Exam Time!

Exam Time!

The semester comes to a close, and then comes the dreaded examination week. Dreaded by whom? The students dread exam week, but at least for this lecturer, it is a dreaded time as well. Well, maybe I should say the preparation of the examinations is the dreaded part.

I love class time with the students. We have so much to discuss together. The two to four-hour class sessions seem to float by. My shirt is wringing wet, and even though I have plenty of water, my mouth is dry. There is tiredness in me as I make the trek down from the seminary to home, but it is a good tired. I make the walk with such a good feeling inside as I think about all that was discussed and the “new” ideas that were shared.

Some of you will remember the Carol Burnett Show. At the end, she sang a song that ended, “it seems we just get started, and before you know it, comes the time we have to say goodbye.” For me, it seems the semester just got started, and now it is time to write an exam. Ugh!

irst comes selecting which concepts I hope the students understand and can share in writing. How do I write the exam in such a way that it has practical meaning for them? How do I write the exam in such a way that the questions can be understood? The last requires writing the questions is such a way that the English structure of it is clear. How do I write a question simple enough that if it has more than one part, the students will know to answer the entire question?

Once written, I review my questions with Debbie, and they are submitted to the vice-principal for his review. Finally, I read through the exam with the students. I try to note items I think they may not understand and make sure that they realize some questions have more than one part. I try, without giving away the answer, to attempt to verbally share in general what the question is about. The exam is a take home. As we close the class and have a prayer, I remind them that they may come to my house to clarify anything. (No one ever has.)

The day arrives to collect the papers and begin the marking. Surprise! A question I thought was so clear was read in a way I never intended. Now, I need to rethink the question and take notes that if I use a similar question in the future, I need to try a different approach.

It’s done! The papers are marked and recorded. It is time for a rest. It is time to begin preparations for the coming semester classes.

Yours in Christ,


 Larry Colvin serves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.

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