Teachers trying to stuff students’ heads with knowledge for final exams
March 10th, 2011
High school teachers and students are holding their breath vand waiting for the day when the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) announces the final exam subjects for 2011. Meanwhile, they have been following intensive exam preparation courses to prepare for the exams.
The academic year will finish in May 2011 and MOET will declare the exam subjects in late March. However, high school teachers all say that they need to prepare their students for the exams now, or it will be too late.
High schools are now put under pressure because the schools with high percentages of students who do not pass final exams will become less prestigious in the eyes of parents, and they will not be able to attract many students. Therefore, passing finals proves to be the task of not only high school students, but high school teachers as well.
In principle, there are six exam subjects, including three fixed subjects (literature, mathematics and foreign languages) and the other three subjects are decided annually by MOET. Literature, mathematics and foreign languages are considered main subjects, while others called subsidiary subjects.
Both students and teachers gearing up
Since the days immediately after Tet, Tran Hung Dao High School has been asking students to set aside more learning hours for subsidiary subjects in order to be able to fulfill the curriculum. This is also the way that many other high schools are using to prepare their students for exam. If the curriculums for subsidiary subjects can be fulfilled by March, students will have two whole months, April and May, to prepare for the final exams.
“Before Tet, we began speeding up with subsidiary subjects. By doing so, we will have more time to focus on main subjects,” said Nguyen Nhu Ha, a student of Tran Hung Dao School. Meanwhile, after Tet the numbers of literature, mathematics and foreign language lessons have increased by 5-6 hours a week. “If you are in a class majoring in social sciences, you will have more lessons in social science subjects, and if you are in a class majoring in natural sciences, then you will have to learn natural science subjects more intensively,” she explained.
Meanwhile, since the beginning of the school year other schools decided to ask students to have more learning hours of main subjects. Dr Nguyen Tung Lam, President of Dinh Tien Hoang High School in Hanoi, said that the number of teaching hours of main subjects at his school is 30 percent higher than the number of hours stipulated by MOET in the normal curriculum. Right since the beginning of the year, teachers have been asked to give all necessary knowledge to students, so that students can pass the finals.
Since private schools begin new school years early, in August, so that they can finish their curriculums sooner than state-owned schools, in March. As such, from April 1 onward, the schools can focus on preparing for finals.
Many people founded schools say they have set up plans to give tutoring lessons to students in order to fill in knowledge gaps. For example, students of Lomonosov School said that from the second semester the number of mathematics, literature and English hours has increased by two or three hours per week.
Van Thuy Duong from Luong The Vinh High School, said that the students at the school finished the curriculum by the end of the first semester. “For example, while MOET sets up two chemistry teaching hours per week, our students had three hours. This allows us to finish the curriculum sooner than planned,” she said.
Time to have mock exams
A lot of high schools are going to organize mock exams for students in order to psychologically prepare the students.
Ngo Thi Hong Ha, Deputy President of Lomonosov School, said that her students will attend the first mock exam to be held in late March. The second mock exam will be held in May, before students attend the real exam in early June.
Professor Van Nhu Cuong, President of Luong The Vinh school, said that the school has organized a mock university entrance exam, and that it will still organize more high school final exams and university entrance exams in a few months. He stressed that attending mock exams is a good solution to discover the actual capability of students so that schools can have good measures to help students review their knowledge.