By Fahaad Humayun
Pakistan Navy Engineering College (PNEC – NUST)
Image source: www.vustudents.ning.com
It’s not a topic alien to us. Or dilemma we haven’t ever faced. It’s not a mystery we haven’t solved once in our lives. After all, exams is what we prepare for the whole year or semester. Still when they are near, when the date sheet is announced, classes terminate and teachers declare our syllabus finished, a chill runs down our spines. Minds freeze and hearts stop. It happens to best of us. And those few lucky ones who don’t get shivers due to exams, feel the heat after they are over.
So what’s the psyche about? Why do these demons give us such a scare? Why after studying or trying to study the whole term, we end up terminating all our activities one week or two before exams, get locked up in our room and start bonding with books? The most boring and silliest of the topics are read by us eagerly, long forgotten notes are piled up, rusty books are cleaned and opened, teachers and nerds are contacted and given a warm welcome. Moms are told to make coffee after coffee and books after books are digested. All the unwanted and loathsome formulae and derivations and dialogues and names and numerical are studied and solved and memorized. Stationary shops get the rare visit by us; instead of buying a DVD, we end up spending our pocket money on markers and ballpoints etc. Last week passes like a second and it’s the evening before the final paper.
We haven’t managed to cover the whole syllabus, we still have to finalize our preparations for the first paper, get our pencil boxes in order and pens rolling. Last night is spent doing final revisions or in few cases like mine, starting the first chapter. Long night ends with we sitting in the examination hall, clock ticking and paper about to start. Final glances with friends tell us they had the same night. Feeling a little relaxed and brave we embark on our journey to solve the most difficult task faced in the term. The final paper. If the paper in question is easy and the questions asked are from the topics covered by us, then the journey is a pleasant one and time passes quickly till the invigilator asks us to hand over the answer sheet. However more often, as in my case, the question paper turns out to be an alien attack. Can’t even understand the questions, let alone solve them. The 3 hours we have to sit in hall pass like 3 years. After reading the paper more than ten times and still not finding one question which we can answer with the limited knowledge gained in last night stand, we turn to our friends for help. A quick glance at the invigilator tells us he’s probably explaining a minute detail of some question to an unforgiving nerd and we have the chance to ask our friends to help us in this hour of need. As expected they tell us the solution as if they invented or discovered it in the first place. With such confidence they influence us that this is the key to our question. However just going through it or writing down the answer told by friend reminds us that it’s the same answer we thought it was but it isn’t. The question is not one which we can solve and thus we resign from writing what we know.
I have always been unlucky in this regard that no matter how much I prepare, the questions precisely come from the topics that I had skipped considering them unimportant and irrelevant. Teachers always manage to fool me and thus I can think of nothing better than to write what little I know about the subject.
The exam week thus passes in a similar fashion: some of us are lucky enough to ace it and the others declare the week as the worst ever. A couple of weeks later, result is announced but we know the result in our heart already when we leave the exam hall on that fateful day. Just the thin hopes of a miracle happening by the prayers of our parents keep us alive before the result. Result is always just and sweet for most and bitter for some. We always make promises to ourselves to study right from the day one of the next term, but it never happens. It always comes down to these last few days of the term.
In short this is the story of our lives. These four years and we have to go through these tense times twice each year. It’s that time of the year again and I wish all of the needy ones luck and best wishes. May our exams pass safely, swiftly and quickly. Good luck! :)