Three thousand three hundred and eighty-two students from private and secondary schools across the island, some of who braved rainy weather, sat the highly anticipated Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) this morning.
Commonly referred to as the Common Entrance Examination, 1,766 males and 1,616 females took the exam which will allow them placement at one of the island’s secondary schools.
Students armed with their clipboards, received hugs and well wishes from their parents before entering into the Graydon Sealy Secondary School just after 8.a.m.
Some parents who waited from the start of the BSSEE until the end told Barbados TODAY about their experiences with their children preparing them for the exam.
Joann Matheson, the mother of Jarel Matheson, a class four student at St Paul’s Primary said she was relieved that today had finally come.
“I am feeling relieved, just waiting for him to come out. I am grateful that I got a chance to see him for the morning session. He was calm and relaxed and it pleased me. I guess it is all over. I told him all of the hard work is done and today is just to seal the deal and deliver,” she said, while revealing that her son wanted to go to Christ Church Foundation.
A nervous looking Jillnet Alexander-Murrell was also anxiously waiting on her son Jessie Evelyn, a student of Imperial Private School to finish the exam.
“I so nervous. I was calm all the time until now. He told me he is not scared, he is good, he is not nervous. I do not know why I am nervous,” Alexander-Murrell said, adding her son wants to attend Queen’s College.
Also present was Member of Parliament for St Michael South Kirk Humphrey who lent his support to his constituents before heading to Parliament.
Over at the St George Secondary School, Marsha Mayers who is the mother of Thiery Batson said she was very calm and did not pressure her children about the Common Entrance Exam.
“I am very calm and so is he. This is my third time, my two daughters did it and they were calm as well. At the end of the day it does not make sense pressuring the kids because they are going to go in pressured, not functioning. Keep them calm and when they come out they are going to enjoy themselves,” Mayers said.
However, parent Sabrina Khan said her daughter Sariella Hafiz was nervous.
“She is a bit nervous because she did the mock exam and the maths was hard, so she is having some challenges with that but we are hopeful that she gets through it,” Khan said.
At the Lester Vaughan School, teacher at Eagle Hall Primary School Earle Cumberbatch whose daughter Azana Cumberbatch was taking the exam, said he realized he was hypocritical in telling parents that everything would be ‘OK’ when their children sat the annual exam.
“To all of those Class 4 children over the years, I told ‘relax, relax’ the child is going to be fine, I am going to apologize. I feel like a real hypocrite now because to be quite honest it was very nerve-racking getting my class ready and then having to go home and help my daughter out,” he said.
When it was finished there was a rush by parents and well-wishers to the Graydon Sealy’s school entrance to embrace their students who completed the four-hour examination.
Jarel Matheson, a class four student at St Paul’s Primary School said the exam was manageable and he is hoping to secure a place at Christ Church Foundation this September.
His classmate Khamar Porter said the exam was not so challenging for him as he received sound advice from his parents.
“It wasn’t so hard but certain things you do not know my family told me don’t leave it out try and work,” he said.
His colleague Javonte Purcell said the examination was good for him.
Ezron Hope another class four student at St Paul’s Primary said he did not feel nervous and the exam went quite well for him.
“For me it was quite manageable especially the English. The Maths was good so it was easy to do and I did not feel nervous,” he said.
Senior teacher at St Paul’s Primary School Rochelle Brewster said the students at the Britton’s Hill institution were adequately prepared for the examination.
“We have put in the work that we know the children needed. The children have also put in what they deem necessary. For the most part, it is just a reflection of what they can do in the given time frame on the given day,” Brewster said.
When it was all done, hundreds of relieved children hurried off to their varied celebrations.