Ramble: Examinations

Hey, guys! This is a new kind of post that I’d like to call a Ramble. And true to its name, there will be a lot of rambling, so keep up if you can!

I’m at the business end of my half-yearly examinations right now; it’s just Math left. For those of you who are not entirely sure about what a ‘half-yearly examination’ is , I can assure you it’s not a medical checkup and I think you’ll be smart enough to deduce it from the phrase either way, right?

Examinations, in my not-so-humble opinion, are an inadequate method of measuring the potential of a student. The time pressure, the large volumes of text that have to be memorized and/or understood, the tedious amount of organization required to make sure you don’t end up writing the conclusion before the answer’s even started.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. I love learning. I love studying at my own pace, wherein I can absorb the information in a structured and calm manner. And I do enjoy deadlines because they give you something to work for. Heck, it’s why I am where I am today- the thrill and adrenaline rush? Works. It really does.

Picture this scenario:

You are sitting in the examination hall in alphabetical order, some benches from the end. The chalkboard drifts away in the distance, replaced by the invigilator for the day. School rules state that you can’t have the question paper until 8:15. It’s 8:00 now. Tick. Tick. Tick.

You’re going crazy. You want to grab the thick sheaf of crisp, freshly-printed question papers from the teacher’s hands and pore over the content. It’s killing you inside, not knowing if you know all the answers , not knowing how you’d have to structure your time . But you wait. Breathe in, breathe out, maybe pray a little.

Finally, it’s time. And the papers are given out. As your eyes scan the paper, your heart fills up with ecstasy- you know 96% of the answers! Maybe even 98%! You’re trying so hard not to grin like a maniac and yet you’re already formulating a strategy to complete the paper and get maximum output.

Based on past experience ( the past three examinations), you realize it’s not a good time to be a perfectionist because writing  an answer only to cross it out because you have a better explanation/presentation in your head will eventually cost you and come back to haunt you.

You write and write and write, putting all the power you can muster into that hand of yours , trying hard to not break your wrist and writing as ideas and thoughts and recollections flow out of your mind, through the veins in your neck, through your shoulder joint, twisting through the muscles in your arm, coagulating with the blood and oozing out through your fingers into your pen.

Before you realize it, three hours are almost up and the invigilator is handing out thread to tie the sheets together. You’re a bit confused with this one question but decide not to risk incomplete papers again, so you scurry on to finish this one bit and tie the paper up. It’s the last few seconds on the clock, almost like in Masterchef where you can hear the judges shouting “10 SECONDS! 9..8..7..6..5..4..” and you look down to see you haven’t tied your final sheet, but hey, that’s why you come prepared, right?

“3…2…1….that’s it, put your pens down!” and you click that stapler into place. You have this feeling of immense relief as you float away, a bit hungry and light-headed, and it’s back home to prepare for the next exam. Woot. Happy days.

PS Hunger can be fixed. Chocolate fixes everything. So does a large helping of your Mum’s pasta with melty gooey cheese, or two pieces of buttered toast (hot golden crispy toast with melted butter) and guava juice(a nice tall glass of it), and sleep. A nice four-hour nap. Cures any sickness, hangover, depression phase. 

That was a long postscript. And note I didn’t mention books. That’s ’cause I’m not reading any during exam season, at least not wholeheartedly, and I’m not talking about textbooks either. Those I have to read. On a regular basis.

So, that was today’s Ramble. Hope you enjoyed it or related to it or had some sort of reaction that isn’t cringeworthy 😉  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.


The Nerdy Snicker



One thought on “Ramble: Examinations

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  1. Most of the courses I do are Math related and I constantly have to struggle not to go overboard in my calculations. “Yes, that is the answer. Yes, I’m sure. No, you don’t have to prove it. No, you don’t have to use another method. You really don’t have time for this. Solve!”
    And don’t even get me started on the ‘easy’ exams. The paper I wrote for General Engineering mathematics was so easy, I finished it in about 30 minutes. This was a two hour paper. So I spent the rest of the time poring over my exam script trying to figure out if there were extra questions that I hadn’t noticed or if I read the instructions wrong because I couldn’t figure out what everyone else was still writing.
    Not to mention that moment when someone goes “Could I have an extra sheet?” and you’ve barely exhausted half your paper.
    Yeah, exams are stress but hopefully results are the rewards.
    PS I got a 94 in the GEG exam. So yay.


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