A grid of tables line the hall, into endless columns and rows. Students enter in silence and scour the seats for their number. Gently they drag their chair out, hang their blazers and sort out their pencil case on their island of examinations. Everyone recalls memories of their exams, whether it be the intensive revision and cram the hours before, the storm of thoughts during their exam or the emotions that ran when the got their results. Yet, few actually understand why exams actually exist and the benefits that they emanate.


Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it – Marva Collins 


The origins of tests is rather unique, its history dating to the 17th century, with it denoting the process where a cupel was used to refine and assay silver and gold. This is the underlying reason of examinations – to separate. They determine the academic quality of individuals, so that they can tailor education to make you a better individual. Exams fundamentally exist for the betterment of you. Academic knowledge and practical skills are all aspects which can be assessed, and are an efficient and stable method of ensuring that one understands and appreciates the content. Since the silver is now separated from the gold, it allows both to be more useful. 


Not only do assessments help your improve your academics, they also motivate you to actually do them. Whether it be the fear from peers and teachers and grades, or the prospect of a challenge that needs overcoming, exams can act as the fuel to blast one’s way to success. Exams act as the drive that propels a student into laborious hours of dull revision. However, exams aren’t all depressing, since a recent survey of 16 year olds found that students look forward to their free time post-exam. Moreover, people look forward to getting their results back to see how their efforts have performed. It’s a lot like Christmas: a better gift is down to a better year.


An unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates


A modern world would be impossible without exams: the school year would be chaotic with no end goal, you can’t pursue your passions (such as music exams) or apply for a job. The mere dependency on tests reflects the success of them, a platform on which other projects and plans can prosper. It’s time we appreciate the true importance of exams and rather than moaning, we thank exams for aiding us in everyday life, filtering and separating to get the best out of us, motivating and driving us on, providing the sense of achievement and relaxation once complete.


The truth is tests of some kind have existed since the dawn of the apes, and if exams really weren’t a success, they wouldn’t stand the test of time.


By Divy Dayal, Wilson’s School