“…WE are proud to say that WAEC still ranks high among the largest and most credible examining bodies in the world. Having existed for over 60 years, WAEC is in a position to authoritatively advise youths and adults alike on the topic of our discussion “How to pass in Examinations”.
WHAT IS EXAMINATION – IN EDUCATION?
It is the consideration and evaluation of the learning process either of the student or the school system.
The word “Assessment” is used to express it. Examination can be considered in several dimensions. It is necessary to briefly state them so that we can appreciate the discussion on passing specific examinations.
(1) In Form:
Examination can be written, oral, practical and observational. It could range from watching examinees in the performance of a task to scoring short answer responses.
(2) Formal or Informal:
For example, responding to series of answers over a given period (timed) is formal. Whereas, observing someone’s behaviour – say, in Agricultural Extension Examination – may be informal.
(3) Objective, Purpose or Aim Such as
(a) to diagnose student learning difficulties – e.g. in class test.
(b) to motivate students to learn – class tests.
(c) to assess how effective teaching had been – Zonal or M.O.E. Exams.
(d) to certify achievement – types for WAEC Senior School
Certificate Examination, NABTEB, Technical and Business subjects Examination and NTI Teachers’ Certificate Examination.
(e) to select students for higher Institutions – JAMB’S UME, PCE, and NBEM’s NCEE.
(4) One-off/Terminal/End of Course or Continuous Assessment – Teachers’ Certificate Examination and old SC/GCE were one-off while WASSCE combines one-off with CASS.
(5) In terms of Locus of Control: i.e. Internal or External to the school. School/Class tests are internal; WASSCE is external.
(6) Association with Stake – High stake or Low stake – Where candidates performances have consequences – for promotion, certification, graduation & job selection. For examination, JSSE for promotion to SS Class, SSCE for certification, UME for selection/admission to higher institutions.
Youths have to face almost all of these forms or aspects of examination in their lives. It is their desire to pass or be successful not only to advance and take their places in the society, but also for esteem and respect among mates, relations etc.
But I wish to replace “Pass” with secure valid result. A valid result is one that represents the actual performance of the specific examinee. For all practical purposes it would represent the level of the candidates assimilation of the questions asked and the responses given by him in relation to the expected responses to the questions.
A valid result may reach a predetermined level for specific purposes. These would be grades of passes in achievement tests or cut-off point in selection tests. The valid result should be usable by the candidate. A result with wrong name or subjects will not be valid to the candidate.
HOW AN EXAMINEE CAN REACH THE DESIRED LEVELS IN OUR EXAMINATION
(1) Before The Examination
(a) Entry: The first stage leading to passing, or getting valid result is proper entry. To scale this stage, ensure that you complete your entry correctly. Use the examination syllabus and regulation as well as the rules for completing entry document. Many candidates have been known to fail to complete their names, examination numbers, gender codes and choices of subjects correctly, even in the School (May/June) Examination. Such candidates spend useful time asking the examining body to correct the wrong entry. Some even accuse the examining body of responsibility for the error, until the original documents are shown them!
(b) Coverage of Syllabuses and Regulations.
Get the syllabuses for the subjects chosen and study the topics;
listen in class and study later; consult good tutorial colleges if you are a private candidate. Get the required text books and study consistently over a long period. Avoid reliance on “short notes” at the beginning of learning a topic. Let the facts sink into you. Study the regulations governing examinations, particularly about desired behaviour in examination, so that you do not ignorantly involve yourself in malpractices with serious consequences.
(c) Learn to answer questions after each topic – to enable you determine how far you assimilated the topic. You may use past questions, or form your own related questions to the topic, answering such questions – in writing, not glibly orally.
(d) Share knowledge and exchange ideas with mates since you may not have access to all textbooks or knowledge on a topic. But do not join in cramming model answers prepared by somebody else. Learn to use your own words to treat or answer questions except where actual quotation is required.
(e) Determine to face the exam yourself. Avoid relying on people to help you do all or part of the examination; avoid looking for “EXPO” – that is questions that may leak. Disappointment often comes from such.
(f) Locate your examination centre and hall before the date your
examination starts, including those for specific subjects that have common centres. You will, thereby, avoid frustration and reduction of passing chances!
(g) “Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, He will bring it to pass”……”
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2
THIS WRITE-UP IS A PRODUCT OF THE WEST AFRICAN EXAMINATION COUNCIL (WAEC) PRESENTED AT A SEMINAR ON HOW TO PASS EXAMS.