Letter: Exams: the strain is the number, not the questions

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am 14 years old and I have just taken the English Standard Assessment Tasks exams. With reference to your article, 'Authors have testing time with the Bard' (10 June), I feel it is better to publish the opinions of those who actually took the tests, rather than of professional writers who have much more experience and knowledge of literature than we have. It is no wonder they found it easy and 'boring'.

I did not find the paper as bad as I thought it would be. The Shakespeare questions were just the sort of thing that we would do in class as a discussion, and the anthology questions were quite testing. In your article it sounds as if everyone had to do the poem 'Hard Frost' from the anthology. In fact we had a choice and I did David Copperfield and found it quite interesting.

I finished 5 to 10 minutes before the one-and-a-half hour time limit was up, and I did not find it such an 'ordeal' as the writers seem to have done.

I do not like doing tests, and I know of few people who do. I think that we have too many exams already. I took 24 exams this summer over a span of three weeks. I think that if they are going to continue with these SATS then they should rethink whether we have to do our school exams as well.

I did not particularly mind doing the English SATS, but I do object to all the strain and stress of having to take 24 exams.

Yours sincerely,


London, SE19

11 June