Childhood: first exams

Childhood First Exams

The 8yo has just sat his first exams. Five of them.

It seems terribly young to be sitting such formal tests, but he has taken them in his stride, and we are very proud of him.

Massachusetts is one of 13 states (I believe) currently participating in this years PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments and the 8yo sat three English Language Arts (ELA) papers and two Math ones.

He was quite anxious before the first exam, he likes to do well and was nervous of the formality of the tests. Sitting in exam conditions for 60-75 minutes isn’t something he had experienced before (unsurprisingly) and I can understand why he was a little unsure.

But, he has prepared well for them. Focussing on the practice papers that they did in class and for homework, and talking through strategies for the exams themselves. What to do if he got stuck, how to stay calm, how to effectively check his work. He was ready.

After each exam I have asked how he felt he got on, and have been greeted with the typical responses of okay, fine, not bad… But, he has expanded a little, with prompting, and it does sound as if he feels quite happy with how he did, going so far as to describe the questions, including the odd tricky one, to me.

While I can’t help but think that this is very young for exams, I have been very impressed with his attitude throughout. He has approached each one, even his least favourite of the English papers, with common sense and a cool head. He knows to take it slow, read carefully, check and re-check!

We’ve been careful to not put any additional pressure on him, we know that he will do his best, and have made sure to tell him so; to reassure him that we are proud of him, always.

He has been very mature, and I have found myself seeing the teenager that he will become more and more clearly.

And, he’s not even nine.

I am watching him grow up before my eyes.

His last exam was yesterday, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Have your children sat formal exams yet? How old were they when they took them and how did you help them prepare?

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25 thoughts on “Childhood: first exams”

  1. Gosh that is early to take exams! Mine never did anything other than SATS when they were that young. I think i would have been ok with it as long as they were not stressed by it. I hope he does ok x

    1. That is a very good question! My impression is that they are as much about assessing the school as the students…

  2. Wow that is incredible, it does feel really young to be sitting formal exams but sounds like he has coped really well with it. Love your approach to it too as I am sure you not putting too much pressure on him has helped him handle it so well Sara xx

  3. Aaagh! How young to do exams! I know they do SATs here in year 2, but the kids don’t even realise they’re doing them.
    My son has his KS2 SATs soon and has done his grammar school entrance exam. Exam conditions are pretty scary because you don’t know how the kids will react. Thank goodness your boy took it all in his stride.

    1. That’s the thing isn’t it, he is very sensible, but you have no idea how they will cope in exam conditions!

  4. 8 is certainly young to facing exams, but it sounds like he faced them like a champ! Your approach to them sounds perfect, I’m sure the results will reflect that x

  5. So young for formal exams, but seems like he was well prepared for the work and the situation.

    My first exam (seated, rather than practical music or dancing exam) was my music theory test at presumably around age 11. I failed – and then resat soon after and passed after they’d made the exams harder. Then the next academic type exam was private 6th form scholarship exams. I quite liked exams and did better in those than coursework, so I’m hoping N takes after me and not his dad who wasn’t at all academic.

    While the exams yours did were long in time, it’s probably great preparation for exams later on. I do think that leaving it until GSCE mocks for some children to have sat their first exam (like in my day) is madness because you have no way of knowing how they’ll cope at a time when they can be really important.

    1. I remember sitting tests at school, but never in such a formal setting, or so long. But, I think you’re right that as much as anything is teaches them how to approach exams, which is a really important skill x

  6. Gosh that is young to be taking exams. I thought that the english school system was bad enough! I love that he’s taken it in his stride though and sounds like you’re not heaping the pressure on so am sure all will turn out ok. Well done to him and thank you for linking up to #loudnproud. s

  7. Mamavsteacher

    Wow, 8 is so young for exams that long, he can’t possibly focus properly for that long. However, he does sound like he approached them very maturely and of that, I would be very proud too. #loudnproud

  8. I can’t believe they sit exams so young now, I think we sat the 11+ in the last year of primary school. It sounds like he had the right approach to sitting the exams. I hope he gets the results he wants.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

  9. Pingback: Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky – 15/4/15 » AutismMumma

  10. Siobhan@Everyone Else is Normal

    Ooh, he does sound so grown up and taking it well. You’re right it IS young to be sitting exams like this. They sound very similar to SATS KS2 that my daughter is sitting at the moment. She’s 10, but most of her friends are 11. And like you, she’s learnt so much exam technique and has been so mature about it that we’ve been given a glimpse of the teenager to come. Sounds like you’ve been brilliant about it all. And breathe! Sx

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