Final exams are finally here and my first taste of sitting the three hour exam of five essay questions, five short answer and 5 long answer questions proved to be rather frustrating and a little interesting. Initially when I turned up to my exam, the examiner had not received note of me sitting the exam and I could have predicted this. Earlier I had been to visit the head of department to advise that I had not been given notice of where I should sit my exams (despite all my classmates having received the email). After being shuffled from one person to the next and eventually back to the original person I had spoken with, I was given the details of my exam. This information, not surprisingly, was not passed on to anyone beyond me and seemed to cause much confusion in the exam room. Nevertheless I was allocated a seat and sat down with various other students in the steaming hot examination room. While waiting for the exam to start I watched on, amused, as the people surrounding me furiously scribbled notes on the desks, the back of the chairs and up their arms while under the inattentive eyes of the examiners.
I was surprised to be interrupted 10 minutes into my exam to be told I needed to move seats for no apparent reason and again surprised when I was interrupted several more times with questions from the examiner still trying to work out who I was or why I was there. My surprise however turned to frustration when another man came into the exam room and asked that I leave with him so the university could sort out who I was and why I was sitting an exam. Having been here for five months I knew better than to ask for extra time due to the inconvenience and I dutifully followed the man from person to person until after some time it was decided that I was in fact a student (Yes, I have student ID on me!).
During the exam, the level of cheating was unbelievable and so obvious that I am shocked the examiners did not pick up on it. Despite the rule of not being able to have a phone on you during the exam this didn’t stop people having phones sitting at the front of the classroom. Several times when people were stuck on a question they simply got up walked to the front of the room, retrieved their phone and stood just outside the door to ‘phone a friend’!It was like being on an episode of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’. The man next to me despite sitting a different exam to me spent as much time looking at my answers as he did turning around and asking out loud what the answers were from the women behind. Eventually I informed him that my answers on social change were not in any way going to help his maths examination, but he didn’t seem to mind. All this took place while the examiners drank chai and chatted to each other and the many visitors that dropped by during the exam. In this particular exam two windows were broken somewhere nearby and the shattering noise seemed be noticed by no one but me.
More than half the questions were directly related to India’s economy and problems and how sociological practices and so forth can affect or improve these things. I have been informed previously that I am supposed to ‘appeal’questions that directly refer to India because they are common knowledge that comes from being an Indian and are not taught in the curriculum. I know better than to ask for a new exam and know that even if I did it would never eventuate. I am not going to appeal half the exam and besides I feel that 5 months living and breathing India qualifies me to know just a tad about what is going on the country.
It will be interesting to see what eventuates from the next exam. Bring it on!