Posts Tagged ‘ exam ’

A Cup of Exams with a Dash of Hope

Ladies and Gentlemen, that time of the year has come and gone – at least for me. The time where every one of us squares our shoulders, brace ourselves, and look ahead to our impending doom. The time where excuses are hurriedly invented in an attempt to escape the torture, mental breakdowns under the strain are common, and the stress leading up to it as well as actually undergoing it leaves you feeling distraught, fearful, depressed, and on occasion, murderous.

Despite popular belief, I am not referring to the Harry Potter 7 (Part 1) movie. I am referring to the dreaded curse that is exams.

All of us were students once. And unless you were extremely rich, extremely lucky, or extremely well-versed in playing truant, all of you would have done at least one exam in school. Some would have only done about 40. Others, around 100. The usual amount is often somewhere between 4917 and the number of times Taylor Lautner took off his shirt during the Twilight movies.

Including the times he wanted to rip it off, even when he wasn’t shooting Twilight.

It’s especially hard for us poor university students. Especially those doing law like me. Every single one of us aspires to perform with flying colours and score 7s. Every single one of us aims to smash every exam and assignment while mocking the stragglers, graduate with a HD, and go on to lead a highly successful and well-paid life as a lawyer/judge.

The truth, however, is far less bright and cheery. Many personal accounts by friends and colleagues within the UQ Law Faculty attest to claims that the subjects are extremely difficult. In fact, it was common consensus that for our last exam, Torts A, everyone’s marks were bumped up by 10% to prevent the majority of the students failing.

So, with that cheery thought in mind, I knuckled down to study for my exams, filled with such confidence that only a naive 17-year-old could hold.

I mean, come on. I still believe that David Beckham plays because of a love for the game. not the obscene amount of money.

But what I want to share with you, the readers, is what happened on my last exam. To give a little background information, this was a Torts B exam, open book, and worth 70% of our grade. No pressure. Our orders were to wait outside the exam venue until they called us in. The exam would start at 5.45pm.

I rocked up, feeling relaxed and confident. I even started chatting to some of my friends, discussing holiday plans. Exam? What exam? Bah, we’ll smash it!

Yep, life was good.

At around 5.30, a middle-aged man with a microphone began calling us in, reminding us that no entry was permitted without our Student ID Card. Those that didn’t have it would have to go to the UQ Student Centre and fill out an entry form (no, not to win a prize), and then return to the exam. No extra time will be permitted, and so on. The docking of precious time as well as the demeaning stares of the examiners, the UQ Centre staffers, and your fellow students would be punishment enough.

So, at the sound of the overweight man’s hollering, I grabbed my bag, pulled out my wallet, and opened it to find…

No Student ID.

I paused only for a second to double-check, looking up to meet my friend’s questioning eyes with a look of horror, and took off like the Batmobile to the Student Centre.

Or perhaps like the entire male gender when faced with the prospect of having to watch ‘The Notebook’.

Let’s put some things in context.For want of a better analogy (because I don’t watch movies much), remember Liam Neeson in Taken, where his character had to chase after a ship as it’s leaving with his kidnapped daughter? He had to run his heart out or else he would never see his daughter again. Well, my situation was similar in that I had to race to get the permission slip and return within 10 minutes, maybe even less, or else I would lose valuable time in my exam. And in a Law Exam, five minutes may been the difference between a pass or a fail.

But that’s where the differences end. Unlike Liam Neeson, I was not in my physical prime, but rather was a slightly overweight lad in skinny jeans and a heavy backpack. Additionally, I was not chasing after my daughter, but rather to sit an exam on time. But I was just as determined to get it.

Obviously, I must have misplaced my ID when I was replacing my cards yesterday, and I was thus up the proverbial creek without an ID. Now, the distance between the exam venue and the Student Centre would be around 200 metres. To me, it felt like an entire hemisphere away. Partly because I was stupendously unfit (the most physical activity I ever do was climbing a flight of stairs – and even then I get exhausted), and partly because my bag was filled with a file folder full of notes and a heavy textbook. Yeah, wise choice to bring it.

