Thursday, September 07, 2006

observations of a 'studious' mind at a fine great school

5 years and 3 Months after I wrote my last educational examination, I wrote another set of exams last weekend at a prestigious school in this Garden City. Not that I didn't attend other kind of exams during this time. I had in fact wrote numerous amount of them during my job search period from 2001 to 2003. My sister even reminded me that I wrote one in April 2004 and that was the Kerala Public Service Exam for Lecturers. But all these were job oriented tests or competitive examinations like GATE, where I had to find out the summations of the arithmetic progressions, full form of DOS (This was actually a question in Kerala PSC for Lecturers), Worst Time Complexity of Merge Sort or a simple train and platform puzzle ;).

This time it was different. I had to WRITE answers to the questions given in a question paper onto the answer sheet provided by my university. Yes, I was attending the First Semester Mid Semester Exam of my MS course from BITS. It took some amount of time to realize that I no more have the speed of writing that I possessed 9 years ago. And all I had to do was just WRITE. Some of the questions were problems, and I found the equations on the fly and calculated the results. But some of them asked me to explain with lucid examples how CMMI model is affecting my daily livelihood of coding and development and even asked me to step into a Project Managers shoes and visualize how you would schedule the Project Roll Out in 90 days Agile Processing. Huh!! Writing was tough, after all these years, what I used to write was the scribbling I made in my personal diary and a few letters I used to send to my best friends. How times have changed, I even forgot the grip I used to have for my pen. TOTAL DISASTERRRRR!!!!!

I was writing the exams back to back - 4 exams in 2 days. The last time I wrote exams that way was in 1995 March when I appeared for the SSLC exams. And that was the last time any kid in Kerala wrote SSLC that way - 12 exams, 6 days back to back from one Wednesday to the next FN 10 AM -12 Noon, AN 1.30PM-3.30 PM (Friday 2pm to 4PM). That was really terrible. This is all about some observations which I made during my two days at the school.

  • Being in a school environment always brings back nostalgic memories of how you spend your childhood and schooling. The ground always beckons you to play a game of football or cricket. The desks and benches tells you the pranks you played, the name markings you made on the desks with the compasses in your camel instrument box and the way you wrote the whole essay in a short way on the desk, benches and even sandals for copying during the forthcoming exams. But sadly I didn't find any desks or benches. Instead there were individual tables and chairs. Gone are the days where you rested your back on the desk behind you only to find out that a Pratheesh's or a Rajesh's chalk markings on the edge of the desk would have coloured the backside of your shirt.
  • Students of these schools speak English lot better than me and they don't even hesitate to threaten you. A big fat boy, who might have been in his 6th or 7th standard told a few of us, who were sitting behind the goal post, to move away as they are not responsible if we get hurt by the banana kicks they were taking. Entammachchiye.. Athu Enganum Kondirunnenkil..
  • Where ever you go, in an examination center you will find a section of studious people who are glued on to their books, brushing the portions last minute and even trying to by heart it walking across the corridor all the time. Some will even find time to check the slides on their Thinkpads!!!. And someone including me will be pretending to study, but will be keeping an eye on all the 'beautiful objects' that move around and also on those studious people.
  • People come on the Ford's, the Toyota's, the Chevy's and even on the Maruthi 800s. Others have their Scootterets, Bikes and ThunderBird :) . An odd guy will come in a Moped or a bicycle too. But one thing most of them forget is a proper parking sense.
  • Poor Husbands who come with their wives will have to sit in the car for the whole day listening to Radio City, Mirchi or One and even will have to buy lunch for the wife who is studying during the lunch hours. Some one can be even seen playing games on their laptops. ;)
  • Some people still approach the exam hall with a bit of tension filled faces and will barge into the exam halls without checking if they belong to that hall. On knowing that they do not belong there they get more tensed and run to find the actual seat.
  • The exam invigilators are the main stream students of BITS and they don't have much to do, apart like the normal college invigilators, who have to give supplementary papers and also have to have a check on the copying. Here the main booklet is so huge and I never noticed anyone asking for a supplementary sheet. Even though people were copying using various means, the invigilators were not interested in it. Either they might not be skilled enough to catch the culprits, who are anytime elder than them and have enough experience in copying, or even after seeing it they might have just left it thinking "Poor Old Chaps come here to get an MS by distant learning, let them pass". Anyways it was a pleasure for me to see people getting chits from their pockets and hiding it in between the answer sheets. If there were single supplementary sheets, I might have just tried it exchanging with a Joju or TP ;)
  • Even now attending a post-graduate course some people don't forget their age old habit of drawing margins on all the answer sheets and finding time to draw the block diagrams with a pencil and scale. Then there is still the habit of being in a meditation till the question papers are distributed and praying after they get the question paper, but before looking at it.
  • And finally after all these actions when the people look at the question papers, one can see the facial expression changing from the concentrated look to "From which Timbuktu did this question came from? " kind of look. Then with the little knowledge they have people tend to become a new Veda Vyasa on their own if it is a subject like Software Engineering & Management or else they will invent a formula that can be made using the data given in the question and will get the nearest possible answer and leave. I don't think any of us would have sat the whole 2 hours.
At the end of the day, I should say I enjoyed it. Being part of an educational procedure of writing tests and that too after 5 years. And while driving back I felt pain on my hands and fingers, due to long writings. I also realized that my hand writing had gone from bad to worse. Now for the next 2 years this cycle is going to continue and I hope to come good and observe a lot more.

Who knows when the lightning will strike ?? (Hmmm ...Idithee Veenu Kattapokayaakandirunnal mathiyarunnu ... *sigh*)


Anonymous said...

I remember how brawe i where copying from a piece of paper, hold inside my Shirt sleeves folding, during my sslc maths exam, thanks god most of the pieces i kept inside my sleeve fold are made my future life easier :) and I just passed my maths paper with 22%. now ... idon't thik I am able to write a 2 hours exam anymore..alas

yetanother.softwarejunk said...

macha...I guess you are referring to our TC exam!!!

Nice to recollect those old days :-)

pophabhi said...

Felt the same while doing the Symby exams. :).
Meet joe black comes to my mind, and the post takes me years back. Way to go !!

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

#kuzhimadiyan - It was thrilling!! Hmmm
#Alexis - Thanks Alexis. Computer has taken away the gift of writing from us :(
#joju - aavo aarkkariyam ...
#abhi - Thanks Man