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Episode 16

Jamie's taken his exam and is waiting for the results. Adam and Jo talk about the meaning of different exam results in the UK.

Elementary Podcasts

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Task 8


Leave a comment below!

  • Exams or continuous assessment – which do you prefer?
  • Which do you think is better?

Leave a comment and we'll discuss some of your answers in the next podcast.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Pre-intermediate: A2


The best way to evaluate the knowledge for me is the continuous assessment, because it allows students improve more quickly and detect the early errors and mistakes in the process of learning rather than the exams where students can forget some of the knowledge along the courses and when they get there and have to take the exams they're really stressed and nervous. Actually the continuous assessment is more like the real life work when you must test your knowledge and learn new things a little bit every day and not only once every 6 o 8 months like exams.

Thanks for the episode.
Great site!!

I prefer continuous assessment. It's because we easily feel pressured if we are assessed only by exams. By continuous assessment, on the other hand, we try to study throughout the year not only during the final period. When I was back in school, we had both, but final exams weighed way more than continuous assessment, like 30 percent to 70 percent.

Well, If I’m not wrong here we called them different and when I was a student at university we used to take both, I think that continuous assessments could be attached also with an exam at the end of term. but also it is real as a read in a comment that some professors spend a lot of time teaching unnecessary things, for instance I studied business administration and there is load of garbage that I had to learn like when was created administration theories, which are completely unnecessary in real life, could be more useful spending those time in practice issues.

I'd prefer exams to continuous assessment because I like to work hard for a short while like Adam, and there is another advantage of exam over continuous assessment is that the students may face bad circumstances during the year while in the exams you have a short period of time two weeks or less where you give it all your concentration and that's it.
Sorry for making mistakes

thank you for all British council team . i think for me I d rather continuous assessment than exams because is better to examine the students in different times to be sure the student can pass other year . of injustice to hard working students one decision pass or fail this make the students under stressed but in other hand some might disagree with my opinion of course i respect all the different opinions in the end I prefer continuous assessment to those people do not want to waste their time or perhaps lazy people hhhhh

Actually I don't care about exams and as an engineer with a master degree who have done more than 14 finals, I will say that exams in universities and schools are time-consuming and have no valuable effect on students. I believe that exams are a very important way to test your knowledge but this can't be done by rewriting what you have learnt. The real exam is in the real world where a lot of problems will face you and you have to use your knowledge to solve these problems, and that could be done with projects, assignments and researches. Assume that I am studying English, the exam should be making a real conversation between students instead of doing writing exams. For more illustration, suppose you know a formula, it won't be useful if you don't know how to use it, and furthermore there is no meaning of memorizing the formula if it is possible to get it by a simple google search. In some sciences like history, you can do research instead of doing writing exams. In my opinion, the most important thing is to be able to use what knowledge you have in the real world.
Finally, I just want to say that writing exams are nothing but an awful way to suppress ambitious students in addition to damage more trees and paper.

I had to go through both ways being a student at the university and must confess that I more prefer continuous assessment rather than preparing for the exams. When you do your coursework it gets you be up on your ears in field of your study, your subject. You have to work in the library with books that means reading a lot and write expressing yourself making your own research in topic. There’s always a chance to talk to the teacher to find out what’s wrong and how to make progress.
Exams are as well as Jo thinks seemed to be stressful for me as well. But this case there’s no necessary to work hard through the whole course. You can prepare for them for no so long time.


Do I like to learn throughout the year or only for exams?

It depends. Some subjects like history and biology don't require that you remember what you previously learned. If you have completed one topic and start a new topic then you usually don't need the previous content.

I would only learn then the subject throughout the year if I think I need this information for my life because it is important.

Other subjects like math and languages require that you know what you have previous learned. For example if you can't remember the English tenses well then you have problems when the topic is indirect speech because you need to understand the tenses when you want to formulate these kind of sentences.


Actually I don't enjoy of taking exams, but almost no one (at least the people who studied) can avoid it in their lives. taking exams is not a 100% good or 100% bad , it has pros and cons. Lets talk about the pros because even if some teachers do not like to give final exams they still can't avoid of giving exams completely.They need a way to know students better.
advantages of taking exams are:
It is a good way to assessing students knowledge, ability or finding out how much they studied and learned during a smester. besides It is the easiest way to classifying the students and finally it is a standard and fair way to assessing students.
On the other hand teachers can remove final exam and assessing students during the semester this is a perfect way to make students to study everyday. When I was at university I had a professor who was so serious . She made us to study one or two article and a chapter of a book every session and we talked about the things we studied at the class. So in the end of semester we all learned many things and we all know about the course. this sounds great.

By the way i think It's up to the teachers and the grade and age of student to choose the way of assessing them. They can give an exam at the end of the term and they also should keep doing continuious homeworks and school activities and the final mark be inculded both of them

I prefer continuous assessment. I think this a better