Monday, June 05, 2006

Put Down Your Pen or Pencil!

Some schools or universities have a penchant for wronging people for writing a few more words after the bell in the exam. Perhaps it is the invigilators' pastime to give people a little scare, after being so bored after suffering a few hours of hushing and cramping legs. But see, do you think it is right to penalize a student, just because he or she writes an additional line after the bell?

In my university, the invigilators are not particularly strict about the put-down-the-pen thingy. What they do is, when the time is up, there will be a public announcement through the speaker, saying some indecipherable words (due to the low volume and the reverberation around Royal Exhibition Building), which I think should be "put down your pen" or something like that. However, you can always continue until the invigilator comes near you and give you some "gentle" warning. However, it's not all that sweet and fun - the last time when it was the reading time (the 15-minute no-writing time before the actual test), I got scolded rather crudely by one of the invigilators for writing my student ID on the paper. Sheesh..

However, things are not the same in different universities. Recently, Yee Pin has just shared his experience about you-should-stop-writing in Cambridge, UK:

Exam in cambridge is a different experience. the invigilators are not as strict as those in malaysia. if u continue writing after they said 'put down ur pen', they would walk slowly to u to tell u that 'u arent supposed to write anymore' instead of screaming at u 'saya kata LETAKKAN PEN PENSIL' (sounds like form 3 math teacher mak leong :P).
He also told some stories about some stricter / madder schools:
In singapore Hua Chong, they would jz put a big cross on ur paper if u continue writing. so scary.....might as well dun sit for the exam....(siao eh, sit also get 0, dun sit also get 0, might as well go back n sleep.....)
As for universities in Singapore, Winson gave his two cents as well:
Hmm, in singapore, right after the exam, the invigilator will ALWAYS read the following sentence until it sort of imbibed in me already. Here goes: "Any student found writing from now on is considered to have cheated and his or her name will be taken down for disciplinary actions which will result in his or her repulsion from the university.." Ewwhh, scary huh? And indeed, i have encountered one student being literally shouted at by a female invigilator and then stared at for a long time when then the student was found writing after the time limit. :) Well, i always wrote even after the time was up but then i guess i was a bit lucky. we will see whether " Up mountain many times will see tiger" holds true or not in my case. :)
Come to talk about the strictness in enforcing "put down your pen", I always think it's kinda harsh and ironic. If you really want to make sure everyone has the equal amount of time for their papers, you should also have allowed more time for those who had to answer the nature's call halfway through exam - or if one has a diarrhoea... I am sure everyone has the memory of having a sudden urge but were forced to battle the urge, for the fear that there would not be enough time left for the paper...

It is such an irony. If you don't take into account the few minutes lost on the journey to and from the washroom, I don't see the point of picking on a few seconds and give people a big cross for that - people don't choose to go to toilet, they are forced to. Before they give back the few minutes lost to the toilet-visitor, I seriously think that they should not fuss over the few seconds, which may only mean writing the last 2 lines.


sophisticatedsoul said...

Did you take the picture of you holding a pencil yourself? :p And I forgot to mention in my previous comment that the effect of the shaded answer sheet picture is wonderful.

day-dreamer said...

Hmm... I still remember when I was taking SPM Physics Paper 2. I didn't really have enough time to finish the last essay question. So when the head invigilators said "masa sudah cukup, berhenti menulis" I didn't care and continue writing until the invigilator reached my place. Then only I put down my pen and proceed to tie the bundle of papers on write my angka giliran on every piece of answer sheet.

Well, nothing happened to me. Nor to my Physics results. Hehe. I shall now see how it goes in Malaysian universities. :D

youngyew said...

sophisticatedsoul: Haha, no no, I got the pictures in both posts from a free stock photograph website. I can't take such professional pictures by myself lar... :D

day-dreamer: Eerm, yeah, I think most people are not as strict as the Hwa Chong laa... :D But here the invigilators are rather rude, if you were writing when the time is up, they won't fail you but they would reprimand you rather mercilessly... :P

hL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hL said...

UNSW Examinations Act 1975 is read out everytime before an examination, even in small class quizzes.

"The UNSW Examinations Act applies NOW. You MUST NOT TOUCH your paper unless told to do so. (The paper would be put faced down on the top left corner of the desk). You will be given about 5 minutes to fill in the details on your answer sheet before reading time starts. Once the reading time has commenced, you MAY ONLY be allowed to touch your examination papers and nothing else. ... stuff in between about things during exams, going to toilet, hp, wallet, drink water, tissue etc...
When the examinations has officially ended, you MUST put your answer sheets inside your examination booklets, leave it face down on the top left corner of your desk, AND NOT TOUCH it. Failure to comply with these instructions will lead to academic misconduct.... You may start reading now, and good luck"

This is a script which they take 10 mins to read evrytime. Same exact thing. AND, they do mean business. don't touch means, don't touch.

They have more ridiculous things besides putting your wallet n hp under your chair. They check every piece of eraser, rulers and pens which come into the hall. If you wear your sweater, keep it on. Or else, leave it outside the hall. But, they provide free toilet, free water, free tissue, free pencil, free calculator bcuz you cannot bring yrs in.

UNSW is da best!

hL said...

oh ya.. they enforce this thing so strictly that they have enough staff to enforce it!

they put invigilators in strategic places to keep on eye on who's "touching" their papers. the rest will be in charge of collecting the papers. So, not any one invigilator is doing two things at one time (i.e. specialisation).

And one of my coursemates was suspended for one session/semester because of just writing his name. They didn't know what he was writing but he was caught writing. But, the law says he's wrong so he's wrong. Time was given to write your name, we were asked if all has written their names before commencing reading and 10 mins before end of exam, we were reminded to check for our details.

but it's still mad.

youngyew said...

HL: Wahh... UNSW so keng one... Haha, but then it's really no point lar, even when they provide all the water, pencil and so on, they can't provide your clothing, which you can write on! Anyone can just write on the inside of their shirt, and have a quick glance in the toilet... :D Unless they have any kind of "paper detector" or "writing detector", where any paper or ink traces on your body is detected automatically before you enter the exam hall.. :D

Casper said... geng one... keke...i still don't know what the exam system over here in germany is like... there is only one exam per sem... the end-of-sem-exam... keke...