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Monday, May 27, 2013

Oral examinations

I can't help being a teacher, foremost. Next to that, I write.

The last couple of days, I've been very busy preparing for the coming examination period (early June). I only teach in one grade (5th year of secondary school, 17-year-olds) and they now have oral examinations for some subjects for the first time ever. So naturally they are quite nervous about it...

They've been asking all kinds of questions, the funniest about what to wear for those exams. Depending on the school, the dress code can vary, but most of the times, kids who do their oral exams come to school like they would to the last year prom. Boys in suits, girls in dresses...  Sometimes you hardly recognize the student when they present themselves like that!

And of course, they also want to make sure about what exactly to know for this exam. They realize they only have about a quarter of an hour to give their replies to the questions, and consequently more points go to these questions. You just can't ask as many questions at an oral exam.

I've been trying to reassure them that oral exams are, in fact, easier than written ones (at least to my experience). If you make a mistake in something written, and you don't notice it immediately, you lose points. But if you say something wrong, the teacher will point this out and you can make corrections. You'll only lose a little bit of points. The teacher can also do a lot to make the student feel less nervous, just by chatting a bit.

As a student, I just loved oral exams, and I always did very well on them.  After all, I can talk my way out of most things....!

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