Testing Times

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As hundreds of thousands of young people get ready to sit exams, Mary Beard reflects on exam season - past and present.

The Cambridge don describes how the "tough, engaging and intelligent young people" she has taught for years "suddenly morph into nervous wrecks, hanging a bit pathetically on your every word, as they have never, quite rightly, done before".

She talks about the extraordinary similarities between exams in the 1800s and today...the "curmudgeonly gloom that greeted the students' efforts" sounds very familiar.

Michael Gove and his friends - she suggests - might like to take note that complaints about poor performance have been around for quite some time!

Producer: Adele Armstrong.

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10 minutes

Last on

Sun 18 May 2014 08:48

A Point of View: The age-old anxiety of exam time

A Point of View: The age-old anxiety of exam time

These days, the historian Mary Beard marks university exams rather than sits them - but as the season of finals begins, she finds it difficult to avoid being caught up in her students' anxieties.


Read Mary Beard's article on the BBC News website

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