ExamHub: An innovative learning solution to level up your exam prep
While globally education is headed in a favourable direction where it is starting to become learning-focused as opposed to exam-focused, Sri Lanka, if we are being optimistic, remains somewhere in between. For Sri Lankan students, their very first major educational milestones come in the form of the big exams – the Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) examinations.
Students work tirelessly to achieve excellent grades, and the pandemic has not made things any easier. Now, with a pandemic in the mix, taking away students’ opportunities to experience collaborative learning, and making even simply stepping into a classroom to learn amongst one’s peers a luxury, what was already once an incredibly taxing experience has become that much more competitive.
ExamHub is a local start-up which was launched for the very reason of attempting to alleviate the stresses faced by students preparing for an exam, to help better prepare them using palatable exam preparation techniques. In their efforts, ExamHub has recognised that a crucial part of a student’s success in an examination lies in practising with past papers. Utilising technology, ExamHub aims to simplify access to these past papers and help students learn without spending countless hours at tuition classes, which was once the accepted norm, which is now difficult considering the current situation.
Commenting on their start-up journey, ExamHub Founder Dilanka Sanjaya shared that he first launched the intuitive following research he carried out in 2017 where he identified some key areas that pose challenges for students preparing for exams. He said that what he discovered was that one of the primary contributors to exam success is doing past papers. However, he found that only 60% of students attempted past papers for their O/L and A/L exams, and from that percentage, only 35% of them checked their answers, and only 10% of that group went on to check why they got the question wrong and how to solve it correctly.
He said that when students were asked about their primary reason for not attempting past papers, even via other exam-related applications that are available, they shared that as the structure is such that one must complete 40 questions in one sitting, they are unable to focus for such a long time on such a monotonous task. Dilanka explained that often, these examination-focused applications that are available rely on the traditional structure of an examination, and so despite the learning aids, don’t offer that much of a deviation. Parents equally testified that students are unable to remain undistracted and would easily gravitate towards other things like playing games on their mobile phones.
What sets ExamHub apart is the innovative structure it has adopted – an Android app that allows O/L and A/L students to study with ease and attempt past papers in the form of a game.
Dilanka shared that what ExamHub wants to do is eliminate the element of boredom which naturally sets in when one engages in tasks that are mentally challenging or are perceived as tedious for prolonged periods of time. The ExamHub app is specially designed to increase the desire to do question papers, he said. Describing the procedure, he shared: “The structure is such that students will adopt the role of a player, who has to clear a number of levels to get to the end of the game play. Each level represents a set of exam questions, and one must clear each level to get to the next.” He said that by breaking up the series of questions into digestible chunks, it allows for students to focus easily and not lose interest.
For further encouragement, ExamHub features an in-app leaderboard where students can keep track of their progress with it even implementing rewards systems to further encourage students who perform exceptionally well in the system. Dilanka shared that prizes are offered each month to the students with the highest marks in the hope that the students’ interest in the app will increase along with their learning potential.
Additionally, the ExamHub app allows students to view the correct answer count and score as soon as they have completed the question paper. They can also see for themselves which answers were correct and which were not, and additionally, considering that these are MCQs (multiple choice questions), they will also be given a small reference note underneath each solution to refer to the study material related to the question. This allows a form of revision where students need not refer to textbooks for each question, and are instead presented with the relevant note for each question.
When starting up the initiative, Dilanka shared that his target market in Sri Lanka was O/L and A/L students (Grades 10-13); about 1,189,588 students in total. ExamHub first launched to receive relatively good results, though Dilanka shared that their real breakthrough came when they took part in the Spiralation Programme, which is an initiative by the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to support local tech start-ups.
ExamHub was one of the 20 start-ups that joined Spiralation this year, a programme that offers start-ups like ExamHub access to seed funding, market access opportunities, mentorship from experienced business leaders, and comprehensive business and technical training programmes. Dilanka said that the advice and guidance he received from Spiralation on top of the Rs. 1.2 million grant, has been a huge boost in ExamHub’s journey.
While the ExamHub app is still in its initial stages, Dilanka said that at present they are experiencing 20,000 downloads with 12,000 registered users, adding that the growth has been incredibly encouraging, and so they have some new developments to be added onto the app. They have already introduced exam papers for younger students as well, collecting school exam papers from the Sabaragamuwa area. He shared that in addition to providing past papers, they are also looking at gathering teachers who could supplement model papers for the students to attempt. Dilanka made special mention of yet another addition to the ExamHub app, which is a new game play called “Subway Run”, that is a Temple Run-style game where students can play to collect coins as they answer exam questions while they advance through each level; he said that this was designed to improve their timing when taking tests.
ExamHub is a promising start-up that’s helping improve learning for Sri Lankan students, and with the pandemic forcing us to stay indoors and learn online, ExamHub proves to be an excellent platform that is helping education continue and that will improve the experience of students when they return to classrooms.
The Android app is available for download.