But finally, I made it to the Student Centre where thankfully I was the only non-staff member there. A guy in his early thirties sitting at his computer behind the counter asked in a dry voice: “What’s your Student Number?”

Lungs burning, I gasped it out, all the while trying not to collapse in exhaustion.

Slowly, the guy started to type, then turned back to me. “I’m sorry,” he said, speaking about as fast as a child who is learning to read. “What was it again?”

Recognising that perhaps my painful gasps could perchance have made my speech hard to understand, I repeated it.

Then, AGAIN, the man asked with the sluggishness of an injured turtle: “Sorry, 4-3-2 what?”

I said it out once more, swearing that I would disembowel him if he asked me again. I was convinced that he was doing it deliberately just to make me late, as punishment for not bringing my ID Card.

Finally, he muttered an “Oh, your exam is at 5.45” and strode off to retrieve the printout. Still panting heavily and now forced to wait for the Human Sloth to get the form, I decided to have another look inside my wallet. Here’s how my thought process went.

“Let’s see…Fifty bucks, my driver’s licence, my student ID, my…”

You’ve gotta be kidding me.

In the confusion of replacing my cards inside my wallet yesterday, I put my Student ID behind my driver’s license instead of in front of it, like I usually do. This meant that, when I opened my wallet to check my cards earlier, I saw my license and assumed my ID wasn’t there, when in reality it was inside all along. I let out a loud “DAMMIT!” much to my chagrin and the shock of another lady behind a computer. By that time, the staff member had returned with the now-unneeded permission slip. Catching sight of my ID card, he drolly commented, “Oh good, you found it.”

I didn’t have time to punch him as I stood up and bolted for the door, heading back to my exam venue. But the cheeky idiota even had the nerve to shout after me, in his mind-gratingly slow voice, “Don’t run! Walk!” I suppose that he thought that making kids late for exams and possibly ruining their lives was a fun thing to do.

Muttering threats under my breath, I started running back to the exam venue. To tell the truth, it was more like fast-walking / stumbling, on account of the fact that I had already used up my month’s supply of energy running there. My legs were cramping, my lungs were on fire, and I was sweating more than when I made sexist comments at a pro-women’s rights rally.

Apparently Popeye has a female counterpart….and she hits harder than a girl.

But somehow, through the grace of God, I arrived at the venue in time – they were still shepherding people inside. Usually, I would be ecstatic at finding my card and not being late, going as far as to be “…walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:8). Unfortunately, I only had energy to be doing the latter, though mentally I was thanking God to within an inch of my full brain capacity.

I stumbled inside, threw my bag down at the designated area and grabbed my notes, heading into the exhibition hall (it was an open book exam, don’t worry. I wouldn’t cheat – I don’t have the skills for it). And that’s when I found out that I wasn’t given a seat number, and as such, no seat. Without further ado, I swivelled around until I found the nearest examiner, and asked him where to get a seat number.

The examiner, a cantankerous old man who looked like he had much better things to do than to, oh, I don’t know, help people, pointed at the door and said “Get one from the guy at the door.” As I was leaving, he added a pointed “Obviously you weren’t listening!” I’m sure that he would have gone on talking about the state of the youth today and the rowdiness of pop music if I hadn’t walked away. But seriously, I wanted to inform him that I couldn’t have listened because I was off on a wild goose chase elsewhere. He probably wouldn’t have been interested anyway.

Oddly enough, he looked somewhat similar to this.

So, once that was all sorted out, I finally collapsed on my chair with my hair dishevelled, my top button undone, sweat pouring down my face, and breathing heavier than the monster in every scary movie when it’s right behind you. I think the girl next to me was giving me strange looks throughout the whole perusal period – either my sweaty and dishevelled demeanour and painful gasps for air made me look extremely handsome (very unlikely), or I looked like I was about to be sick (more likely). I was literally sweating all over my exam paper, so much so that I gave up trying to wring it dry after the fifth time.

In the end, though, I managed to get through the entire exam in one piece. In fact, I might hesitantly say that I would have done well. Apparently, adrenaline is a better boost than studying.

