Monday, November 28, 2011

A Finnish Test

The finnish school system is very well known for it's excellency. And it really is an incredible system, solid system that works wonders. In finnish high school, there are 5 jakso's and they last six weeks each and are the equivalent of a semester in the united states. At the end of every jakso there is a week of final tests for every class. As an exchange student I am not required to take the tests, and so therefore I have a week off. And then after the test week is over, everyone has a new schedule and new classes. So it is a bit harsh that they have to study so hard, so often, but I think that they have it that way so that it keeps the students on their toes and always studying. Which is a good way to keep them from slacking off. If you slack off you get left in the dust, and education is very important in the finnish culture, so slacking off in school and getting left behind is unacceptable, especially in my school, which is known as one of the best schools in Turku.

So this morning I took my first test in the finnish school system. It was in geography, which is one of the classes that I greatly enjoyed in this last jakso. I enjoyed it because it was quite an easy and simple class, which comprised mostly of the basics and introduction to earth science and geography. It was also a mixture of some of the subjects of my science classes in several of the past years. Which made it easy because I could follow what was going on, since I already knew much of what the class was about.

Studying for the test was probably the hardest part. I had my geography text book, but it was all in that helped a lot....not really. I basically just flipped the pages and tried to memorize the many pictures and diagrams, google translating words in bold and such. But I also had a lot of notes that I copied down and then google translated so most of my studying for the test consisted of memorizing those notes. Google translate had actually done a mostly good job on some of them. I had used some other translating websites as well, so most of my notes made sense. But also what made studying so hard was that I really had no idea what to expect from the test. I had no idea what a finnish test would be like. I had some notes where the teacher had written down some tips for taking the test. I had an idea that it would have a lot of writing. But otherwise, I was totally clueless, so I just studied my notes as if I was taking an american test.

So, come Monday morning when I had my test, I set my alarm for 7 am, which was terrible, by the way. And then I took the bus to school, and I was kinda nervous, but I had to tell myself that I had an excuse for failing the test: the class had been in another that was a good enough excuse, if I did manage to fail it....But the test was going to be in english, thank god.

In Finland, american tests have a big reputation of being so incredibly easy. All of the finns think that all of our tests are multiple choice, and we barely ever have tests. And in all honesty I think that these allegations are false. Our tests are hard enough, it just depends on the teacher you have. Some teachers don't even give tests, and some give tests that are really challenging and take forever. Not to mention that most of the time that we have tests, which are not in finals week we have to complete them in one class period, unlike finnish tests, which you are given 3 hours for.

But anyways, enough about how hard tests are. In my opinion, having taken tests in both Finland and USA, I think that they are probably just as difficult in one country as the other. I was thinking that because Finland has such a better system, that of course they would have harder tests, but when I think about it, we have tests every six weeks, also, and they are just as hard, it is only at semester's end that we have a week dedicated to tests.

So I took the test, it wasn't all that different from an american test, it was kinda like an essay question test, which had more than one essay question. But that was it. If you knew what you had to write about, it was fine.

I have no idea how well I did. I did better than I thought I would, that is for sure.

Anyways, sorry for a post without pictures...

1 comment:

  1. Most Finns' knowledge about the US is probably based on movies and TV :D so if someone told you they thought American tests were all MCQ's, they've probably just seen someone take the SAT in a movie :D And as far as how easy the tests are, that probably depends more on the age of the student and the level of the class, rather than the country. Also, the less you study, the harder the exam :D right?