Friday, 20 January 2017

Exam Shock

We had our "Epidemiology and Basic Statistics" exam of 20 units load last week. You could tell from everyone's face after the exam that they didn't have it rosy. 3hrs and 2 papers. 1 for Epidemiology, one for Basic stats. 2 hrs into the exam, someone got up and submitted. I had barely started the second paper by then.  
I spent the whole of my Christmas break writing an essay for a 10 unit course. I had thought I would finish on time so as to prepare for this exam during the break but the essay proved quite difficult. Thank God I finally got it off my desk on 5th January when we handed it in. I thought I had 1 week to then prepare for this exam but I was wrong. I had only 4 days. I hadn't factored in the fact that we still had our regular lectures running. I couldn't afford to miss lectures for this exam. In fact, I had underestimated it. In my mind I felt like, "is it not stats?". I thought I was pretty much okay in Stats and I only needed to brush up Epidemiology. So I started reading. It was while reading, I discovered there were take home practicals for many sessions that I never even knew existed not to talk of doing them. We had 27 sessions to read through. On Sunday, I was on the 5th session, Monday I had gotten to 10th session. I had lectures Tuesday morning. Tuesday night (eve of exam) I abandoned the lecture notes 'cause there was no way I was going to cover the remaining before the exam in the morning. Instead I decided to go through the lecture slides. It was easier to just scan through the bullet points even though they had less explanation. I ran through the slides for the remaining 17 sessions. That night I also practiced the Epidemiology past question and only looked at the solutions to the Stats past question (there was no time to practice).  
Then came the D-day.  
I started with Epidemiology 'cause I thought I needed more time for it since it had a lot to do with short essays. By 1 hr 20mins I switched to Stats. Oh boy. The painful part was seeing questions I recognized from the lecture slides I had gone through the previous night but not being able to answer adequately as I knew little of what they were about. (The danger of power point)  
Pens up! And I was still scribbling. Reluctantly I dropped my pen, and submitted my paper. Looked across the room and the gloom was palpable. Someone even asked when the resit exam would be. I asked the one who had submitted his paper so early how it was and he said he had to submit because he couldn't find the things he had read in there. 
Those including me that had courage to recall the questions were discouraged by the answers they got from peers. So we stopped asking.  
I asked my classmate, "if Basic Stats is like this, how would Advanced Stats be?. "O you're doing Advanced Stats?". You could see how relieved she was that she didn't choose Advanced Stats optional module for next semester. Across the room, you could just hear people say, "all I want is just to pass". "Let me just hit 50 and I'm fine". "I cannot repeat this exam". It sounded ridiculous that people were considering failing. Not that it was not tough, but I didn't think anyone of us could get below 50. But I could understand that it was the intensity of the unexpected difficulty that made them consider failing the course. 
Praise God! The result came out today, I didn't only pass, I made a distinction. 
©Radiant~ January 2017
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