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35,000 students brace for O/A-Level exams

KARACHI, May 3(Daily Times): Thirty-five thousand students are scheduled to sit this year for the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) O-, AS- and A-Levels that will start next week Tuesday.

The number of candidates has gone up significantly from last year, said the examination director of the British Council Karachi, Asim Khan. Every year, 610,000 entries are received for the international O-Levels exam from 76 countries, while 90,000 entries were received internationally for the A-Levels and AS-Levels exams, taken in over 100 countries.

This year the exams will not take place at Regent Plaza Hotel due to some technical matters and DHA Public School, Karachi Grammar School and St Michael's High School are centers.

The first exams, both O-Levels, are Physics (Practical) 3 and Physics (Alternative to Practical) 4 on May 8, Tuesday. The last exam is on Friday, June 15, AS-Level Biology (Multiple Choice) 1, A-Level Accounting (Multiple Choice) 3 and AS-Level Economics (Multiple Choice) 3. A-Level exams begin with Urdu on May 14.

A-Level candidate Mahboob Sadiq said that due to the generalisation of subjects, regardless of whether they fall in the category of science, arts or commerce, there was too long a gap between multiple papers for a particular subject. "I have to sit three exams this year. The first and second exams are more than a week apart, while the third exam is on the very next day of the second exam. This huge gap makes a student lose concentration while no gap at all makes preparation difficult," he said.

Sariq Amin, who is appearing for his AS-Level examination privately, complained about the placement of the practical examination canters. "My examination center is St Michael's School but the practical examination will take place at an unannounced location." According to him, searching for the practical examination center would be tedious and if the center was far from where he lived, it would become an even bigger problem.

Danial Siddiqui, who has been teaching O- and A-Level students for the past four years, pointed out another problem with the examination schedule. "The O-Level English Papers I and II have been scheduled for the same day with only a 10-minute gap in between. Also, the O-Level Chemistry exam will take place on the same day in the second half. So, candidates who have to sit both exams would face a real nightmare."

According to the pre-decided examination schedule, the exam session for 2007 formally starts on May 5 when the IGCSE examinations begin.
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