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Examinations are stressful, and slightly different-formatted questions requiring students to think out of the box logically under time constraints are more challenging still. But these are a necessary process of education (Tough PSLE maths paper draws flak from some parents ST wed).
The only reasonable thing to be expected from examinations is the unexpected, and education boards have failed in their duties if exam candidates find nothing but ease, comfort, regularity and familiarity when confronted with a test script.
Examinations are a microcosm of life, full of twists and turns.
Parents have done their children a big disservice if they mollycoddle them through what is but a minor setback.
Life can be unkind, and a little crying better be followed up with a better game plan for the next probing catechism.
Our schools did not get to excel in the Programme for International Student Assessment rankings by setting easy questions that pose no challenge, requiring only regurgitated, effortless answers.
Similarly, Singapore will not thrive unless we continually find solutions to hard problems that won't yield to formulaic solutions which are found in a standard text.
The one helps to prepare for the other.
Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)