Exams should no longer been seen as effective methods of assessment; at least not unseen papers consisting of three essay type questions to be answered in three hours that cover a three month intense theoretical based course. I took one of these ‘bad experiences’ this week; at an exam centre I’d never been to before; it had with no car parking facilities, and was in the centre of York, over 50 miles from my home, all factors that added to the stress. The subject of the course was psychoanalytical and sociological theories of identity construction. It was helpful that this covered materials from the subject of my first MA in Gender Studies. I felt I had knowledge and understanding of the subject matter but knew from the start that when it came to an exam, then recall was going to be a problem. I’m taking an MA in Open and Distance Education with the OU and their study materials are excellent. I read the preparation for exams booklet from front to back, followed a revision plan and drew the mind maps that suited my visual learning style. But an hour into the exam and I knew that I couldn’t ‘remember’ any more than I’d already made notes on. It was like my memory was saying enough is enough and had shut down. I could see my diagrams in my head, the shapes and the colours, but not the text. I don’t know if this is a learning disorder, early Alzheimer’s or a symptom of a heavy work load that regularly extends into evenings and weekends. What I do know is that it felt like an unfair assessment of my ability, and I felt discriminated against by a mode of assessment that for me just doesn’t reflect my knowledge and understanding or allow me to do myself justice. I would be very interested in other people’s response to this.