The Rev Dr Amanda Bloor
Director of Ordinands for Berkshire and Dorchester

A few days ago I walked past a sign that read ‘silence: examinations in progress.’ It’s been a few years since I took an exam, but straight away I was taken back to that knot in the pit of my stomach and the stress of revision, testing and waiting for results.

At this time of year I feel for students and parents and teachers alike. It’s horrible.

Yet as a former teacher myself, and as someone who chose to go back to university as a mature student and voluntarily go through the whole process again, I believe that examinations can be valuable.

We do need to learn how to learn, how to remember information and recall it under pressure, and how to communicate knowledge clearly and accurately.

I would worry though, if we start to judge people’s worth by their ability to pass exams, or to earn lots of money, or to have a high-powered job.

We are so much more than that.

But it’s easy to begin to feel like a failure if you don’t measure up.

As far as I know, Jesus never took an exam in his life.

He told his followers that what they wore didn’t matter, and that they didn’t need lots of possessions.

He was interested in learning and in debating, but he wanted to share his understanding with others, encouraging them to think for themselves.

And he cared about people.

If they were ill, he healed them. If they were unhappy, he offered comfort. If they were hungry, he gave them food.

If they asked for his help, he was there, even when he was exhausted or overwhelmed by demands upon his time. And then he encouraged them to do the same for others.

I hope that all those taking exams at this time achieve the results they’ve hoped for, but also that they remember what really matters: love and care and respect for others, and God’s love for them.

That’s worth more than an A grade any day.