I think exams were one of the worst experiences we had to endure at school.

As I recall we had to take exams just before Christmas and shortly before the end of the summer term. The whole experience, from revision right through to report time was very stressful, particularly if you didn't obtain good results. The worst thing that could happen during the exams would be to be caught cheating, something I never had the courage to partake in, although I observed it happening to some unfortunates on a number of occasions. Although there was a sense of relief when the exams were over, you then had to endure the results being announced. There were a variety of ways in which this happened, the worst being when a teacher decided to announce the results publicly in class. For those that hadn’t done well, this was an embarrassing experience. My worst time was when I was awarded just 7% in Latin and needless to say this was broadcast to the whole class. I think I just wanted the floor to swallow me up! I remember another Latin exam when a boy obtained 100% which was extraordinary.

Another post-exam routine which had to be endured were boys, usually the ones who had done well, asking everyone what their average score was. This was OK if you were doing well, but excruciating if you weren't.

There were occasional glimpses of light relief however. For one exam, some wag had created a bogus set of results and posted these on the classroom noticeboard. I remember many boys being taken in by this until the culprit owned up.

The next thing to endure was the result of the order you had finished in class based on your average mark. In the summer of the first year I finished 9th in class, something I was really proud of, but from the second year onwards, I tended to finish between 20th and 25th place, which wasn't so good.

But probably the worst part of the whole rotten experience was report time. I used to dread these, particularly as my dad gave me a very hard time if I hadn't done well, which was usually the case.

Sometimes the reports were posted directly to your home and on other occasions given to us to bring home. I remember a boy in our class attempted to forge his report by doctoring some of the poorer marks and comments. Needless to say he was found out and thus was in double trouble.

Yet another experience to be endured connected with exams were the parent teacher meetings. I remember on more than one occasion sitting at home worrying and waiting for my parents to get back, and then getting the inevitable rollicking from my dad.

Do you know I think the exams must have really affected me deeply as I still occasionally have bad dreams about them-28 years on!
(John T 66-71)

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