So kids, what have we learnt today?

  1. God, no matter what, can, and will, help you in your time of need. No real need to explain myself in this one: But for his help in (a) giving me the strength to stagger around the university, (b) making sure the student centre was empty, (c) allowing me to arrive back in time for the exam….and so on, I would never have been able to do as well as I would have, or even make the exam on time. Once again, all thanks be to God.
  2. The UQ staff, unlike the previous, will not. The staffer at the Student Centre moved and talked at the speed of the Flash…on sleeping pills. In fact, even his hearing wasn’t 100% – he was out to give me a hard time, I swear. And the old guy at the examination hall was simply despicable to me. If no one got the movie reference, I’m moving on. In summary, the staff at UQ do not care if you make mistakes – they will even try their best to ensure that your mistakes kill you off.
  3. Always check your ID card is in place when entering a University Exam. Self-Explainatory, again.
  4. Your parents will not be amused by your story of heroically making it to your exam on time. When my epic tale of adventure and bravery was regaled to my parents, I expected them to pat me on the back and compliment my perseverance, maybe even laugh at my lack of fitness. Instead, they gave me a lecture on how my disorganisation nearly cost me a seat in the exam. Problem is, they’re right. Bet this wouldn’t be a good time to tell them about the time I dismantled every pen in the house then…..

This story is one of me, though God’s help, overcoming adversity (my own disorganisation) and being able to sit the exam and hopefully doing it well. Unfortunately for my friend, he wasn’t so lucky. He forgot to bring his notes.

Do you have a bad exam story? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Advertisements

A Series of Unfortunate Medical Tests (Part 2)

Good day, friends, enemies, and citizens of the planet Earth! It is I, the author of this blog!

Now that the uncomfortable silence is over, yes, I am still sweating in my homeland of Singapore on my self-imposed exile for reading Twilight, the result of which scarred me for life. Coincidentally, I also have to be here for some tests and procedures in order to serve my time in Singapore’s army. Not willingly, of course. I was persuaded by my overwhelming patriotism, as I am a slave of duty (and also the threat of 3 years jail didn’t help either).

Did you get the Pirates of Penzance reference? 😛

So, when we last left off, I was in a secret location somewhere in Singapore undergoing secret medical tests. Mhmm. Secretive stuff. You can read all about the previous tests here, but suffice to say, I was midway through a medical exam that neither the patients nor the medical personnel could care less about. So, where we last left off, I just did an auditory test, and was off to the next station, which was:

Station 6: X-Rays

Now, the thing you have to understand is that this was not a ‘one-on-one’ exam. There were around 100 boys wandering around going to stations, and anytime you entered a room, there was sure to be at least 5 other boys waiting in front of you.

I gave my documents to the receptionist for the X-Ray station. He gave them a cursory glance, handed it back, pointed me through a door, and told me to take off my shirt inside. I was only mildly shocked. After all, he was a doctor, right?

So I entered. And there, in front of me, was 3 shirtless boys waiting to be called inside another room for their X-Rays. Taking off my shirt, I stood at the back of the line. Yes, nothing wrong with 4 shirtless guys hanging out to get X-Rays. The awkward was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. It wouldn’t have felt so bad, but the others were in such better shape than I was. 😦

But soon, it was my turn. A woman with a crew cut and who looked like she enjoyed this job a little too much led me to a machine and told me to hug it, then 5 seconds later told me to get out. Either my chest was fine, or it was too traumatic for the woman to look at my exposed torso any longer. So, I hurriedly left and went to the next station:

Station 7: Eye tests

This was pretty straightforward. Stand on one spot, put a plastic paddle-thing over one eye, and read the letters. It was so ordinary, I don’t even have any jokes for this.

Station 8: Dental

Now, I just have to say, like the rest of human population, I’m not a big fan of dental tests. Put your hand up if you enjoy lying helpless on your back while a guy, features obscured with a face mask, pokes around with sharp metal objects inside your mouth. If you enjoy that, you have serious problems. But that was what happened to me. Eerily silent, the doctor did his stuff. Afterwards, I thought it was over. Silly me.

