Each year at this time, the pressure intensifies as students at Somerset (and indeed in numerous other schools across the country) prepare for mid-year examinations. Whilst we – at Somerset - do place significant emphasis on our examinations, it is also important for parents and students to understand the place of exams in the learning continuum at the College.
Exams are important in that they are often a measure of where a student is at a certain point in time; similar to the NAPLAN tests. They also represent a culmination of work done during the semester. The reality is that if a student has worked steadily through the first part of this year, with due attention to completing homework and good attention in class, that student should do well in his or her exams.
In Years 7 – 9, these exams, should be taken seriously but also should be seen as an experience en route to the senior years. In Year 10, these exams will give students clear indications about subjects for Years 11 and 12 and may even help in pointing them towards eventual career choices. In Year 11, these ‘mid-years’ will provide students with a partial idea of their academic positioning in their cohort and may even provide an indication of what Year 12 could be like for them; hence their importance. Finally, Years 12 exams in the OP system count towards a final OP Score and in the IB Diploma system, provides a reliable indication of an eventual Diploma overall score.
Having said all this, it is also important to note that exam results by themselves do not determine success in life. There is much more to the ‘success equation’ than just an exam score. For instance, it is difficult for exams to measure divergent thinking and creativity; much of which can be measured in the more unrestricted continuous assessment that takes place throughout the school year which also measures a student’s particular abilities, their sense of purpose, work ethic, initiative, the ability to ask difficult questions (and solve them), EQ, cooperative and communication skills and organisational discipline. (Peter Tait, headmaster of Sherborne Preparatory School)
On a more pragmatic level, there is some information of which students (and parents) must be aware:
• Year 7 and 8 exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Tuesday 23 May
• Year 9 exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Wednesday 24 May
• Year 10 exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Wednesday 24 May
• Year 11 IB and OP exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Wednesday 31 May (note: Mathematics B external exam will be held on Thursday 1 June)
• Year 12 IB exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Wednesday 31 May
• Year 12 OP exams commence on Thursday 18 May and conclude on Wednesday 31 May
• There will be no Chapel or Assembly on Tuesday 23 or Tuesday 30 May
• Students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 are required attend school every day during exam time.
• Students in Years 11 and 12 need only attend school when they have exams
• All students must attend sport each Friday.
• All students are expected to be in full day uniform during all exams – PE uniform is not acceptable.
• Students who are absent on the day of an exam must notify the College of their absence, and must provide a medical certificate and see Dr Brohier upon their return to reschedule their missed exam.
Finally, I would like to wish all students success in this exam period.
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