With the Government of India having announced the New Education Policy where one is wondering what the future will be, this is a reminiscence of exams and you can test me on how much i remember about exams. The feelings that one went through, and hope this resonates with you. Preparing and Appearing for an exam displayed your abilities of practical management skills and your ability to cope with it. Waiting for results was like a decision referred to the Third Umpire, and anxiety levels were…
Examinations or Exams or Tests or in whatever names they ware called and whatever forms they were – written or viva, was always made to be something dreadful. Some scared you with a phrase called SURPRISE TEST!
This was as if one surrendered haplessly to a monster that was sure to devour us. Finish the exam and you come out with some mixed feelings, one of having gone through the ordeal and the other – the relief of having gone through the ordeal.
CURIOSITY KILLS THE CAT
One had to indulge in the big exercise of checking the trends to find how others fared. If it was tough for you, and if the others also felt so, you felt happy, for you are a part of the group. If the others say the paper was easy, then you cannot admit that your paper was tough and you will come with this phrase that you stretch to the maximum while uttering it – OoooooKkkkkkkkkkkkk!
BELIEF IN A MIRACLE CALLED PRAYER!
Then was the ordeal of waiting for results and starting to pray — suddenly even atheists became believers. Living on the razors edge and hoping that the person correcting your papers would be as lenient while checking your papers so that their magnanimity can reflect in your performance, of just having scraped through. If magnanimity doesn’t work, then you hope that you fall into the Rehab zone of getting those grace marks that push you to passing marks.
MANAGEMENT SKILL CREEPS IN
Typically the seriousness of an exam crept in only when the exact dates were announced, despite the fact that one had roughly estimated of when it could be. Normally in a typical five to six month term, exams are announced about 45 days before the session closes. That is the day all of us have to meet up for our resolutions like a New Year. Henceforth no more movies, tv’s, entertainment, sports, and post lunch lunch/dinner gossiping, not to call one another and speak for hours together.
Some even search for partners for joint study as if this is some building to be constructed. There is a great choice exercised while selecting such partners for we tend to reject some because we feel they would do genuine time pass, while the original group does nothing different than that.
THAT ACT OF COLLABORATIVE STUDY
The first act is to find out what exactly is the portion or curriculum, and that takes nearly two days to acquire a paper that was given to you at the start of the term, and all have collectively misplaced it. The act of finding that paper is a milestone, for the student who had the paper is called a Scholar, just because they had this document that all were looking for.
The more hilarious is the discussions that take place on who knows what from the portion, and the creative collaboration begins here. Not many would have attended all the sessions, so one reads the headings and topics. What no one seems to have a clue are topics to be left out, while what everyone pretends to knows are speculated as questions that will surely appear in the exam.
Having done this, you get into the next stage of refining the curriculum. Ask in a creative collaboration fashion as to whether the teacher / professor provided any hints on important questions, topics, or any other clue with regard, while dealing with the topic. The next is the search of a question bank on the subject and should these not exist then blame the educational system for all the hardships and burden they make you go through.
Now there is exactly a fortnight before the exams, and a new seriousness emerges. Depending on the number of subject we tend to divide this into equal number of days, and say that I will finish each subject in 2/3/4 days. There are strategists who emerge here who advise you to study in the reverse sequence of the time table so that one is fresh and ready with the first subject. Some analyze the time table and tell you to defer some subject for later dates because there are holidays that come prior to that exam.
There is now exactly a week and seriousness among the students spreads like an epidemic. There are a few minority in the crowd, whose immunity levels are higher and are not infected by the seriousness virus. They are shunned by the crowd for their casual approach to something so important. The crowd now actually resembles like horses in derby with blinkers on that will get shattered in extreme directions on the last day of the exams. A phase of life when we were so serious and looked like characters in a Greek tragedy
FACING THE MONSTER WITH A SPIRIT OF FEAR(LESSNESS)
Now the D-Day has arrived and it feels as if an eerie silence that has descended on the class, and the atmosphere feels so morose and glum. Some great ones forget their hall-ticket itself! Even greater are those that land up at the wrong location! One enters the exam hall, to only reflect the preparation by not taking the right implements or defective implements like a pencil/pen that will not write after half an hour and you look around asking for someone to lend you a pencil/pen. These are also great opportunities to exchange code-words and find out how others find the paper! That wonderful feeling when you would remember everything in the last ten minutes, but the supervisor kept shouting — please tie your supplements and then write.
THAT ACT OF CUT-COPY-PASTE!
Most behave as if they have just freshly developed a `Boil in the Bottom’ and can’t sit properly, so they can lean forward by some 15-30 degrees and copy from the person sitting ahead or adjacent. Normally it is quite risky to copy from the person sitting behind. Some of the minds work overtime in terms of scribbling some answers or formulae on the walls or the benches or have chits of paper to copy from.
PROJECT MANAGERS PAR EXCELLENCE
Whatever the form of exam, most of us tend to have a Project management approach to exams and do not start the preparation till someone scares us with the consequences. How we carry it in our professional life too! Those late nights where you like to have coffee or tea to have your battle with sleep, those alarms that you dare not postpone for the phase of the exams are all great.
AWAITING RESULTS — THIRD UMPIRE DECISION
The day of exam completion would be a day of indulgence in the form of celebrations, long sleep and so on, akin to a criminal released from jail on bail or parole. The great judgment day of results would be hanging like a sword of Damocles — and most would be elated for getting marks more than expected, while few would be disappointed because of facing reality.
So what all did i miss about exams and how many marks will you give me?