The Stress of Exams

Sometimes in life, it feels like everything is pouring down on you at once. From what I am seeing, it seems like you have a lot on your plate. These are all important exams which will determine a major part of your life. But there are several things you can do.

Firstly, it is important to plan your life out. Since you have such a busy schedule, it is important to plan almost every second of your life for the next few months in order to be able to properly prepare for everything. Having a daily, weekly or even monthly planner can help you evaluate what you have to do and when you have to do them. University applications have deadlines that you are pressed to meet. Putting down these deadlines and crafting a few deadlines of your own could be helpful. Fixing the dates for studying can help to ensure that you do not procrastinate studying for these important exams. Also, putting down things that you need to do-like buy stationery for the exams- can ensure that you do them on time.

It is important that you talk to people. Keeping these feelings bottled up inside of you can be dangerous for your health. Your teachers and parents are only being hard on you because they know how much work you have to do and they want to make sure that you get all of it done. But if you still feel like they are pressurizing you too much, tell them how you feel. They will most likely want to assist you in any way that they can. Also, you may feel that everyone is out to get you because of a few unrelated incidents. Talking to your friends about these problems can help you get different perspectives of the situation. If you feel uncomfortable talking about your issues to someone, writing in a journal can help. Expressing your feelings is important in helping you not to get too stressed out.

Lastly, it is important to pray. Every decision that you make should be carried to the Lord in prayer. It is only God that knows what is good for you and only He knows his will. The will of God must be at the back of your head. The Bible says that all those who love God should ask and they shall receive. Strengthen your relationship with God through prayer, meditation, Bible studies and righteous deeds. Pray with friends for the Bible says, when three or more are gathered in my name, know that I am with them also.


Secrets Of Successfully Sitting Exams

Many people work hard studying various subjects to sit for examinations in them. Fine. Hard work is usually a necessary condition for passing exams. Unfortunately it does not follow that it is a sufficient condition! Exam technique can be almost equally as important. It can make all the difference between success and failure or between poor grades and good grades.

As students, we often complain about the examination system. That is usually because we feel the pressure of an uncertain outcome. But like all systems we need to understand its mechanics in order to make it work for us.

What follows is largely concerned with exams needing written answers, rather than mathematically-based subjects.

Frustrating Examiners

This section applies as much to writing course work as to examination answers

When you consider writing essays, also consider the person who will have to read them. He/she has a psychology. Make it work for you, not against you. Most examiners do their job well and effectively but…

Exam assessors usually have a mountain of scripts to wade through. They like to get through them faster rather than slower, with relative ease rather than difficulty. When they find a script which facilitates the two former objects, they are delighted and their disposition towards the writer soars.

A great frustration is caused by having to ‘.dig’ into the essay to discover whether or not the student has given a correct or acceptable answer. Sometimes this job is very difficult. The examiner has to re and reread the essay to discover what is actually being said. Sometimes an actual decision has to be made by the examiner as to whether a correct answer has, in fact, been given, because the composition is so obtuse.

Some method is needed which will avoid this situation and which will improve the examiner’s disposition towards the writer.

Writing Effectively

Writing effectively in exams is really not that difficult. There is a simple technique which can be used and adopted to virtually every type of question.

The technique is to divide your essay into three (unequal) parts:

1. An introduction

2. An expansion of 1;

3. A conslusion.

Numbers 1 and 3 are quite short and basically say the same thing except in rather different ways.

1. is critical and is a short version of the answer. This lets the examiner know immediately that you know what you are talking about. It require slight differences of emphases depending on the actual wording of the question.

For example, a question which asks something like “What are the factors which influence…” needs an introductory answer which starts something like: “The factors which influence so-and-so are… ” And you mention them in descending order of importance. A question of the type: “Discuss such-and-such…” needs an answer which starts something like: “When discussing such-and-such one needs to take account of…” and then mention the major points which you consider to be important and which you are going to discuss.