I was then sent for a dental X-Ray, which involved me biting down on a plastic protrusion and gripping a set of handles while parts of the machine revolved around me. I kid you not, I nearly thought I was going to be teleported. I was disappointed when I was not.

After this, I moved on to a huge room where there were about 70 boys waiting with numbers, and more milling around other stations. After taking off my shirt, shoes and socks and putting them in a locker, I went on to….

Station 9: ECG

Basically, this test was simple. You lie down on a bed, the guy attaches clips with wires all over you, and then both of you stare at each other in uncomfortable silence while the heart rate monitor does its thing. Simple…and weird. Anything instantly becomes weird when you don’t have a shirt. Just ask Edward Cullen in the New Moon movie. Everyone in the cinema threw up once he appeared shirtless.

Station 10: Height and Weight, and Blood Pressure

Two very disinterested nurses did these tests. First, I had to stand on a platform while they measured both height and weight, and then I had to stick my arm into a machine that squeezed it so tight, I thought it would burst. That apparently was for blood pressure, but I still think it was a torture device. Make of it what you will.

After this, I put my shirt and shoes back on and took a number. Apparently there was another stop, a doctor’s examination and final write-off. So, I took a number and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

My brother, who was slightly ahead of me, went in first.  I tried to amuse myself by watching Ellen (I must have been really bored), but I couldn’t get the screams of patients past out my my head.

So I waitied some more. And then the unthinkable happened. For those who know my brother, he’s unfazeable. He has an annoying habit of being jocular and being able to laugh through any situation, making stupid jokes and basically being awesome. So when he emerged from the room, face ashen and speechless, I knew something was wrong.

But before I could radio HQ and arrange for an immediate extraction, it was my turn to enter into:

Station 11: The Doctor’s Room

Here’s how the first minute went. Italics are my words, bold are the doctor’s.

“Hey there.”

“Hi.”

<Awkward Silence while I give him my file>

“Go stand in the corner and take off your pants and underwear.”

I immediately replied, “Show me your credentials first, you sick quack!”

After a short scuffle, and after I explained things to Security, he asked me some further questions and told me I could leave. I dashed out of there as fast as I could and called the police.

All that aside, I dutifully went off to the last station:

Station 12: IQ Test

Let me just say here, I have a lot of respect for the Singaporean schooling system. They teach their kids to be geniuses by age 10 and superhuman by age 13. It all goes uphill from there. Thus, you can imagine the level of difficulty of the questions presented.

I spent most of my life in Australia, where freedom and creativity is emphasised rather than mindless repeating knowledge. Needless  to say, that isn’t recognised here. So, let’s see how I did, shall we?

  1. English: Awesome. Australia did at least teach me the English language, which was helpful in answering ‘Train is to Car as Plane is to?’. That was dumb, wasn’t it?
  2. Maths: Fail. I could only answer about 9 of them. But let me put this in context. I have got mostly As in Maths my whole life. Australian schools give us calculators since we were 13. I am studying law full-time, which is a non- maths subject. So, when you are only given a pencil and ONE sheet of paper, and asked to solve 1.76 x 3.34 in 1 minute, you know you’re screwed.
  3. Graphics: Okay. But this was just dumb. You were given a picture of an object in a circle, and asked what it would look like if it was rotated around 45 degrees. How the ‘eck is this relevant?
  4. Physics: Kinda okay, I think. Only in Singapore will there be a Physics section in an IQ test. But again, I’m doing law – Physics is another orbit. And let me just say, my space shuttle can’t reach there far.

The test took 2.5 hours. I was exhausted by the end, but glad that it was finally over. I could go home happy, and secure in the knowledge that the government was happy. And in Singapore, that was all that mattered.

Do you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks? Remember to leave a message and give us your feedback!

A Series of Unfortunate Medical Tests (Part 1)

Good day, all my faithful readers! (Probably all two of you) I am so sorry I have not been updating at all, but due to the high pressures of exam and cramming, the mad rush of packing, and my general laziness, this blog has been basically left stagnant. My apologies, and I shall try to update more often….though why you people want to know about my boring life I’ll never understand.

