Is it time to ditch handwritten exams?

The thought of exams probably reminds you of commonly uttered phrases like “turn over your paper”, “pens down” and “neat crossing out”, but in an era where we use computers and digital devices every day, why are we still taking pen and paper exams?

Currently, the University of Cambridge is considering making a move from handwritten to typed exams. This appears to be primarily for the benefit of students, who it is believed may not be as quick or legible with a pen as they were before portable word processing came into our lives.

It has also been suggested that using computers rather than pens and paper might be beneficial to students with disabilities, and it would eliminate the possibility of tutors showing bias in their marking because they recognise a student’s handwriting.

In 2012, The Guardian suggested that there was even talk of students experiencing pain from writing, simply because they weren’t used to such prolonged spells with a pen in their hands.

Advocates of the traditional handwritten exam might point out that for all the flaws of writing implements and paper, at least they’re not affected by technical hitches. Exam invigilators might dread a sea of hands being raised in the exam room due to malfunctioning laptops, or complaints that a poor exam performance was down to a student’s sluggish computer or internet connection.

Interestingly, the aforementioned Guardian article also notes that when students have been given the option to use their laptop instead of pen and paper, very few have done so, perhaps indicating that students do not want their technophobia to add to their exam day anxiety.

There’s also an argument that exams assess real world knowledge and problem solving, and there may be times when we need to display this without a computer at our fingertips.

Whether exams are typed or handwritten, your preparation and learning approaches should remain much the same. Techniques like mindfulness can give you the mentality to succeed, and our Business Blogging for Beginners diploma course will be ideal if you see yourself as somebody already in tune with word processing and the internet.

Categories: Writing

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