School is getting increasingly stressful for kids. More than ever, they are competing to get “good marks” in order to be able to get to University, Professional School and even Trade School.

Back when I was in grade 12, one only needed about 65% to get into University. At University, we were then subjected to “weeder courses” in the first year that were designed to fail you out. The experience was generally miserable and always stressful.

The combination of living away from home for the first time while balancing financial, work and educational stress was too much for about 50% of University Students who ended up leaving of getting “weeded out”.

THESE days, admission to University programs from grade 12 often requires an 85% minimum average to have a hope of making it in. Kids with “low” marks like 84% are often doomed to “upgrade” their marks in a spectacular waste of time, money, resources and morale.

The problem is particularly bad in Alberta, where students in grade 12 have to write “Diploma Exams” that are worth 50% of their final grade. This is a horrible thing, because all too often, kids can have a “bad day” or an illness and score terribly on their diploma exam after having gone into the exam with a 90% average from their class marks.

These poor Alberta students have to compete to get into their own Universities with students from other provinces and other countries where there ARE no diplomas. Therefore the Alberta Government SPECIFICALLY and INTENTIONALLY causes Alberta Students a MAJOR DISADVANTAGE in regard to admission to Alberta Universities.

Education “Inflation” is also becoming a huge problem. If you get a BA or a BSc in University – you will be qualified to work at Starbucks if you are lucky. A University Degree is no longer a guaranteed way to a good job. It is merely now a first necessary stepping stone. You now need a professional degree or a graduate degree to get that “great job”. Education is turning often into a fools game of expensive University Education that has dwindling returns.

With an election upcoming and voters getting mad – the Alberta Diploma exams are probably going to get less of an allocation in terms of importance to a Student’s overall mark.

So – how can you do well enough in school to get great marks? Here is the “secret”:

1) Parental involvement. Too many parents

Getting good marks in school – and the dreaded Diploma Exams

Dr. John Fernandes

B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D., LMCC, CCFP, FCPC Clinical Lecturer, University of Calgary I am a Physician with over a decade of experience in my own Private Clinic as well as a full admitting Physician to a Tertiary Care Hospital in Calgary. Married with two daughters that both want to be Physicians as well. Hobbies include skiing, golf, mountain biking and Karate.

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