Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nightmare Test

I wrote my midterm yesterday.


After seeing that beast, I'm about ready to withdraw from the course. It was, if anything, worse than I imagined it would be, and what I was imagining was pretty bad. For the first time in my life I was faced with an exam in which I didn't even recognize the questions. I don't know what the hell they were asking of me.

This was not due to a lack of preparation on my part. I have never studied so hard or so thoroughly in my life. I'm interested in the material. I want to do well. I've invested. And it's still quite possible that I'll fail that test.

Interesting. Not a good feeling, but a learning experience in itself. I get to watch my reactions, and watch my self-worth plunging around like a wild horse. I get to have long, serious talks with myself about what it means to learn, and how that isn't the same thing as doing well on an exam, and to be on the other side of the coin. Usually I have to deal with it from the sense of having done well but not seeing the value in that either. Now I'm experiencing what it's like to feel incompetent in spite of my best efforts.


And I'm really confused, too. I honestly don't know how I could have prepared any better than I did. On the 6-page assignment I got back a few weeks ago I was given full marks, so I assumed that was the level of comprehension they were looking for, and thus that I was ready to take this exam. Apparently not.

I'll probably find out next week sometime whether I passed. It was all multiple choice, so if I did pass, it's because I'm a good guesser. And from there? We'll see...


I just spoke to my friend, who has a master's degree in psychology, and is taking a distance neurophysiology course through the same university I am. She's rarely had anything below a 90%, and she says the way they're testing is absurd compared to how the other universities she's attended conduct their exams. At this point, she's hoping for a 50%, and she'll never take another course with them.

She also told me that in another course she took once, statistics, the prof was so poor that everyone in the class failed, and he somehow "curved" the marks so that everyone "passed", and her 34% became a 93%. What on earth is that?! She's speculating that perhaps they do the same thing with this science department.

I'm feeling a little better about it all now. This is my first university course, and I was beginning to think that perhaps I just wasn't cut out for this level of study. Hopefully I manage to pull off a pass, and then I won't be taking another course with them either. Eesh.


Woman Laughing said...

I'm glad to see you're blogging again :) ... I missed you.
I know about exams and I have to say I've never really liked them for reasons like this. They are such a poor judgment of knowledge ... in my opinion, anyway. That said, I still hope you do well in the class!

Shadowmoss said...

When I was studying for my Micro$oft certifications there were a couple of the tests that I just finally had to go take and see what they wanted, fail that first time and then re-arrange my study to the areas they tested. So much is subjective, how questions are worded, etc. Another possible thought is that it might be in the University's interest to make students think they don't know the material and need even more classes to 'catch up'. Just thinking from a social engineering point of view. Would the University make more money if the students in this class don't exactly do well?

Madcap said...

Hi Juliana - good to see you. You left me hanging with the story you were telling when you took a break - are you going to finish that?

Shadowmoss - that's a good thought. I don't know what kind of watchdogs they're under. I would assume that if a majority of students flunked that there would be some kind of investigation, but I'm not sure. The effect that it's having on THIS student is to send me running. I can't imagine taking another course with them ever again. At least not in the sciences. Maybe English wouldn't be such a horror.

e4 said...

The reason the test was so hard was because you blogged about Tarot cards. No other explanation.

Madcap said...

Geez Louise! It never dawned on me! I damned my ownself!