Viva-voce is an essential and integral part of any professional curriculum. Its supposed to be just as scary as a theory examination and sometimes even more as its an oral examination. Though I had given viva voce at school level I don’t remember anything about it. You can read Ishmeet’s experience of a school viva here. In a field like Engineering or Medical, practical knowledge is much more important than theory. Viva-voce tests just that.
I don’t know about all but in many private engineering colleges viva-voce serves as a source of entertainment and frustration for the external and the internal examiners respectively rather than an ordeal for the students . The increasing disregard in students for studying before practical exams and the decreasing sincerity and quality of students in engineering can be attributed to cropping up of engineering colleges like mushrooms and the trend of not failing anyone in viva in private engineering colleges.
Whenever I go to other colleges as the external examiner or when I am the internal examiner in my college, I am appalled and frustrated by most of the students’ replies. This situation is when the viva exams are after the theory ones. The situation when viva is held before theory (in some universities) is unimaginable. The students don’t even care to shave and dress smartly before viva. College’s Director making a recommendation for a student before viva doesn’t help the blood pressure either. Most of the students appearing for viva can be categorised into the following types –
# The Actors :- As soon as a question is asked to them, they pretend to think by frowning deeply and staring upwards at “memosphere” (the sphere of air where all memorized stuff goes when needed to recall). But in reality these students have no idea what on earth are you talking about!
# The Mouthers :- They do not answer the question asked to them but when the question passes to the next student and he/she starts answering, these students start mouthing the words so as to show they knew the answer all along!
# The Over Enthusiasts :- They answer their questions and the questions asked to the other students too.
# The Girls :- I don’t have any other name for this category. They are the ones that have enrolled in engineering which is already dis-reputed as a boys’ profession (god knows why) and make no efforts to prove the society wrong. Recently I asked a “girl” – what is the type of electric supply you get at your home? She had no clue. And she was from Electrical branch. An Electrical Engineer not knowing that her home gets single phase ac supply is like a commerce student not knowing credit / debit or a Computer Science Engineer not knowing which OS his pc/laptop has!!! If you scold them, tears well up in their eyes. Strangely (or not?) the only person who is lenient with them is the male examiner.
And then there are those who just don’t open their mouths to utter a single word literally! Thankfully not all students belong to these categories.
Viva voce has its share of funny anecdotes too. One such anecdote from Electrical Engineering :-
This is how winding diagram of a machine looks like. It is of two types- lap and wave , the difference being in connection but basic look is same.
So this student during his 1st year Basic Electrical Engg viva tells me and the external that he knows the two winding diagrams. We are amazed and impressed!! We ask him to draw them. He draws and I take his copy with hope in my heart. He had drawn :-
I have never laughed so hard in front of students ever.
I have many other incidents but no Electrical Engineer in my blogosphere to share with. 😦
Nomad narrates another anecdote from Medical Profession –
Our anatomy dept had a lady lecturer (LL) too. So the story goes that the student was taking his viva- and the male external (ME) and LL were on the viscera table.
So ME gave the student a viscera, that was the uterus, and asked him to hold it in anatomical position and etc, you know. The guy could not identify the viscera, how much ever he tried. So ME prompted, ‘Ma’am here has it, you don’t have it, I don’t have it.. guess, what is it?’ Student replied with a wide eyed look, ‘Brain?”
I would love to know other viva experiences from my readers. Feel free to share in comments.
Related Posts :-
Sakhi has written some more funny incidents of medical viva.