Monday, November 10, 2008
When you get outsmarted by an examination paper
It's fun, yeah. Not so fun if you actually set questions, or the lack thereof, which are a major part of the syllabus. For those who know, it's the Physics paper.
I didn't go too well with the Paper 3, with me blanking out much of the time after staring at the first question. In the end I think it wasn't too bad, except that I rushed through many parts and was not able to check the paper or even estimate how much I would get. Of course, after that, everyone would predict questions for Paper 2. What didn't come out in Paper 3 must come out in 2, since 1 consists of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) which not only should test every topic, thus allocating no more than 3 or 4 marks on a topic, but also test the topics to a lesser depth.
At the end of the Paper 2, however, one question was on most people's lips: Where's Quantum Physics? It is such a large chapter, it's divided into three parts in our notes. And yet, not a trace of it was found in the two main papers.
But wait! That's not all. Along with the disappearing act was Measurements, Motion in a Circle and Lasers! There was also minimal Magnetic Field questions which only appeared as a small part in Paper 3. In fact, now that I think of it, what did they test again?
The content value is so miniscule it's laughable. I could have no clue about Motion in a Circle, Measurements, Lasers, Quantum Physics and Magnetic Fields and yet do equally as well in this paper. In fact, I could do better, seeing how my eagerness to use Motion in a Circle formulae interfered with Gravitational Field-themed questions.
Unless 20 marks worth of questions on Quantum Physics appears in Paper 1, which is absolutely bizzare, I don't see how this examination paper actually justtified the syllabus. But, oh, they can set the paper however they want. And that's the problem with condemning the weaker students further into their doom.
I've never been good at academics but you will have to take as many tips as you have picked up. The point in preparing for examinations is based on previous examinations. They set a standard type of question? There's a way for doing it. But when they don't, and set a newfangled artistic hullabaloo tragic excuse for a question there are two ways a candidate can handle it.
Obviously nothing much troubles a candidate with strong knowledge of the subject. They use formulae from the dark side of the moon to combine with concepts from the core of the Earth to form your grand solution. But for those who are just barely hanging in, they depend their life and soul on questions that they have grinded through the years. And yet a mouse trap springs into their face and they have no choice but to squeeze out the formulae that are somehow linked via the furthest way possible and throw it in.
Yes we need to detect the difference but this sorts of overdoes it. With the addition of the cursed bell curve, once you do not fully understand the subject, you will almost never get an A grade. The despicable truth, which makes it seem so near yet so far.
All your practice is based on what was already set. What they are going to set can be different. And different it was, I can probably point out the person who set this paper in a street. The guy drunk on the floor. Probably he is also obsessed with graphs, given the multitude of them in the paper. I swear I came out of the examination hall not seeing stars but boxes.
After this rant I would just have to return and hope my Chemistry paper doesn't screw me over as badly. Unlike Physics, I actually have more understanding for Chemistry. Unfortunately my not-so-super memory sees me stumble over the 'conditions' questions in the Organic Chemistry section.
As much as I would like this to be over and done with, it would return and haunt me next year. I don't forsee a pleasant certificate, even with my low standards. I've been thinking over what somebody told me. Education is not for our benefit, it is for the government. Very obviously so, though they attempt to gradually conceal it by bringing in CCAs, a mixture of Arts subjects etc. through the years.
We are not fools. But we still get fooled.