There may be other variations in the phrasing of the question, but the approach you adopt needs to be always the same: present the examiner with what is effectively a concise answer to the question. It usually takes no more than a few lines, maybe a dozen at most. He/she will jump up and down in excitement at having found someone who not only knows the answer but who can also actually make it explicit.

2. The expansion of the essay is simply a development to show that whatever you said at 1. is correct or relevant. This takes up most of the essay. Use a new paragraph for every new point. Don’t be afraid to be pedantic. End each of these paragraphs by relating what you have said directly back to the question. e.g. “Hence it can be seen that…” and so forth.

If, during the course of writing your answer, you suddenly remember a really major point which really should have come earlier, just “knit” it in as if this is where you always intended it to go. Thus: “Of course, a further point which needs to be given especially emphasis at this juncture is…” Try and make it seem the most natural place to put it. The examiner may think it better put elsewhere, but he will not usually penalise you for that

3. The conclusion will be little more than a restatement of the introduction – but you do need a conclusion. During the writing of the essay you may have thought of some other points not mentioned in the introduction. If so, be sure to mention them in the conclusion.

Educating for Impending Careers

The vast majority of us in the United States were educated as children and young adults so that we could succeed both as citizens sustaining our democratic way of life and as productive workers able to sustain ourselves and our families economically. For the most part the combination of public and private K-12 schools and higher education universities and colleges have served us quite well. We are by and large a well educated and constructive populace.

But can we rely on the old-school methodologies to sustain us for a world of work that will be characterized as mercurial and erratic calling for agility, adaptability, and rapid evolution? There is reason to think not. An economy that is experiencing increased speed and transformation will not be well served by an educational structure and model designed to prepare students for a relatively static and predictable work world.

Let’s examine the existing paradigm that traditionally and currently defines most American high schools and colleges. There are two patterns at play based on the concepts of liberal education and career-focused education. By the time a student reaches high school they select or have selected for them one of these persuasions or the other.

Liberal (or liberal arts) education refers to an approach that encourages a broad and diverse exposure to fundamental and diverse subject matter with the goal being to educate a student for a complex world requiring a variety of perspectives, skills, and areas of knowledge. When and if college is reached the student fits into this mix a concentrated focus in one or more disciplines.

A career-focused or vocational path on the other hand focuses much more on preparing the student for a relevant job that is in demand in the workforce. Breadth gives way to depth in that a craft or skill set demonstrably employable is chosen, studied, and eventually mastered by the student.

To be clear I am not suggesting that there is anything fundamentally wrong with these models. My concern is in the traditional modes of delivery of them. We are still under the assumption that a high school diploma and / or college degree program that terminates upon graduation is enough to provide a student for a lifetime career. It used to be, but projections are that it won’t be enough going forward.

The workplace and its career needs are becoming increasingly digitized and globalized, resulting in an urgency for malleable, resilient, and entrepreneurial workers to address the ever vibrant economic demands across the planet. To maintain these attributes workers will need to accept and embrace continuous lifelong learning, upskilling, and training to keep up and stay ahead. Schooling will never end. In fact it will become an integral and ongoing part of any advantageous job worth having for most.

We will likely see a time when liberal and career-focused methods become more of an as-needed hybrid with a greater proliferation of skill and knowledge-based certification and training programs not necessarily tied to slow moving traditional education settings. Students, employees, and educators will begin migrating more intentionally into online, virtual, and yes, brick & mortar learning facilities that offer the highest quality, data driven, short and long-term instruction essential to the requirements of the emerging economy.

As an educator myself with 31 years in public schools and 5 years as a part time college adjunct I can say with some certainty that this industry will not on its own move in this direction without a lot of resistance. There are many entrenched interests compelled to resist such changes. A more responsive and pragmatic instructional delivery will likely arise from a combination of innovative educators and demanding students and employees requiring relevant reactive instruction.

