The Merits of Free Exams

Many countries have several benefits for their citizens. Surpassing all the traditional welfare states however, the trampoline nation of Singapore has introduced a new policy of making all national examinations free of charge. Waffle Press goes behind the scenes and finds out what exactly the reasoning behind this policy is.

Each exam paper travels a long way to Singapore. After being set by the Student Extermination and Assassination Bureau, it is sent to Cambridge, stamped and then sent back to Singapore. Until 2014, this process was carried out by expensive carrier pigeons which have largely now been replaced by fax machines. Upon the completion of said examinations, they are somehow transported back to Cambridge, where they are graded by completely unknown examiners against a set of equally mysterious requirements.

This process of making exam requirements wholly unknown to students and teachers and keeping Cambridge as the scapegoat in all exam related conflicts has proven to be very expensive for Singaporean students. A single set of ‘A’ level exam papers can cost upwards of $500. Prospective students compared the cost of examination papers to that of tuition, noting that it was more than the cost of a single tuition session and therefore way too expensive. In light of this, renowned institute, the £earning £ab announced plans to double its fees to to make examinations appear comparatively cheaper.

This obviously has resulted in a gross underconsumption of examination papers. A recent poll by the Millikan Institute found that a staggering 83% of all students considered the price of the A level paper above all other factors when deciding whether they wanted to pursue higher education.

The problem is intensified by the fact that examinations are merit goods. When students sit down for the A level paper, society experiences overwhelming benefit. Scientific measurements have shown that the PSI drops, the weather improves and the population takes on a general festive cheer during the November examination period. This improvement has also been shown to spill over to December for unknown reasons.

As is the case with the underconsumption for any merit good, there are strong grounds for the direct government provision of examinations in Singapore. To fully capitalise on these benefits, examinations will now be completely free. The Bureau is reportedly planning to further lower the financial burden of examinations by paying students to take them. However, analysts predict lukewarm demand at best because students are clearly rational people who care more about their health and well-being than a single letter that casts their destinies in stone, just like the Dean’s List.

Still, it’s free and no one’s complaining.