an Exam is an Ultimate Test of Understanding

Lastly, while answering questions and solving problems can be a test of the student’s understanding, composing the exam itself can actually be a much harder task sometimes.

This is because coming up with problems and balancing the level of difficulty of the test can actually be a challenging task, so it’s considered the ultimate method to test someone’s capacity of understanding a certain subject.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A brief guide that walks you through all the different reasons why exams are important and how they can ultimately benefit you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that exams come with disadvantages, especially when they’re done excessively or improperly, such as cramming, anxiety, unhealthy competition ethics, etc.

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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