Dear Test Scores…

‘Dear 99%,

As I lie on my deathbed recounting my failings, I cannot help but find you, time after time,  tucked away in the corner of my mind titled Tragedy. Your existence cursed mine – anxiety welled up within me as the mark scheme scanned the terrain of your number buddies from 1 to 100, and oh how much I wanted to simply explode into n * 6.02 * 10^23 fundamental particles when you volunteered yourself as tribute. What a horrific sight! I assure myself that the whole of the universe never precedented such a shortcoming – how could I face my family?! Such dishonour I bring as to hang my head in utter shame; my future takes the peasantry path, the prophecies of my inevitable doom have thundered their way into reality, and I must now proceed to spend the rest of the afterlife contemplating just how I managed to let one mark slip through the gaps.


A perpetually dissatisfied individual’


With the end of week 8 pronouncing the conclusion of milestone exams, we may all breathe a sigh of relief in putting our books aside and taking the time to catch up on life. Unfortunately, however, this may not be the case for many of us, as marks roll out and we are forced to face the turnout of our recent performances. I earnestly hope that as many of you as possible are satisfied with your results, but at the same time, I understand the reality that this is not always the case.  


And that’s okay. I repeat, it’s okay if you fell short of your expectations, for your milestone test results do not dictate your future performances, and certainly should not determine how you feel about yourself. We all experience failure – in fact, the disappointment which arises from it has proven itself throughout history to be one of the most effective catalysts for improvement. Without making mistakes, we will never know our flaws, and will thus never be able to set new goals to better ourselves. If we make a conscious effort to fix our mistakes, failure is great. Perhaps then, in some way, failure = success.

Also, while we should not be using this as an excuse, it is still early on in the year; there is still time to bounce back and put in the work required to achieve our goals. Anybody who makes a conscious effort to improve and employs good study strategy will do so. Do not fall into the trap that your progress is fixed – change your thinking to that of a growth mindset, and not only will you possibly begin to enjoy your classes more, but you will likely get more out of life as well.

As for the people who achieved stellar marks, but perhaps not enough to clinch that A* you so wanted, fret not. While the extra 1 or 2 percent may alter the KAMAR algorithms in your favour, ultimately, we should be looking for better comprehension of the content, especially at this stage of the year. After all, the truth remains that 80% simply means you conformed to the mark scheme 8 times out of 10 – grades, whether they be A* or Excellence, are not always the most accurate measurement of your level of understanding.


Ultimately, I believe we should learn to look past the number on our paper, and instead give heed to how we may further our understanding. Why spend the rest of your college life being pedantic about the little digits on our report, when we could be learning something new, refining our artistic ability, or putting our ideas into action? Stop living your life trying to sell yourself to a mark schedule, and instead, start striving to achieve your own individual goals.

Written by Elizabeth Koh

Edited by Tara Jackson

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