At the end of grade ten, every student has to make a big decision on whether to sit the external exams in the month of May. However, some students, not applying to India, the UK etc. or not wanting to take the exams are required to work on individual projects called IDP (Inter-Disciplinary Projects).
For many students, these exams are very important as they require year-long preparations and the results decide the future of many students after graduation. The incredible amount of hard work, as well as the results, have given the current juniors and seniors a lot of experience about what worked out, and what didn’t.
Woodstock’s administration understands that some changes in the calendar are needed to help the students focus on their work during the month of May, but despite the complicated schedules, there has been a lot of improvement in exam results.
Many students took the exams because of college preferences in Europe.
Tanuj Bagaria, class of 2018, said, “I sat the exams because I aim to apply to the UK for college.”
While others such as Yehun Son, class of 2019, took them because he didn’t want to do the IDP project. “However,” he said, “after taking them, I felt I benefitted since they indicated exactly where I stood in terms of academics and how I could improve in the future so I could do better in future exams. It’s ultimately up to us to prepare for them.”.
Some students, however, had different ideas about the exams and even felt the school’s preparation was inadequate.
Aniket Singh, Class of 2019, said, “I had some trouble with my exams, especially IGCSE Math. Extra classes outside of school hours, like maybe extra classes or a passage, could be one way the school can help better prepare the students.”
Udit Garg, class of 2018, also commented on the IGCSE Math exam, saying, “Maybe Woodstock should offer one specific course, instead of two (Geometry and Algebra 2), that is based on the IGCSE course and could help students taking the IGCSE Math exam be better prepared.”
Garg, in fact, had a more positive view on the exams, which he relates to extra tuitions he took during winter break, something many other seniors also did. In fact, in May 2017, the percentage of Woodstock students achieving a 3 or above on their AP exams rose from 70 to 92 percent, this also includes the current juniors who took the AP World History exam last year.
Mr. Van Drunen, the vice principal, was also very pleased with the progress and said, “Last year’s APs were best ever because of the seriousness with which students took them. Woodstock believes exams are a reflection of the necessary study and planning skills the students develop from their exams because those habits are what matters the most.”
However, there are also some things that could have been better. For instance, many students from the class of 2019 were not as happy with their results and Mr. Van Drunen and school administration are trying to help improve the schedule of the chaotic month of May to make it more congenial for students to schedule extra study time in order to help the students prepare and thereby perform better on their exams.
However, the cluster of events that took place during the month of May, such as JSB, the Mountain Festival, and IDP deadlines will only take place after the month of December when Cambridge reveals their IGCSE external exam dates.
Mr. Van Drunen said, “The staff and I are doing our best are trying to improve the scheduling, especially for the month of May, by holding meetings and exploring ways to come up with a fair and balanced calendar.” He hopes they can make changes to the calendar that works for all students, enabling them to do their best in the exams.