Making a Change

Children were always told growing up, that without a college degree, there would not be a stable job for them in the world, a career was going to allow them be able to pay all the bills and support a family. So growing up, these kids worked incredibly hard in school and did extra curricular activities so they could receive scholarships and grants to pay for some of their school. Even though they may have received scholarships, tuition for college has increased immensely, making it to where they have to take out student loans.

College students after four years of college owe on average $38,000 dollars. Nearly doubling the amount that they took out due to interest. Now this poses a huge issue for students that are just beginning to start their career and begin to provide for themselves. On average, forty four million students take out loans to pay for college tuition, and for the average year of 2016, there is $1.2 trillion dollar debt for college graduates alone. A research study was conducted that polled college students and created data on what student loans they had taken out and how much of each. The study showed that 30.5 million students took out direct loans, totaling to $911.6 billion dollars, as well as 16.8 million college graduates took out the FFEL loan that was added up to $342.6 billion dollars, the perkins loans all together was $8.0 billion dollars, by being borrowed from 2.7 million people (Josuweit, Andy). Now on average this does not seem like much compared to the amount of kids that attend college, but these amount will double by the time it comes to pay them back due to a delinquency rate of 11.1%. Making it near impossible for the average college graduated to pay back there student loans in a short amount of time, creating many issues when it comes to starting their career and taking care of themselves.

Research has found that when comparing four year universities and private colleges as well as community colleges, that student loan debt was much more significant in four year colleges than community colleges. Also, they discovered that more student loans were taken out with students who attend public four year universities rather than private universities. Research also found that students who received pell grants were likely to borrow more money than other students. Forty percent of the $1.2 trillion dollars taken out for student loans was used to finance graduate and professional degrees. All of this statistical information has shown that of the forty four million students who take out student loans to finance their tuition, a majority of them go to four year public universities and rely on the middle to lower class scale. Now just because these people fall in the middle and lower class does not mean they should have to pay for it when it comes to attending college and striving for a better career. Student loan debt is an issue that needs some attention and a solution to the crippling issue.

The topic of student loan debt for college students is something that has not been talked about widely in the recent years. Attention was brought to the issue when the presidential election came around and Bernard Sanders (also known as Bernie Sanders) began proposing the forum that college should be free to avoid student loan debt. Soon after this proposal was announced the real statistics came out about the issue. Student loan debt has nearly doubled in the recent years due to tuition cost being raised, making it nearly impossible for an average college student to not take out student loans. The interest rate for the loans has been raised, causing the amount being taken out to double before even getting the chance to begin to pay it back. Sanders also brought attention to the idea that the college degree is about the equivalent of what used to be a high school diploma. Arguing that student should not be forced to pay for education that they should have received in previous years of schooling.

Many solutions have been proposed to eliminate the issue of student loan debt. Solutions have been brought to attention by the current president Barack Obama, such as student loan forgiveness, allowing college graduates to apply for a loan forgiveness problem, wiping away their remaining balance of debt. The requirements for this is that the college graduate must be employed by the government or a non profit organization, in addition they must have made at least 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full time for the current employer. However this solution caused some issues as well, such that the student loan forgiveness program will not entirely take away student loan debt, it would just reduce the burden slightly. While it does some favorable things, the solution would end up costing the taxpayers a large sum of $3.5 billion dollars in order to compensate for the student loans. This idea of the taxpayers paying out of their pockets caused a huge issue on the topic.

Another solution that was proposed was something that was more local. Companies have allowed recent college graduates that have started careers with their company right after they graduated have offered contracts to pay for their debt. College graduates that sign contracts with the companies allow the companies to pay off their student loan debt if in return the students work for them for a certain amount of time. Many medical students have found themselves signing ten year contracts with a company in order to pay off their medical school debt. Now even though this solution may seem like these students are selling their soul, each student has the ultimate decisions on whether or not they want to take the offer or not.

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