So, since I last updated, I finished 4 exams and I arrived back in the country of Singapore. For those of you who do not know what Singapore is, let me explain. It is a tiny island just above the equator, it’s really hot and humid, and apparently has a nice airport with free internet. That last one was from my friend, who told everyone to go to Singapore because of the free internet. Figures.

Anyway, I had to return to Singapore for a fortnight because of something called National Service, which in other words is akin to the old ‘gang-pressing’ methods of the 19th century, where unsuspecting people would be coshed and wake up on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic, forced into service. Today, the government uses legislation and the police, but you can see the similarities. The problem is that their victims of choice are not hardy soldiers rising up to fight the forces of evil:

But instead are more like these:

Though I have to admit, if we ever face The Covenant, the Singaporean Army would kick their butts.

Moving on now, I had to report to an undisclosed location for a medical checkup and other stuff. So, let me bring you the deets with a play-by-play analysis:

Station 1: Photo Taking.

Okay, first of all, there was a really old Chinese guy giving us instructions. He went on to measure our head and waist and shoe size, and then give us a long talk about how to take our photos properly. His soft, soothing voice put me to sleep immediately.

Kids, you know how people tell you to pay attention in class or you might miss out something? Well, that happened to me. Apparently I “didn’t style my hair right”, and he sent me back 3 freakin’ times! And then, when I still didn’t do it right, instead of kindly telling me where I went wrong, he used me as a model for the next bunch! He even practically poured water upon my head to style it. So, after that, I kindly told him where to painfully put his camera and tripod in his rear and walked out.

Station 2: Computer Check

While I hoped for a James Bond-esque style computer entry software that scanned my fingerprints and retina before burning a binary ID tattoo upon my palm, instead I had to update my personal details on Windows XP and IE6. Who even uses IE6 anymore?

Station 3: Urine Test

Not gonna get into much detail here…..but let’s just say that the guy in charge was oddly excitable and jocular for someone in that capacity. Hmm…..

Station 4: Blood Test

Apparently they haven’t got Edward Cullen to do these yet. At least then he can use his powers for good instead of harrassing poor little teenage girls and pubescent werewolves with anger problems.

This guy has harassed us for far too long. Who’s with me?

Sorry, where were we? I got blood drawn out of me by a young guy that looked like he was still in med school. What scared me more was that he wasn’t even concentrating, but rather he was talking to the other male nurse (heh heh…male nurse) throughout. But since I’m not dead yet, it must have been okay.

After that, I got shown over to a older guy and was asked to complete….wait for it…a survey! I swear, only in Singapore will this happen. Even when I was doing it, the older guy was making jokes aboout how he was going to get fired (aptly acted out with an “Oh no, I’m drowning” gesture) everytime I marked ‘Dissatisfied’. So, just for him, I marked most of them as ‘SLIGHTLY Dissatisfied’. Aren’t I nice?

Station 5: Hearing Test

Basically, this station involved a soundproof chamber and someone outside playing high-pitched sounds. If you could hear them, you raised your hand, and so on. It was pretty straightforward. I did consider stuffing around by putting my hand up randomly when the girl outside preferred to talk on the phone rather than start my test, but I’m too nice.

***

And….that’s it. Nah, just kidding. I’ll give you the rest soon, since this post is getting waaay too long.

One more thing: Does anybody know what an ‘Enlarged Aortic Valve’ is? I read it on someone’s chart and I got curious. What is it? Is it deadly? What are the consequences? Will that person die? Or is he just even more awesome?

Alright, I’m gonna go off and smell the fresh air (coloured with a dash of burning insense), look at the stars (which haven’t been seen since the start of the 20th century thanks to the pollution) and eat some delicious food. Though I might style my hair properly too as well. I don’t want a slightly feminine Chinese man with a camera using me as a model again….

If you have any questions, remarks, or insults, remember to leave a comment!

Advertisements