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The Dos and Don'ts for examination candidates


As schools get to the homestretch of the last term of the year, Class Eight and Form Four candidates will be gearing up for the October/November KCPE and KCSE examinations respectively. This is a very delicate period for them because all their efforts could go to waste if proper guidance is not provided.

Having spent eight and four more years respectively preparing for their final examination, candidates need to be guided appropriately as we inch towards the examinations period. It is important to understand the role each education stakeholder must play. Today, I want to address myself to two players; the parents and the examination candidates themselves.

I have argued before that of all the education stakeholders, it is only parents who acquire this status by paying. Parents pay school fees. The other stakeholders do not. Having said that, I want to remind these important stakeholders what is expected of them during exams. They must speak to their children with empowerment. Avoid disparaging language that could cast doubts in the child’s preparedness. Bear in mind that your relationship with your child is not dependent on KCPE or KCSE results, or does it?

Secondly, parents must be there for them. Their presence during this period is paramount. Remember presence and not provision. Some parents just provide and think that is all. No amount of wealth/money can buy a parent. Absent parents will cause emotional and psychological burdens to candidates. Remember the candidates will be going through a difficult moment. It helps lessen the burden when they realise their parents are with them. Sometimes a well prepared candidate performs dismally because of parental issues.

Thirdly, parents must provide all the required examination materials. Buy your child brand-new rulers, pencils, pens, rubbers, mathematical sets, the works. There is some energy that comes with doing an examination with brand new stationery. After all they say, save your best for the last. They should not just be new but sufficient.

Fourthly, if your child is in a boarding school, find sometime and visit him/her before and during the examination period. Preferably the two parents should visit together; not separately. This gives them the much needed parental support.

On their part, candidates must be at peace with everybody around them. If you have not mended fences with people you fell out with, then ensure this is done long before exams start. Shed off all the emotional baggage by letting go any grudges you may have developed with staff members. Most schools set aside a day for prayers. Prayers work wonders. Do this genuinely; not because of the exams but because this is the right thing to do.

When in the exam room, read the questions keenly and attempt all of them. Even a one mark question matters. Remember there are no ‘cheap or easy’ questions. Give it your best.


Avoid temptations to cheat in examinations. Imagine all the eight or four years’ labour going to drain. If you trust God with the effort you have put in years, He is going to see you through.

Form discussion groups with other candidates to be holding discussions together. Nothing works best like discussion groups during examination period. Never discuss questions already done since nothing can be done to reverse the situation. Let bygone be bygones.

Ensure you have enough rest by going to bed early. You had many years to do preparations so last minute rush could cause irreparable damage.

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