Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exam Blues

Exams have been over and done with almost 2 weeks ago. And I'm writing about it now. Why? That's like old news I know. But well, there was some connection problem and then the router problem..

I was happily surfing the net in my college room the night before I was to return home. Loading 2, 3, 4 episodes of Hana Kimi, Vampire Knight and Absolute Boyfriend (Japanese drama and anime)!! Even Scrubs. Ahhh....Absolute bliss...

Then I come home and apparently our router was burnt to ashes when there was a thunderstorm the other night. Meaning: no internet connection until it can be fixed. 2nd meaning: no Hana Kimi, Absolute Boyfriend and Vampire Knight either.


It was torture I tell you.

Anyway, I digress.

Exams, simply put, was another disaster. And extremely disappointing.
Disappointing not in the sense that I was ill-prepared (although, that may be the case in some instances), but rather in the way the paper was set.

I was especially disappointed in the Educational Psychology paper.

For our text we had to read a 627-paged book by Jeanne Ellis Ormrod (Pearson Internation Edition). We were told that this was the new text book, deciding to not use the previous semester's one because apparently this was newer, more colourful and had more illustrations and real work by real children that we could analyze. I LOVED the new edition. It was far more interesting than the older version. It didn't matter that the lecturer didn't use the text book as much as I thought she would. It didn't matter that I could never really find her lecture notes from anywhere in the text book. When that happened I didn't dare say a thing. I mean, it would show that I hadn't really read the text at all (which was totally true..I only like admiring the colourful pictures ;P). So nobody said anything, assuming that it was only by a fault of their own that we seemed pretty lost.

I started studying reasonably earlier. Like about a couple of weeks before the 1st paper began (Unlike some insane lunatic people who start months earlier - i mean, that's just CRAZY!!! agree? *desperately seeking assurance*). I set aside 1 whole week to study Educational Psychology, cos I knew I'd need the time.

Turns out, the week was just enough to read through the whole text book, but not enough to know them like the back of my hand (Impossible, but what was expected of us. Sigh). So many terms! Definitions! Concepts! Motivation..Sensory register, working memory..Piaget's Theory, Vygotsky, Erik Erikson..Maslow's hierarchy of needs..Disabilities..Reinforcement, Punishment..Hostile attributional bias..


Ahem. Sorry. Had a little flashback of a nightmare there.

Anyway, I did my best trying to remember all the terms, memorising factors and stages and levels of development. I admit, I should have started reading all this during the term. But a girl's gotta have some quality time doing nothing right?

But my saving grace was past-year papers. Questions were kinda repetitive. Popular topics could be identified. Helped lessed the anxiety, thank God. I did what I could. I was as prepared as I was ever gonna be.

But I never expected this: questions that were not from the text.

I'm serious. Not from THIS text book anyway.

Yup, the brilliant lecturers actually had us answer questions from the previous text book. That shouldn't be a problem right? I mean, it should be more or less the same. Exactly. When they asked for the 7 levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I couldn't answer cos in OUR text, there were only 5 - less than what was required. How could I answer for the 4 types of mnemonic strategies when I had learnt, from OUR text, only 3????!! I was pretty sure there were only 3 from OUR text, and friends comfirmed it after the exam.

How frustrating!!!!! To have slogged and sweated and bled to remember everything and for it to be all completely useless cos they asked us things we did not learn.

Not our fault, I want to stress. Things we did not learn. Terms I had never read before. Levels of needs I did not know existed. Types of mnemonic strategies excluded from current text. Unfair.

I can't help feeling frustrated and upset with the LECTURERS. They should have at least gone through the questions. Surely then they would have realised these things cannot be found in our text? Or maybe they should have taken the time to read the NEW text, and THEN realise that. Of course, they didn't.

But we, the students, suffer.

And I could barely stop myself from uttering censored words when I found out later that some other course mates had got a hold of a past year exercise sheet from seniors which had 90% of the very essay questions we were struggling with. With answers too.

Disappointing, like I said. I hate to point fingers. Maybe I should point them at myself. But I refuse to think that all we have to do is find past year questions and memorise the answers, regardless of whether they were in the syllabus of my current text book, which is what these course mates of mine did. I hold on to the belief that an exam is an assessment of how much we've understood what we have learnt so far. This particular paper failed in that aspect.

Like I said. Disappointing.

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