my SECOND written test (part 1)

Its definitely less intimidating compared to the last time.

“You will need all the time to complete this paper! The best students in the last semester wrote from the start till the end so you better come on time!”

And they did come on time. Close to all of them did at least.

I’ve also instructed them to leave their matriculation card on their desk so that I do not need to ask them for their signatures just to take attendance in the midst of this important test.

And so they brought.

Lucky for them, they were assigned a seminar room to complete the test, with plenty of windows and plenty of light.

A conducive environment is always important when taking a test.


I’ve done all the preparation I could to help them pass the test:

  • A study guide was given to them this time.
  • A portion of the paper was really regurgitation of facts, if they can figured out what to regurgitate of course.
  • The marking scheme were adjusted such that students who are able to answer the questions just using fundamentals are better rewarded this time round. The stunts they have to do with their brains are more like bonus points which they could earn.

It is supposed to be a more motivating paper than the previous.


1.5 hours passes not too quickly but not too edgy either. Majority of the students sort of stayed around to discuss the paper with me after the test.

“How was the paper?” I was eagerly interested to know what their thoughts are.

There were many but three comments lingered in my head:

“It was ok…, but it was definitely not easy,” said a student whom I expected an ‘A’ from.

“It was difficult. You really got to understand,” quipped the student whom I expected to score one of the best.

“I have never done a paper where I do not know whether I am correct or not!” exclaimed a student whom is one of the most hardworking of the lot, whom I expected to get between a ‘B+’ and ‘A’ from.


Huh? And I thought this paper was so much simpler! I got to do lots of shitty moderation the last time round. Doesn’t sound like there is any difference in the comments I’ve heard last year.

And of course, I was terribly curious to know how well they have done too. I spent the entire weekend marking all the 41 scripts.

The problem with marking is the mundane nature of it and I tend to lose concentration doing mundane tasks really easily. However, in marking, you cannot deviate the expectations you give to each script deviate too much from one script to another so you really got to push through the marking as quickly as possible, question by question so that fairness can be better maintained.

After marking for about 15 to 20 minutes. I’ll put myself through one to two chapters of Naruto before mugging at the scripts again.

There are some more details which I really like to share but I can only talk more after the marks are officially given to the students and after the appeal period. For now, all I can share for now is that I got a beautiful bell curve after summing up all the marks. Bell curve is often unheard of in a programming module but I got one.

To be continued…


my FIRST written test

This is my first time I am setting a written test. It is a 1.5 hours common test. My school calls it a common test, I call it an examination. Whatever the name, it’s a written test.

Many students came in late for this test (as usual). Little did they know that this test was designed to be long, with only the best students who came on time, be able to finish just in time. So they will be paying back by being late.

This test was also not the “conventional” by polytechnic (equivalent to community college in the States) standards. It really tested their understanding and application to the core. I tried not to make them regurgitate too many facts, except for one question, meant to be a question for them to score.


I must admit, I faced a vulnerability issue while waiting for them, who were about 20 minutes late. I became very self-aware and not confident of myself…

“Did they give up?”

“Did they decided to boycott my common test?”

My face puts on a mask of arrogance and defiance while staring at the many empty seats in the examination hall.

Of course, I was wrong and all of them did turn up, and most of them put up a good fight. It was them and the pen against the paper.

“You got to write something at least…”. That was my advice to them during the last lecture two weeks ago. And they did try their best.

Last 20 minutes, My best students are struggling to finish the test. They know their stuff and they have been writing non-stop. The rest? They too have not given up. They take more time to think but they are writing, correct answers or wrong answers they do not know but they tried their best.

Deep in my heart, I was cheering for them.

“Fight on, fight on, you can do it.”

In fact, it probably showed up all over the face at that time.


7 out of 40 students left early. Those were probably the ones whom gave up. The rest stayed on till the end. And of course, there were a few of my students who stayed even later to chat with me:

“Be lenient in your marking, please?”

Putting their tension aside, they left to enjoy the extra long weekend and holidays!

As for me, my work does not end here. I’ll have to mark this stack of paper: