9 November 2023

Examination season

Heads of SchoolSenior School
Examination season
Examination season
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Many of our Year 12 students have finished their final examinations, Year 11 IB practice examinations start this week and Year 11 VCE and Year 10 examinations start next week.

Examinations have never suited all students and there are increasing calls among teachers, academics, employers and others for ways to recognise students’ abilities and knowledge beyond those assessed in examinations. In part this is why we developed the Carey Learner Attributes and have been refining a range of observable learning behaviours. Carey is also a partner school with the University of Melbourne on a project developing alternate assessments and credentialing.

Despite their shortcomings, examinations seem to be set to remain a feature of Year 12 assessment for a while yet. While not discounting the limitation of examinations, the way students approach examinations and some of the skills needed to succeed in examinations have wider relevance.

At the very least, preparing for and completing examinations can give students confidence to approach other tasks and situations in a positive manner. I still remember overhearing a student saying, ‘Whenever I have to do something challenging, I think of that English Oral I had to do’. To me this student had gained a wonderful insight, which had lasting benefits well after the English assessment.


Important life and work-related skills which examinations require, or which can be refined while preparing for examinations include time management (while preparing for examinations and during an examination), critical thinking (being able to assess situations, identify problems and propose solutions), stress management and resilience (developed during examination periods), research and study skills (preparing for examinations is transferrable to research-oriented careers and important in industries requiring in-depth knowledge) and adaptability (examinations have different formats and may include unexpected questions).

For all but Year 12 students, this examination season provides our students with opportunities to refine how they prepare for their exams, how they operate in each examination and to then reflect on and refine their strategies for future examinations.

Examination season is quickly followed by the Christmas season and the long summer holiday. Setting aside the broader application examinations may have, looking forward to Christmas and the summer, knowing they have taken their examinations seriously, can also help students approach examination season in a positive manner.

Graeme Young
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning


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