Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Entrance Exams?

God knows how many competitive exams I've written, the entire experience excites me to no end. I could be writhing in pain one moment, but the moment I'm in an exam, it's my playing field, the adrenaline is intense and the pain lies long forgotten.

For the first time in life, I was on the other side. I was the invigilator. The imposing person? Surprisingly I was also nervous. I wanted to make the experience as calm as possible.

Me and my friend were discussing so many things. How to stagger the distribution of question papers and answer sheets. There were no bells, that's another matter.  How to give instructions, how to ensure the OMR's are filled, not to forget to get their attendance signed, what to write on the board. Frankly, it's a confusing procedure and it's nerve wracking to speak to an audience that is looking up to you with a mixture of fear and anticipation.

There were two exams, objective and subjective. The objective paper was for one hour, one guy was anxiously asking about the time, another came late, another wanted water. That was one serious drawback, no water was there. We tried getting some but to no avail. We were walking back and forth with so much enthusiasm

As I walked, I made such interesting observations. Some students were trained to solve aptitude questions faster, I saw remnants of my CAT coaching shine on some rough sheets, some students were just genius solving unconventionally. I took care not to stand at any place and obviously look into any paper, just glances because all our epic fails are when an invigilator stares at you and gives you goosebumps.

And then, it started to get fun and boring when the subjective examination started. It was a two hours exam; me and my friend started solving the aptitude paper out of sheer boredom. This policing business is totally against my nature because am inherently very trusting. Still, there are many things that made my worth, apart from the incessant whispers with my friend ;) For example, the types of students:

 #1 The tension party

I've always been told I look ridiculous in exams. Pursed lips, deep frowns and scratching head would be me. There was one guy just like that. This student probably sports thick glasses and has millions of doubts on how to fill the paper, whether a calculator can be used, whether you can tick the question paper and capable of invoking sympathy in the invigilator.

#2 The cool dude

This guy had his calculator right beside him even after I said not to use it. He looked at me so quizzically daring me to ask him to keep it inside considering he's not using it. His replies consisted of grunts and basically a look that said I don't care about what you think. Left the hall early like a boss.

#3 The expressive guy

This guy was perfectly normal throughout the exam. Except when he begins to think deeply, then he'll wink at the ceiling (?!). Not look at the ceiling, scrunch up all his muscles and wink at the ceiling. Like, stop, you are freaking me out. Casually ignoring yet trying to define his weird expression.

#4 The office drone

This guy probably had a very boring job, middle aged, didn't like English and had to have every instruction translated to Hindi. Fell asleep promptly in the middle of the exam. Basically had the air of "I'm bored" stuck in an infinite loop.

#5 The pretty mistakes

This girl was completely confident, not nervous, poised and carried herself with a grace I could never attain in light years. Pretty impressed, I was wondering how she would've done the exam. And then when I collected her question paper, she had completely disregarded my instructions on not writing on the question paper and when I questioned her about it she had the audacity to look at me and say, "I'll erase the pencil marks" leaving some inked up portions that I had no clue how to report to my seniors. God willing nothing happened, why these people take such risks, I do not understand.

#6 The dumb smart guy

This fellow was looking all around the room and never at his paper. I wondered how he even managed to finish the paper. Then he will ask such small harmless questions that you cannot answer without giving away the answer. It took me full five minutes to realize the ploy, I don't know if it was intentional or not, and keep my cool and say answer the question how he feels.

#7 The confused polite

This guy is silent, polite, well-mannered and made me feel like I'm doing such a wonderful job. Until he grabbed my water bottle - being thirsty turns him from teddy bear to King Kong :P

I was involved with the corrections also. Three people from this list made it to the interviews. Comment below who you think made it ;)

Apart from that, it was wonderful. When you're invigilating, time moves very slowly contrary to how every student feels within the exam hall. Getting masala vada breaks the monotony.

Now all I can say is, learning, teaching and evaluating are all art forms in their own rights and best wishes to all of them.


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