Testing times as virus fears add to DSE exam jitters

School pupils began sitting this year’s Diploma of Secondary Education exams on Friday morning, filling out health declaration forms to be allowed into the exam venue.

A secondary school in Yuen Long only allowed candidates sitting a visual arts exam to enter the campus after 8am, after its own pupils had already gone into their classrooms.

“We have divided the exam hall into four areas, and there are four different exits for the students to use and go to the washroom. This arrangement can reduce the flow of people and the chance of students coming across one another,” Ho Ka-ho, an assistant principal of Gertrude Simon Lutheran College said.

One of the exam entrants, a girl surnamed Chow, said she wasn’t concerned about contracting coronavirus during the test because precautions were in place. But she had been worried about being late.

“I’m very nervous, because this is my first time coming here. I didn’t know where the entrance was, and I was worried that I could have gone to the wrong place or that I would be late. I have arrived here much earlier, and I feel better now seeing that people are queuing here,” she said.

“I think it will be okay for us to take the exam in the hall, as everyone will be wearing a mask and we won’t have any physical contact with each other.”

Another student said she was worried that she may not have done enough preparation for the exam.

“Because of the virus situation, a lot of exam and revision schedules were changed. So I thought: would that mean I had not prepared enough if something unexpected popped up?”

Another pupil, surnamed Tsang, said he had brought along more than 10 spare face masks just in case. He said he would also disinfect the desk before taking the exam.