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Monday, 28 September 2015

MID SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS

As we approach the midpoint of the semester, KYUEM is now due to hold its first internal examinations of the year. For the seniors, they will start on Monday, September 28, while the juniors begin a week later on October 5.

Sometimes, I am asked what is the point of examinations? It's a good question. When it comes to university application, there is no doubting their importance. If you don't take A2, International Baccalaureate, or SATs for the United States, you just won't get offered a place; it's as simple as that. For some students, a conscious decision is made not to apply for higher education and leave school without pre-university certification. There are still jobs available to people without formal qualifications, although the choice is getting ever more restricted. Such students are not to be found at KYUEM: everyone here has made a very definite choice to continue their studies at a prestigious university.

This accounts for AS and A2 examinations, which are sometimes referred to as a necessary evil; a mountain that has to be climbed in pursuit of one's dreams. What then, of internal examinations such as the ones our students are currently taking? What is the rationale behind them? Is it at all possible to do without them? Defending them is not so straightforward as the justification for A levels, but let me at least try.

For the seniors at KYUEM, last semester saw them through AS exams - their first hurdle, if you like. They are now continuing the journey towards A2 next May and June. These exams are more difficult, let's not make any mistake about that. We frequently tell our students that they have to up their game after AS if they wish to do well at A2. Our internal exams this semester are a first sign of how much the rules have changed. For their teachers, the tests are a good indicator of how well students are progressing. Those who struggle a bit may need some extra guidance and support. Those who get good grades can consider themselves on track and making satisfactory progress.

For the juniors, this is their first experience of a formal examination setting at KYUEM. It's good for them to know what the real thing will be like in 2016 and 2017. One of Clausewitz's Principles of War states: "Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted." It may be a bit of a stretch to compare CIE examination with warfare, but tactics, practice and the gaining of useful experience are surely common to both.

With these thoughts in mind, therefore, I wish all our students every success in their upcoming examinations.

And lastly for this post, you will be aware of the smoke haze that has been affecting Malaysia recently. I know that some schools in certain areas have been closed because of it. However, there are no plans currently to close KYUEM. On bad days, students will be encouraged to stay indoors and we have issued face masks to anyone who asks for them. Having spent part of last weekend in KL, I think we're much better off out here in the jungle.

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