Being a student in Taiwan is already horrible, but the final year of junior high school is basically purgatory. And it is all due to the infamous High School Entrance Exam. Some people say that it is the fairest way to determine which high school students should go to, but it causes much more harm than good.
1. The stress on students
This is the most undeniable flaw and the reason why most students fear the third year of junior high; the pressure and stress of the final year of junior high is incredibly high and heavy. To prepare for just this one final test, students have to go through hundreds, if not thousands of tests and exams. Also the amount of homework needed to be done could be piled up into a mountain. Teachers and parents berate students and children as a form of coercion and to make kids study as hard as possible. These are all things a young 15 year old shouldn’t have to go through.
2. Creating machine students
Even though the exam does help students review what they have learned over the past three years, it doesn’t really teach students how to think outside of the box. Instead of helping students learn how to think and solve problems by themselves, all it really does is make students remember tons of information and knowledge that they may not even use in the future. This process creates students that have pure knowledge but have no idea on how to implement this information in their lives.
3. One exam can determine a person’s life and career
The high schools in Taiwan can greatly affect a person’s career, so the exam that decides which high school you go to can effectively have a huge impact on your life. Making a single tiny mistake can change everything. Plenty of students have paid a heavy price just for making the tiniest of mistakes, which isn’t really all that fair.
4. Students spend too much time studying for just one exam
To prepare for the test most students start studying like a madman one year beforehand; during that time students minimize all other extra-curricular activities to focus solely on preparing for that one exam. Large amounts of students study late, up until midnight, and sometimes even past that, which isn’t really healthy for a growing teenager. Also, the lack of entertainment for an entire year takes a huge toll on students and many of them get depressed – some even lose faith in themselves.
5. Kills imagination
To do well on the exam, students spend an entire year cramming all the information they can, but in doing so they are trading their imagination for pure knowledge. In a time when creativity and imagination is a requirement for tons of jobs, this system is not a good deal. Furthermore, the overload of information that students have to take in every day causes students to actually think less day by day.
Sure, having everyone take the same exam is the fairest way there is to determine which high school people go to, but it is not the best way to educate children. So if we want to have a better economy, we better start educating people who can think and solve problems. What better way is there to do this than canceling the high school entrance exam and changing our testing culture?