In the course of his school or college career a student has to go through a prescribed course of studies. These studies range over a variety of subjects. The subjects, again, are such as are calculated to impart to the student a working knowledge of most things that are of everyday importance in this world. The higher course of studies as imparted by college provides for specialisation in more that a test of the student’s knowledge in the various subjects.
There are various methods in which examinations are conducted. The method is regulated by the intellectual development of students and by the subjects. In general, there are three broad principles according to which Examinations are held. These result in the three classes of examinations, oral or viva voce, written and practical.
Oral examinations are, confined to tender boys, who are just beginners and whose intellectual capacity and ability are not so far advanced as to justify a written examination. In certain exceptional cases advanced students are subjected to an oral, or as they are better known, viva voce examinations. In such cases these examinations are designed to test the thoroughness of a student’s knowledge in a branch. There are certain subjects in which the soundness of one’s knowledge is best judged by promptness with which questions are answered. Oral examinations, which allow the minimum amount of time for thinking, afford the best facilities for such a test.
Written examinations come next. The method of holding examinations is by far the most widely adopted. Questions are set and put into writing and the students have similarly to put down their answers in writing. There is a fixed period of time in which the questions have to be answered.
This method of examination affords students the maximum amount of opportunity to think over their answers. Last of all come the practical examination. These are limited to particular subjects, the nature of which demands a practical demonstration of the students knowledge. Practical examinations are usually held in scientific subjects.
As general test of students’ knowledge and proficiency in any subject, examinations are all right. But perhaps the highest utility of examinations lies in the fact that they give students an impetus to prepare the subjects in which they have to sit for an examination. The vast majority of students are naturally averse to studies. It is an examination which supplies the motive force to the general bulk of students to have a thorough knowledge of the subjects in which they are to be examined.