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What if we were to try to predict the future of exam preparations? Could we point out the differences more accurately? No doubt, predicting the future – as any gambler knows – is a mug’s game. There’s also no denying that the fun part is the crystal ball gazing and not knowing how things will really shape up. And this is also the case where the future of exam preparation is concerned.

Some educators worry that there will be no students to teach anymore or no exams in the near future as technology might take over a lot of tasks. The question is: will technology replace human intelligence? Whether you like it or not, exam preparation will never disappear. It will just take up different forms.

If you go and ask your parents how they had their exams in life, you’d probably find yourself listening to a story about a curiously distant time in the evolution of humans life. Perhaps the same will happen to us, and we’ll gawk at the ways of the generations after ours, where exam preparation would appear alien to us – sort of like the cyborg age of cramming. The cultural change reflects on every generation and more specifically, the difference is seen in the youth of every generation.

Before going into how exam preparations might change, it is also fundamental to understand the future of exams. First off, technology is a key player in deciding what exams are to become in the future. We already are seeing a transition from the conventional pen and paper exams to a computer-based setup in exams as big as JEE Mains, BITSAT at the national level to SATs, GRE, and TOEFL in the international level. And this transition is sure to have an impact on the future.

So, without further ado, let me tell you how the process of exam preparation will look like in 2035.

The flexibility of time and place

In 2035, students will have more opportunities to learn at different times in different places. eLearning tools will facilitate opportunities for remote, self-paced learning. Classrooms will be flipped, which means the theoretical part will be learned outside the classroom, whereas the practical part shall be taught face to face, interactively. So, students will stay at home for exam preparation, absorb lecture content online and then come to campus merely for tutorials to discuss what they didn’t understand from their laptop.

Personalized learning

Students will learn with personalized study tools that adapt to their pace and capabilities. It means that above-average students will be challenged with harder tasks and questions when a certain level is achieved. Students who are slow learners and experience difficulties will get the opportunity to practice more until they reach the tougher level. This technique of preparations can result in a positive learning experience and diminish the amount of students losing confidence in their academic abilities.

Freedom of selecting the medium

Though every subject that a student learns aims for the same destination, i.e., exams, the road leading towards that destination will vary per student. Students will be able to modify their learning process with tools they feel are necessary for them. They will learn with different devices, different programs and techniques based on their preference. Blended learning, flipped classrooms and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) will form important terminology within this change.

Field experience

The preparation process and curricula will welcome skills that solely require human knowledge and face-to-face interaction. Thus, experience in ‘the field’ will be emphasized within courses to better equip students for exams. Schools will provide more opportunities for students to obtain real-world skills that are representative to their subjects. This means students will be a part of internships, mentoring projects and collaboration projects to understand the topic at hand.

Student ownership

Students will become more and more involved in forming their curricula. A strict syllabus will not be imposed on them, so students would be able to maintain a curriculum that is contemporary, up-to-date and realistic. Thanks to this flexibility, students will be able to understand the topics well in advance and will not rely on last-minute preparations. Critical input from students on the content and durability of their courses will create an all-embracing study program.

So, some changes over the next 20 years will be incremental and others transformative. The traditional, highly inefficient two-semester pattern will certainly disappear, replaced by year-round learning. Professors will typically appear remotely from some type of broadcast centre, and the concept of individual campuses will slowly disappear as more and more students will prepare from home, workplaces, park benches or coffee shops. Exams that emphasize mastery of taught knowledge will no longer be the primary tool for judging a student’s performance.

Technology has left its mark everywhere in our world, and so it is with online education. Despite the myths about online education, it could become the primary source of learning in 2050! Read more about the changes we expect to see in education 30 years from now, here.

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