Why Exams Should Be Abolished? Argumentative Essay

Table of Content

Abstract: Since its official occurrence in the 19th century, school exams have been the only known and approved way to test students’ knowledge and evaluate their performance. The word exam” generally means a test, which can be administered in almost every aspect of one’s life. In my opinion, human beings are meant to be tested until their death. The results of these tests will be revealed on Judgment Day, where individuals will be either rewarded or punished according to their performance.

Many people believe that exams are the most suitable and equitable method for assessing students’ progress and determining their intelligence. However, others advocate for the elimination of exams in favor of more practical and skill-based evaluation methods. I strongly support the idea of abolishing exams, and this paper will present my reasons.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The school exam is a set of questions that students take throughout the school year to test their knowledge and evaluate their progress. Passing or failing exams determines whether students will move on to the next year or repeat their courses. In my opinion, examinations in general have existed before humankind. Allah tested his angels, Adam, and Eve before they came down to earth and produced humankind. The whole point of our existence is to be tested, and if we succeed, we go to paradise; but if we fail the test, we go to hell.

Therefore, the principle of exams existed before education itself. The current form of examination appeared in the 19th century. Before that century, education was solely for pure learning and no exams were administered. In England, boys in school took their first exam in 1858 and girls were introduced to the concept of exams in 1867 (Cambridge Assessment, 2008). Questions at that time revolved around religion and history. Students were also tested on mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry; however, questions in those subjects were easy and straightforward.

There are some people who support exams and believe in their importance when it comes to evaluating students’ progress in a specific subject. However, others think that there are other effective methods to measure students’ progress rather than relying solely on exams. In my opinion, exams should be abolished from school systems as they can be more harmful and meaningless to students than beneficial.

Those who support exams argue that students need external motivation to perform better. They claim that grades serve as a form of external motivation which can enhance the existing internal motivation of the student.

In other words, if students are awarded grades for doing well on exams, they will be motivated to learn more as they self-evaluate their progress. This is true to some extent. However, what would happen to their internal motivation and learning if they were over-awarded externally? Could too much external motivation diminish their internal drive? Twain’s hypothesis states that if a person is rewarded for an activity they love and enjoy doing, they may become less interested in that activity than before (Cited in Kassin, Fein & Markus, 2011).

Over-justification of learning by giving too many exams can be dangerous and may undermine students’ intrinsic motivation instead of enhancing it. Therefore, the idea of supporters of exams mentioned above cannot be generalized because it may work for some students over others depending on their motivational orientation. For intrinsically oriented students who do not care about their exam scores but only about how much they learn, external motivation would decrease their internal motivation.

On the other hand, students who are focused on achieving a specific goal and do not prioritize learning tend to be more motivated by external factors (Kassin et al., 2011). Those who disagree with the idea of abolishing exams argue that exams are crucial for monitoring and evaluating students’ performance, identifying areas of weakness, and providing them with the necessary support to improve.

It is important to know where students stand throughout the course to help them improve their weaknesses as early as possible. However, exams are not the only way to do so. In my opinion, schools should perform a set of small tests several times throughout the course to evaluate progress instead of having only one comprehensive exam at the end of the course. These small tests should not be purely theoretical and should include questions that test students’ actual knowledge.

Paul Black and Dylan Williams (2005) introduced the concept of Assessment for Learning” or AFL, which emphasizes the need for multiple formative assessments to help students improve rather than relying solely on one summative assessment at the end of a course. Some proponents of exams argue that replacing them with in-class projects or formative assessments would lead to an increase in plagiarism. However, this is not accurate as cheating during exams is more apparent than plagiarism, which can be detected by programs such as Turnitin. Therefore, plagiarism is more manageable than cheating during exams.

According to Simons (2011), teachers can eliminate the problem of plagiarism by trusting their students and teaching them how to do things correctly. Exams typically test students’ memorization skills, which can lead lazy or forgetful students to cheat in order to pass and move on to the next grade. In a survey I conducted, 99% of students admitted to cheating on one or more exams without being caught, even though they knew it was unethical (Exams Abolishment, 2012).

I support the idea of abolishing exams because, in my opinion, final exams primarily test students’ memorization skills rather than their actual knowledge. During revision periods before an exam, teachers often provide students with the questions and ideal answers. As a result, students cram their heads with information they may not even fully understand just to pass the exam and receive a good grade. But are they really learning anything? And do they even remember what they wrote on the exam once it’s over?

The answer to both questions is no. According to Gaita (2004), Examinations test the ability to memorize large amounts of information for short periods of time” (p. 21). Some students have a greater ability to memorize information than others, making it unfair for those who studied diligently throughout the semester to be placed on the same level as those who did not attend classes and simply memorized everything a day or two before the exam (Gaita, 2004).

In my opinion, exams should be abolished because they put students under an enormous amount of pressure, which could lead to serious psychological and physical health problems. Most students do not perform well under pressure, although they study and perform well in class. These students are more likely to get poor grades or even fail their exams because they are unable to control their stress during the exam caused by their fear of failure. Do these students deserve to fail the course or get a low overall grade just because their nervousness in the exam caused their minds to go blank? Meanwhile, other students who are able to work under pressure pass exams despite insufficient school work. Wouldn’t it be fair for all students to have a stress-free learning environment and receive fair grades?

In a survey that I conducted, 99% of students forgot answers during exams despite studying them due to stress. Only 1% of students reported feeling excited about exams (Exam Abolishment, 2012). Additionally, some students experience nervous breakdowns during exams, such as in the Sanawya Amma exams in Egypt where some students faint, cry, go into a depressive state or even commit suicide. In fact, a 15-year-old girl in the United Kingdom committed suicide because she was worried about her GCSE exam and did not want to disappoint her parents (Jackson, 2004).

Suicide cases due to the inability to cope with exam pressure are rising, averaging 140 per year (Bentham, 2000). Exam anxiety can also lead to repeated failure, causing school dropouts and feelings of hopelessness. In conclusion, the current examination system has failed. Just because something has been around for a long time does not mean it is useful and cannot be abolished. In my opinion, abolishing exams would have positive effects on students’ school performance and health. One suggestion would be replacing exams with frequent assignments and projects.

Assignments and projects are more beneficial for students as they help them understand what they learn. In their professional life, employers do not solely rely on exam results but also ask for portfolios to assess the candidates’ ability to perform the job. Hence, students require a better system than exams to test their knowledge, improve their skills and preserve the purpose of education.

Cite this page

Why Exams Should Be Abolished? Argumentative Essay. (2016, Sep 29). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront