“Examination Is not A True Test Of Knowledge” If I Hear!

Opeyemi Adediran


Today, Lolo’s thoughts features a guest writer. In this thought provoking piece, Opeyemi Adediran challenges the veracity of the common claim that examination is not a true test of knowledge. Ope is a BSc and Masters degree holder in Animal Science from the University Of Ibadan. He enjoys reading, tackling trivia questions and browsing. He writes in from Ibadan.





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“Examination is not a true test of knowledge” is a statement/mantra that one should have come across at one point or the other. Many people are too eager to mouth “examination is not a true test of knowledge” to rationalize their abysmal academic performance, lack of substantial academic effort/nonchalance, and sometimes, the not too glorious state of the Nigerian (Public) education system. However, it is pertinent to EXAMINE this cliche itself. Is it true? I think not. And here’s why;

While I agree that “pen and paper” may not be a perfect or circumspect test, it most definitely examines knowledge. It is also important to note that the statement/premise is fallacious since not all examinations are purely “pen and paper”, there are practical examinations, oral examinations etc. Another claim made by proponents of the mantra is that some people are able to score high in examinations simply because they are good crammers and not because they are actually knowledgeable. To some extent, this can be true, but cramming is not easy work (even though personally I am not an expert at it, and do not advocate it) and we need to give crammers credit for their effort. However, I doubt if none of the “knowledge” gained through cramming is committed to long term memory.

Einstein had a point when he opined “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” But even in water, fish don’t survive effortlessly. Maybe the educational sector needs revamping in certain areas to make it more conducive and to give teaching assistance to those with learning difficulties. Yes.

But going by definition, examination is to test the knowledge or proficiency of (someone) by requiring them to answer questions or perform tasks. In schools, examinations are almost always done after extensive periods of teaching, study and revision. In that wise, how can examination be a FALSE test of knowledge?


P.S: My weekly article will be posted tomorrow.


2 Replies to ““Examination Is not A True Test Of Knowledge” If I Hear!”

  1. for me it depends, ave seen people pass an exam just bcos d area dey read was just what came up in d exam,meanwhile someone else dat is very good in class,group discussions,etc failed bcos he/she wasn’t prepared for dat topic. but if you still call des 2 people, u’ll discover dat d one dat failed knows better.

    I came to realize when I was writing ICAN exams dat it wasn’t just by passing d exam dat made you a good chartered accountant. in class we had experienced workers who were already practicing and hence knew much of any topic being taught us by the lecturers in class.we dat were not yet working were often suppressed or oppressed by d level of der knowledge but guess what?
    when it came to exams, dey fail most times or come out with a reference at most simply bcos dey had no time to read etc.

    so it’s truly not just about passing exams dat means it’s d true test if knowledge.

    1. This this absolutely correct my dear.. examination is not a true test of knowledge! Nawodays most tutors have their favourite students in class, and when it comes to exam, they tend to score high marks specifically to their favourite students I.e it could be the student is always punctual to classes and vice versa.,
      knowledge is a natural gift from God.. formal teaching/ report is a platform to backup ones knowledge.. when people present an excellent formal report, it doesn’t guarantee they are knowledgable.. in other words, examination is not a true test of knowledge. Rather it is a game of chance full of indeterminism

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