Understanding The Purpose Of Exams

Exams and tests are an integral part of our education system. How we perceive exams and how we train our children to look at them directs their interest in learning. Exams are stressful, demanding and difficult when one is not prepared for them properly, and it’s the reverse when a good preparation is in place. Exams not only measure one’s understanding of a subject but also teaches valuable life skills. I still remember, during my school exams how I used to get those butterflies in my stomach, those sweaty palms and the only sound I could hear was my heartbeat. But things changed when I went to university, I was confident in taking the exams, not because I magically got some superpower but because I learnt to cope with my stress and pressure by then. The process of preparation and taking an exam teaches life skills which are important for a successful career in future.


To understand exams let’s look at it from two sides – the teachers/educators side and the parents/ students side. The purpose of tests and examinations for educators is to measure their ability and efficiency to provide their students with all the necessary resources – the resources to make them understand the concepts and prepare them well to pursue a career of their choice. A good result indicates that the teachers are skilled and efficient in using the resources to impart knowledge to their students. For educators, a good result also means they have invested in good teachers and resources. Now from a student and parent perspective, a good result is an indicator that the child is able to work towards an aim, the aim to clear an exam. A good result assures that students are able to structure their learning time, revise and express their answers in the right way within a given timeframe. Exam results help parents to gauge where their child stands in achieving their educational and career goals. They also measure the understanding of concepts and a student’s ability to express their subject knowledge in limited time. Having said that, scores in the exam do not define the success or failure of any student in real life. The scores should be taken as a measurement to know if one is on the right track or not, to achieve their educational goals.


Exams play a bigger role in our lives. They teach life lessons. A student who scored average marks in one exam can score very high in another with hard work, practice, patience and creativity. This also teaches how to overcome stress, fears and failures. Exams teach that goals can be achieved if one is focussed on their goals and work continuously towards it. It teaches to strategize, organise oneself, manage time and make the optimal use of resources to achieve a good result. These skills help when it comes to achieving career goals. Studying is exercising the brain, the process of searching through memory and retrieving relevant information during exams strengthens the memory pathway for future uses. Hence, each exam should be taken as an opportunity to overcome fears and emerge as a winner.


This blog is submitted by Lakshmi Kolnaty, who is a communication professional and a freelance blogger. She has a special interest in education sector. She made a significant contribution in this sector working with schools in India. Currently, she is a School Governor in UK. She loves art, travel, world culture, meeting interesting people, food and nature.