Monday, January 9, 2012

Brief Update: Exams

Here in Oman we have reached the midway point of the school year (shocking, I know!) and that means first semester exams! My grade 12 classmates are actually not taking exams at school because for their diplomas they are required to sit their exams at the Ministry of Education in the next few weeks. However, because I am not graduating this year with an Omani diploma, I’m taking exams this week at school.

One of the biggest differences that I have seen between American and Omani schools is the emphasis here on exams. Over the past few weeks our classes have been a frenzy of activity working on our studies. There were Thursday sessions for extra help. For 12th grade students, these exams are vital because, if they do well on them (and the end-of-the-year exams), they can get full-ride scholarships to almost any university in the world! It’s a very interesting system—the Ministry of Education makes a big investment in these students. It is assumed that they will return to Oman with international degrees (commonly from the USA, UK, or Australia although it could be anywhere) and help to boost the Omani economy. Anyways, my classmates are currently really focused on their studies because these scholarships are only based on grade 12 examination results.

For the rest of us who will not be getting a diploma this year, exams are also quite important. They are worth 60% of our grade. My school in the USA has a summative/formative 70/30 system for grading, but still there is never such a large portion of the grade based off of one two-hour test. The whole concept of weighted final exams is essentially new material to me because I’m used to taking unit or chapter tests and then maybe having a final exam at the end. However, the final exam is worth as much as the other tests and is therefore not as vital for the grade.

Because of the vast importance set on this exam, people study a lot in preparation. Each exam day, we are released at 10 o’clock and kids legitimately go home and study for the rest of the day—myself included. For the past few days I’ve had major cram sessions!  Because of this whole exam adventure, I apologize for the lack of blogs lately, and I will try to pick back up in the new semester.

Next week is our winter break and I look forward to a 3-day camping trip to Wahiba Sands in the Sharqiya region of Oman with my fellow YESers, so keep your eyes peeled for pictures and posts on that! 

Also, the 5 Omanis who will be making the trek on the YES Program to America next year have been picked... congrats to them! Perhaps one will end up with my family even! :)

1 comment:

  1. You could have mentioned you younger sisters 12th birthday was on the 8th