It’s all over, as thousands of 11-year-olds who sat the delayed common entrance examination in masks exhaled in collective relief at the end of the four-hour English and Mathematics test.
Several Class Four students told Barbados TODAY that the English paper and Composition was easy, but noted the Mathematics paper appeared to be more difficult.
A total of 3,544 students – 1,740 boys and 1,804 girls, sat the exam at the 21 public secondary schools they are seeking to enter come September.
“I find the Grammar and the essay easy, but the Mathematics was kind of hard,” said Tierra Croal of St Mary’s Primary. She said she will be finally able to relax her mind following months of studying.
St Mary’s Primary pupil Keishawn Thomas said though he had some difficulties with the Mathematics, he ensured that he completed the paper, and is now happy that the entire process is over.
Thomas’ classmate, Ciara Agard-Harrow, also expressed relief that the examination was over, indicating that she felt pressured preparing for it. Agard-Harrow credited her class teacher for helping the class to prepare.
Azariah Watson-Browne, who is the head girl of The City primary school, indicated that when she read some of the questions on the Mathematics paper, she felt as though she was reading an English comprehension paper.
Kazana Whitford, also of St Mary’s, said initially she was nervous about the big examination but performed as best as she could.
Classmate Shurwray Perry concluded that he easily concluded the Grammar paper, but had some challenges completing the Mathematics paper.
“But I got through it because after seven years of hard work I just had to make the moment special. I tried my best and refreshed my mind and I got through the examination,” Perry said.
Faith Simpson also agreed that the Mathematics paper was challenging, but said she tried her best nevertheless.
Regina Belle of Welches Primary proudly declared that while she expected the examination to be difficult, she found that it was “very easy”.
“I read very carefully and I actually managed to answer all of my questions. I had to work really hard to get to where I am right now, because my marks were really low, but I managed to get my marks a little higher,” Belle said.
Mikel Bishop of St Paul’s Primary revealed that he was a little scared before the examination started, but did what he had to, to leave the room as quickly as possible.
“The Mathematics was kind of hard, but I got through with the English,” Bishop said.
His schoolmate, Lamar Sobers, indicated that the Mathematics paper “was really hard” but the English paper proved to be an easy task.
Stephen Allman of Charles F Broome also agreed that the Mathematics paper was challenging, while the grammar was easy and the composition appeared to be okay.
Fellow pupil Donte John said he had some challenges with the Mathematics, but noted that overall, the examination was “okay”.
But Tralayna White, also a student of the Government Hill, St Michael school, differed from her classmates: “The Mathematics was lovely, the English was easy, and the composition was easy.”
Before the expressions of relief in the afternoon, nervous parents dropped off their charges, many even more distressed than the children, they told Barbados TODAY.
Before having their temperatures checked and being sanitized at the gates while wearing face masks, many of the students said they were ready and prepared to take on the task, while one parent admitted that she was nervous that her son had to reassure her that he was going to be okay, because “it is just an examination”.
According to a Government Information Service press release, Acting Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson, visited a number of the centres to make sure all went as planned and gave them a passing grade.
She said health protocols were in place at the exam centres and these were adhered to by students and parents.
At some high schools, prefects lent assistance by escorting Class Four pupils to their assigned classrooms and to the bathrooms when the need arose to ensure all social distancing protocols were followed. Most secondary school teachers supervised the candidates along with invigilators from the Caribbean Examinations Council, who helped out where necessary.
Adamson said except for a few students falling ill during the exam, there was nothing out of the ordinary on the day.
“Those students who became ill were given extra time to complete the exam. If they couldn’t finish, then they will be given an alternative date to complete the exam. We had no reports of any significant events happening at schools. From the ministry’s point of view, everything went okay,” she said.
The Acting Chief also said she was pleased with the behaviour of parents, who respected the protocols put in place when dropping off their children, and added that those who stayed kept their distance and waited patiently away from the schools’ compounds until the exam was over.
Students and their parents went to various restaurants to enjoy a post examination celebration.