Archives for posts with tag: exam

English literature was one of my majors, and everyone in my personal life knows what a battle that has been for me. Not so much because of the course work but because of the department. I enrolled for a proper English studies degree. But at the end of my second year I felt I had worked too hard at and enjoyed my other subjects (Visual Communication and Philosophy) too much to drop them with only a year to go. The English department did not agree with this and would not let me register for those subjects! The course coördinator believed that english students should focus only on the set work in their final year. How boring!

I ended up having to change my degree to BA own choice (doesn’t that sound nice) in my final year just to be able to finish all my subjects. That’s why I have three majors 🙂 and although it took me four years instead of three I’m really proud of myself for seeing it through. What I learned in Philosophy alone that year has proven invaluable! A good friend of mine once said that it’s good karma to finish what you started.

Since that day the department and I have not see eye to eye – we took every opportunity to prove the other wrong. It got so bad there was a time that I refused to go to class, set on proving that I could do it all on my own. I conceded that point quick enough though…

Last year, November, I wrote my final english final and I was stressed, I could not fail! It would have been a personal failure as well as an academic one. As I sat waiting for the exam to begin I envisioned obscure extracts and pages of dense poetry…but instead I saw question 1 was this poem by Emily Dickinson:

445 (613)

They shut me up in Prose-
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet-
Because they like me “still”-

Still! Could themselves have peeped-
And seen my Brain – go round-
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound-

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Look down upon Captivity-
And laugh – No more have I-

How appropriate! Needless to say I passed.

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I love my students, and more so for their mistakes! And this one I particularly like. I am currently grading first year final exams, and the subject is Philosophy of Science.

One of the questions they could choose to answer was:

“Do you think there is an inevitable conflict between faith and science? Discuss critically with reference to the theory of evolution.”

Considering the cultural background of most of our students (the breeding ground for prejudice and fundamentalisms – remote and culturally isolated small towns) this question is a friggin nightmare to grade.

And then Mr. Hildebrandt made the mistake of writing “Revolution Theory” instead of Evolution Theory in his introduction.

I wish I made mistakes like that…


While grading the first year papers I came across the strangest student mistake. I’ve posted about other silly student mistakes but surely this one takes the prize! On a question about the meaning of life this student wrote:

“Man could be… seen as the evolving, an image ‘Darwin’,, but evolving psychically a precursor to the charting.”

I have no idea what it means… do you?

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