Tests are often perceived negatively. We build them up to something bigger than they are and we’re sickened at the thought of doing poorly, being criticised or compared to others.

There is a growing notion that exams should become a thing of the past, but we’re a long way from a test-free world. We’ll be stuck with tests for the inconceivable future so, what’s the solution?

First, we must recognise the purpose of tests. They’re not designed to make us feel bad about ourselves or to heap harsh criticisms on our shoulders. We have created these pressures.

Tests are a mechanism that helps us to determine where we’re at relative to where we need to be. If we want to develop skills in a field, there are benchmarks for proficiency. We wouldn’t want an incompetent surgeon handling our kidneys now, would we?

Also, tests are an opportunity to gather feedback. Finding out what we could have done better allows for progression and stops us from repeating the same mistakes.

Let’s reframe testing. Our teachers want the best for us – their intent isn’t malicious. Although at times receiving feedback can be hard, thrive on the criticism. Look forward to being singled out. You’re less likely to make the same error in the future.


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