Some 3 401 students will write the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) on Wednesday.
Among them, 1 680 females, and 1 721 males, will head to 22 secondary schools and the Barbados Community College to write the annual examination.
On the eve of the test, many students took a break from preparations for some fun.
Principal of Charles F Broome Memorial Dr Monica Walton said 87 children from that institution will write the examination at the neighbouring Springer Memorial School. She said teachers have given their best to work with the students whom she is confident will do the school proud.
“The children are happy. The children are elated. I think this is the time that they have been looking forward to for a while and now that it is here, I know that they will do well,” Dr. Walton said.
“They have been tutored in the areas and we would have done a series of assessments and we would have seen their growth overtime.”
Sixty-five students from Sharon Primary are expected to write the BSSEE and teacher Jeremy Alleyne said despite the challenges to get the children to the point of readiness for the examination, the additional two weeks used for preparation have led to more students understanding concepts with which they struggled previously.
However, Alleyne said many of the students are tired mentally from the difficult preparations.
“Their mindset today is that they are very happy to know that the date is finally set and they came and we sang and gave them motivational speeches to let them feel relaxed. It is just another exam and we have been doing enough past papers so they would get accustomed to what is going to happen tomorrow. So, I don’t expect that the children will be going shell shocked or panicking tomorrow. We have alleviated any anxiety.”
Several students at Sharon also shared their views on their personal preparedness for the BSSEE.
Jeighon Williams said after completing past papers on evenings when he goes home from school, and reviewing work done at school with his mother, he is assured that he is ready for the big day.
Williams said: “I feel excited and when I go home, I know I have to get some rest because tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow I have to step up.”
Head Girl Kaira Ash-Walcott said she was feeling confident in herself after weeks of listening to her teacher, asking for assistance with understanding concepts whenever necessary, and revising as much as possible.
She said her peers are experiencing mixed emotions, but noted that all of them are fully prepared.
Asif Sabar said knowing that today is his day to shine has led to him feeling anxious. But he said he studied and remained focused during teaching sessions.
Sharon Principal Pamela Small-Williams said she and her teachers believe that all of the online and face-to-face teaching sessions to which the students were exposed have left the children very prepared.
She was thankful that no student or teacher had fallen ill at the school during the intensified testing period. The principal commended her teachers for their commitment to work with the Class 4 students to ensure that they were ready for the examination.
Small-Williams said: “Today was a fun day where we actually had a treasure hunt and the students were able to retrieve certain gifts that will be beneficial for tomorrow. We were able to alleviate lots of fears. One day a child said to me ‘mam, I cannot remember what is a pronoun’. And we understood and I said to him don’t worry about it, it will return.
“He just said, ‘my brain is so tired’. Tomorrow is the day and we know that they are going to do well. I am asking persons, especially parents, to not pressure the children because their best is good enough.
According to the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, 10 students have requested permission to sit the BSSEE at age of 10, while 85 non-nationals who have satisfied immigration requirements will also be writing the examination.
The ministry also reported that it has received 94 special requests, mainly for extra time, enlarged print and breaks for snacks. The ministry has granted exemptions from writing the examination to 23 students while 106 have deferred.