Monday, November 9, 2009

Three Down (Maybe) and One to Go

I hope it's three down. I had a final today and one last Friday. The one today wasn't bad. I think it was a very fair exam. It took me about 8.5 hours to complete it.

The final on Friday was a disaster. That one has a reputation for being the most difficult final for our program. Usually the exam is held in a building up near the center of campus in a quiet classroom. This time it was held in a conference room that is close to our program study room. For those of you who know where this is, we were in the center conference room. The whole conference room area can be one big room or divided up into three rooms with dividers separating each room. I don't know what those dividers are made out of, but they are not soundproof.

So on Friday, a colleague and I had been taking the exam for about 1.5 hours when we heard preparations starting in one of the rooms for the monthly Friday morning coffee break. They had a new coffee pot and for about 20 minutes were talking loudly about their new toy. Then people starting showing up for the break and it really got noisy. My colleague and I could not work on the exam. So I went in to join the coffee break. It only lasts for about 30 minutes, so after it was over, we got back to work on the exam.

We had only 30 minutes of peace. Someone in the other conference starting setting up for a seminar. The seminar lasted from 11:00 - 12:15. Again, we had peace. It only lasted until 1:00. A lady came into our room even though there was a sign on the door that said "Exam in Progress Do Not Enter". She took chairs out of the room and into the room where the coffee break had been. That room started filling with people and it got noisy. I think they were having a combination lab party and lab meeting. Then we could hear preparations starting in the other room for something. So from 1:00 until 5:00, we had loud talking, laughter and clapping going on from both adjoining rooms.

The test was scheduled to end at 5:00, but I wasn't finished. Because of the extenuating circumstances, our proctor let us go longer. By 7:00, I was not done, but I was so done. I did not finish the herbicide calibration calculations; I forgot that photosynthesis has a Photosystem II and Photosystem I; I forgot how many feet are in 1 mile and who knows how many other things I blanked on.

The noise level had a serious impact on my ability to concentrate and to take my exit exam. I don't know what my score is yet, but I know that I did not make it to 80%. There was no way I could have. The question is, will they pass me anyway because of the extenuating circumstances or will I have to take that final again next semester. I guess I'll find out in a few days.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Your almost there! About Fri's test.... I would raise some hell! That was mindless of whoever was in charge to have you take such an important exam under chaotic circumstances.

Your Sis

Joyce said...

Hi Sis,
You're right, I have to do something. I've been trying to figure out a way to handle it tactfully and with grace. I think I'm going to ask them to either pass me or allow me to re-take the last part of the exam, the part that I could not answer because I could no longer function.

Does that seem like a fair way to handle it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce,
Yes. I think that is a very tactful and graceful way to handle the situation. And the sooner the better.

Your Sis