For many students and teachers the end of the year can be a stressful time, with exams and the expectations they carry.  This can be reduced by making subjects more coursework orientated, rather than relying solely on exams which some students in which some students perform inconsistently.

The difference between exams and coursework for some students is the difference in them either reaching their target grades or not. The choice of coursework can make the all the difference for some students who may not cope well in exam situations.

Exam papers are unfortunately not an accurate method of assessment, what if the student is not on form on the day of the exam? What if the student is sick on the day of the exam? What if after months of revision their minds go blank on the day of the exam because the pressure? All of these things are not within the student’s or teacher’s control, and they cannot prepare or plan for these.

Coursework however, provides a steady assessment over the course of months, guaranteeing the students’ results to be an accurate summary of their academic standards. How is this not the fairest option for schools to consider?

One argument against subjects being fully coursework based is that they could receive help from their teachers and the work may not be 100% their own.  However if this is the case, teachers can only help so much, they wouldn’t be able to complete the coursework for them and allow them to achieve grades well above their predicted because it will look suspicious and only hinder the student later on.  Students may apply for difficult courses based on their achieved grades and then in turn struggle to achieve what is expected of them when they no longer receive help from their teachers.

While exams can be a good test for students and help prepare them for the future, essentially for exams the majority of students will be cramming information into their heads to see them past the exam and not actually remembering the information. It is far more important that students learn to conduct research, work in a team and think for themselves whilst completing their coursework. These are skills that are needed throughout their lives and will definitely be required  during further academic study or in the workplace.

Though exams have been used within education for a long time it seems coursework is far superior in the sense that it is fairer and better prepares students for when they attend university.  The experience of researching, finishing an assignment to a deadline and having to use time management in order to work on their assignment over a period of time are all transferable skills they can take forwards.

Schools will always be required to have exams as not all subjects can be 100% coursework based, however the number of exams that students are required to when completing their GCSE’s needs to be changed as students are required to learn a lot of information for a lot of different subjects.



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