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All ready for test

Yvette Best and Lisa King

All ready for test

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Today is E-Day for close to 4 000 students in Barbados.
A total of 3 728 will write this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), more commonly known as the Common Entrance or 11-Plus Exam, at 22 secondary schools.
Some 1 870 males and 1 858 females are registered and nine of them were given permission to take the exam at an earlier age as compared to 14 who took it early last year. And having satisfied the immigration requirements, 209 non-national children will also be heading to the exam centres today.
Yesterday was the last opportunity before students sit down under exam conditions and schools used it in a variety of ways.
Rivalries were set aside as classmates helped each other revise.
The buddy system was employed at Gordon Greenidge, St Alban’s and Good Shepherd Primary where children sat in groups and discussed problems, or one brave student led the class in revision.
Teacher at St Alban’s in St James, Nichole Ifill, sat at her desk while the 45 students did revision amongst themselves. She said the students had positive attitudes, were upbeat and quietly confident since they had been working hard for the past two terms. 
Principal at Good Shepherd, Monica Walton, said pupils at the St James school were well prepared for today’s test, having been exposed to several mock examinations, the most recent being last Friday. 
Walton said they also did two mock examinations at Queen’s College to get them comfortable in that setting.
Though she expected her students to do their best, she said with her 42, the marks tended to fluctuate.
“On any given day the performance varies since some students are stronger in mathematics, while some are strong in English.”
The post-lunch session was a time for students to relax, regroup and prepare themselves mentally and emotionally.
The 45 students of Gordon Greenidge in St Peter were given a motivational talk by Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson, before they sat and completed exam past papers.  
Teachers Brett Blackman and George Francis said the students were doing well. At least five of them scored in the 90s consistently.
There was no real pressure on the 84 candidates from Lawrence T. Gay Memorial yesterday, since they took care of the final preparations on Saturday.
In a departure from what usually obtains at the Spooners Hill, St Michael school, Saturday was like a regular school day. The 84 students would have missed two days during the week because of public holidays, and teachers agreed to bring the children in from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That all-day session left room for most of the students to engage in light, yet developmental activities like word bingo yesterday.
A combined class was caught doing the now seldom heard of tables the old-time way where multiplication and division are done simultaneously. It seemed to be music to the ears of one of the teachers, who used two fingers like a baton and helped the students along with the tune.
Over at Stephen’s in Black Rock, St Michael, ash from a nearby fire threatened to curtail the physical education session planned for the afternoon to finish off the light activities for the 106 registered children there. However, principal Colin Cumberbatch said his charges were engaged in a bit of revision during the pre-lunch session.
Problem-solving has been found to be challenging, and one of the Class 4 teachers at St James Primary, John Quinton, took the opportunity to reinforce some points yesterday. Thirty-four students will write the exam, while two have been exempted.
Children are expected to converge on some of the many fast food restaurants, hang out by the pools at some of the hotels and engage in other organised activities this afternoon when the exam is over.