Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Examination Hall – Distractions

Pens communicate with paper vigorously as students write answers to the questions that have been posed by their instructors. Some frantically chew on their pen covers/tops, others fidget ceaselessly. Some stare into the ceiling and some still look for opportunities to have a glance at what their supposed ‘Messiahs’ – sitting by them – have written.
The tension in the examination hall is very great.
Amidst all these, there are other factors at play that make it difficult for the student to fully concentrate. These factors include (but not limited to):
-          Intermittent announcement of the time left on the clock by invigilators

  •           A lady’s beads/thong provocatively signaling one’s eyes for attention (applies to guys)
  •           The thighs of a lady shooting out of her skimpy skirt
  •           Invigilators dragging their feet as they move about (not forgetting the noise made by their shoes)
  •           Some students whistling for attention from friends
  •           Sometimes, some students (girls especially) are distracted by the dresses, hairstyles, nail polishes being worn by their friends
  •           Some students ‘admire’ or even ‘have crushes’ on some invigilators and therefore spend quite an amount of time watching them as they move about the examination hall.
As can be rightly observed, distractions during examinations are essential to the study of human behaviour and how effective people are, under pressure.

The Examination Hall – Setting

So you have been able to learn all you are supposed to before taking the examination. At certain times in your studies, you even doubt your notes and have to confer with friends. It is a normal feeling. You wonder if really what you are studying is even relevant or not. Your adrenaline level fluctuates.
Then it is time to take the examination. Good Heavens! You suddenly turn to God for strength, and prayer becomes the order of the day. If you don’t know how to pray, the sign of the cross is enough. I can only imagine God sitting calmly on His throne and smiling at us – earthlings!
You enter the examination hall and the arrangement is intimidating, not forgetting the thorough search you are subjected to. The desks are three feet apart on all sides. You see invigilators with bloodshot eyes; with hawk-like demeanours, ready to pounce on any chick (student) who goes astray – by not following orders, and more importantly -- cheating. Of course you can’t blame them, when some students, no matter what, are hell-bent on cheating – even if the examination demands them writing the 25 alphabets of the English Language! Absurd!
In our day, we had our index numbers already placed on the desks and so you had to walk to yours quietly and sit down. You and your course mates occupied one entire row. The next row was occupied by another class, and so a row sits in-between you and your mates.  You are not even allowed to rotate your neck to an angle of 45 degrees!
You enter the hall sometimes and you feel like a condemned soul who’s just there to redeem him/herself from bondage.
You get seated and the examinations begin in earnest.
Good luck to us all!

The Examination Hall -- Examinations?

Examination as defined by the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is an exercise designed to examine progress or test qualification or knowledge.
The Oxford English dictionary defines it as a formal test of knowledge or ability in a subject or skill.
However, it a word most students – if not all – dread to hear. It sends shivers down the spine of some, others just want to take it and get it over and done with, while still others wish they have alternatives to choose from, other than taking the examinations.  I remember a friend who once suggested that, instead of every student writing examinations, a system could be put in place where students are billed for examinations, without actually writing it. I wonder if that is ever feasible in any institution.
If you ask me, I’d say it all comes down to one thing – your perception of examinations.  That influences your approach to this exercise.
Our educational system is such that, students have been, and are being brought up to believe that passing examinations is the surest way to make it in life – as if you life depended on it! Society therefore tags those who get good grades as being intelligent and the unfortunate ones as dullards.
No wonder a lot of examination malpractices go on these days. Who’s to blame?
Personally, I see examinations as platforms to see if students really got the concepts of what they have been taught in class. It’s a form of feedback. Once, as students, we begin to see exams a as a feedback mechanism, other than the perceived punishment, we should be fine.

Please share your views by commenting on this post. Thanks

You may also be interesting in the following articles:
The Examination Hall – Setting
The Examination Hall – Distractions
The Examination Hall – Modus operandi?
The Examination Hall – Irking moments