A Message From The Deputy Rector

By Mark Hooper | Posted: Tuesday November 6, 2018

NCEA external exams kicked off this week and the next two weeks will see the busiest period.

There is plentiful support here at school from your son's teachers with extra tutorials and time available. An email a day or two ahead would allow tutorial times to be arranged and personalised help to be given. Junior exams are on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th November. A timetable and details were sent out earlier this week.

Let's get straight to it. What is the point of exams? There are a number of cliches to answer this and whether you, your son or all of us believe them, or know them to be true or not isn't the point. 

Perhaps this gives another way to look at it - the reality of our boys' lives after Otago Boys'.  Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be asked to attend a meeting with representatives from Otago Polytechnic and Otago University. One of the key messages was these institutions expressing great concern that newly enrolled students didn't do exams at school whilst in Year 13, yet "qualified" for their courses. The vast majority of courses at both places involve regular tests and exams. At roughly the same time, I bumped into an ex student of ours, doing really well and now in his 2nd year of completing an electrical apprenticeship. He told me about the early months of his training where he had to complete a 30 minute written test, under exam conditions every Wednesday, without fail and without failing.

Polytech, University or an apprenticeship account for almost all the destination pathways of our boys when they leave us. Tests and exams as part of that further learning or training will be an ever present part. 

A Year 13 boy asked me a week ago, just before he left school for study leave, "When do you think I should say I reached my peak at Otago Boys'?" My reply was instant; "At the end of your final sentence in your last exam in late November. That's when."

From all of us at Otago Boys', we wish the senior boys over the next three weeks and the junior boys in ten days the very best. 

"I don't wish you good luck in your exams. If you've done the prep right and been true to yourself luck will have nothing to do with it." (Every teacher in New Zealand).