For those of us who work in education, there is a regular rhythm to the academic year. September brings the excitement of starting fresh courses with new pupils and new colleagues; August closes the year with the chance to celebrate well-deserved examination success for those leaving the Upper Sixth.

However, this familiar cycle means that one rarely pauses to notice quite how odd examinations are as an exercise.

For a start, examinations are one of the few remaining bastions of handwriting, although I suspect that a move to online examination is not too far away.

In what other area of life, when faced with the need to churn out 12 sides of A4, would anyone reach for their pen rather than their laptop? If handwriting were dropped as an examination requirement, it would be interesting to see how many (if any) schools retained it as their default method of written communication.

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