Tag Archive | Exams

My Dual Life

Its been two months since I again became a student to do my second Master of Engineering in my core branch i.e. Electrical Engineering. The first day of M.E. (Power Systems Engineering) was a portent of what lay ahead. Getting up at an unholy time (6.45 am), bathing so early in morning, attending class from 8 to 11 and taking classes after that till evening are totally draining me out mentally and physically. For those who remember my earlier post on categories of students and those who were curious to know my classification, nowadays I can be classified as

# The First Bencher :- One of my Professors in M.E. writes on the board in such a small cursive handwriting that it is not resolvable or readable from the first bench even with a pair of binoculars. Though I admit I haven’t tried using a binoculars yet. Maybe I would one day. When I was the class monitor in school, then only I’d learnt that one has to write for the audience not for oneself on board. Another speaks in low voice and another’s subject is so boring that I have to sit there to avoid sleep. 😛

# The Yawner :- Just as the Professor turns his back to us, I yawn and stretch. 6.45 am is like dawn to me. 😦

# The Stimulator :- In all the 5 subjects, there are only two which really interest me and I’m active in that class. Whether I’m fun to teach or not , that only my professors can tell. 😀

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The Other Side of Bench

All of us have been students but few have got the opportunity or have chosen to be on the other side of the benches as a full time job. It provides a different perspective, an understanding of the things which seemed to bother as students, some shocking realities, some realizations and some funny moments. And it helps if one doesn’t forget his or her time on the bench. It helps not only to connect but also to see through many tricks of one’s students. These are few thoughts for all students out there from the Other Side of Bench.

#1 Some of us are always aware what each one of the class is doing and can make out who is faking writing down the lecture or looking out of window lost in thoughts or ogling at a girl classmate. We can make out when a student starts to press calculator buttons just to show he/she is solving the given numerical when we approach his/her bench.

#2 Don’t think the invigilator won’t know what you are up to when you crane your neck forward or when you lean back sliding little on the seat. We know that’s when you are going to asking your friend answer to a question. All other tactics ( I’ll not mention here) are also known to us and sometimes we just pretend to ignore.

#3 Writing absolute nonsensical/irrelevant stuff or repeating the same words over n over again and making the pages of answer sheets look filled is not going to work because we read before giving marks.

#4 Literally writing Ramayana in Hindi for 5 pages just because you had time to kill in the exam room is not going to help either. We are secular when valuating answer sheets.

#5 Why do guys need to write in scrawly handwriting and draw horrible diagrams? Even if the roll number is hidden we know which one is a girl’s copy and which one a guy’s. And girls, please don’t use glitter pens. We don’t like our palms and faces to shine.

#6 Writing “Sir, please please ( 5-10 times) pass me. I’ll be eternally grateful/I’ll touch your feet/You’ll get my good wishes” in the end of your answer sheet is not going to help. Firstly a Madam may be valuating your answer sheet and she may get offended by the presumption of Sir. Secondly, unless you have written enough to be passed no pleading will work even if you write “Om Sai Ram”/”Om Ganeshaye Namah”/”Jai KaalBhairavi” at the beginning.

#7 Some of us are merciless and some are generous in valuation. So, once you have passed, even on border marks, DO NOT apply for revaluation. 95% chances are you’ll fail.

#8 We have a personal life too. And sometimes we are really busy personally or professionally and unable to give time to solve your doubts. That doesn’t mean we don’t care.

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P.S. Wish I could take and post snap shots of some classic answer sheets I recently valuated but that was against my ethics. Cartoon images (except C&H) credited to clipart.net

The Business of "UFM"

Firstly for those who are unaware of a very important term in an Engineering student’s academic life, UFM means Un-Fair Means (Some universities may use some other name) i.e. the tempting, illegal, sometimes lifesaving, mostly time consuming, always risky methods used by students during the exam duration. I, being a cog in the wheel of Education since I stepped into kindergarten and till I became a lecturer, have so many anecdotes to blog about but never got around to do so. This particular incident however just had to be told.

Gone are those days when kids in school and students in colleges used to just peek into their neighbour’s answer copies or ask around in whispers or bring hand written chits of paper. Due to the birth of Generation Y and Z in a world of rapid advancements in technology and economy, these kids and youth have understood the power and importance of technological applications and money fast enough. The extent of this was unearthed during the recent end semester exams of 1st year Engineering. The university provides with only one day gap between 2 papers (I guess to encourage regular studying and to end the famous tradition of studying in the long gaps by Engineering students in most private non autonomous colleges). But as usual with recent growth of private colleges like mushrooms and every other kid doing Engineering, there are many students who use UFM as their life jackets. The students are divided into two groups in 1st year and study different subjects. They have exams on alternate days. So on the fateful day (a cliche!) two students of one group were caught lingering near the bathroom with solution of the paper other group was giving. After strict and rough inquiry a whole organised scheme was disclosed. A student in higher semester was the kingpin and he took money from these 1st year students. A question paper after being distributed was smuggled out of any room by various ways. Solutions of various parts were made in small chits by several hired students and stuck in a single A4 sheet and then xeroxed into number of copies as per buyers. Students were told to sit with their mobiles in pockets. A sms used to be sent to inform that so-so guy is waiting there with solution. The candidate would then take permission to go out to drink water and take the solution. And this same solution was found in other colleges of the city. 19-20 year olds implementing such an ingenuine business plan comprising a strong network of finance, messengers, bikes, xerox shops, mobiles and even the sweepers of the college. Its like “hey I have to use UFM anyway. So why not make money out of it as well” and the policy of “You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” because its obvious any student who is busy giving such social service in the gap will need the same aid next day. This exposes the fact that studying has become the last priority and option.

In the pursuit of monetary investments, higher gains, possession of latest stuff, getting the desired results; have the older generation instilled such attitude and values in their children urging them to become rats in rat race be it of education or career? Is “The end should justify the means” the motto of this Gen Z?

I wont go into discussing the glaring shortcomings of the invigilators or exam conductors or the “Flying Squad” which comes from the university. Of course it takes two to tango. I have just focussed on the leading partner!

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post shall be construed as prompting the students to employ such means. The blogger does not endorse such methods. You hereby acknowledge that any use of such methods shall be at your sole risk.