June 25, 2013

Exams in USM

Here’s another new experience at USM: examinations! At our home university, usually I just need to enroll, check for the exam dates and venue, attend the exam, write my name, and do the exam. It’s quite the same process at USM, only it’s a bit trickier than that.

First, about the exam schedules. There could be three exam schedules. The first draft usually goes out at 8th week of the lecture. There might be some changes to the draft if, for some reason, a student’s exams are on the same time. The second timetable usually the timetable they use for the exams, and it goes out at 12th week of the lecture. If there’s any other changes whatsoever, the third timetable goes out, but it rarely happens I guess.
Second, the examination slips. Before entering the venue, the students have to print their exam slip. It’s available online, so they can just print it by themselves. The exam slip is the identity card, and with no exam slips, they have to convince the invigilators of their identity. Bringing other ID cards such as the student card or your passport (for the international students) is a way to convince them that you belong to that exam.
This exam slip is tricky, but it’s necessary to prevent any kinds of cheating, such as sitting in your friend’s exam. There’s a photo of the student in the exam slip, so they can just cross-check it.
Third, attending the exam. USM got this system where they only do two exams in a day but it’s spread throughout the campus. The first exam’s in the morning (at 9 AM) and the afternoon exam is at 2 PM. That’s why the exam took longer, about three weeks. If you’re unlucky – like me – your first exam might be in the beginning, and ends on the last day of the exam. *sigh*
Fourth, writing the names. In USM, students are not required to write their names. Instead, they write their index number in words and figures (for example, One Zero Zero Zero One [10001]) on the attendance sheet and the cover of the answer booklet. This index number can be found outside the exam halls or on the exam slip.

Finally, doing the exam. I’m not sure why students need an answer booklet to answer the questions. Most of the lecturer asked for straightforward answers, yet there are about 10 pages of paper in the answer booklet. What about the excess papers? I’m still wondering.

About the difficulty of the exam, I think it’s quite relative. Lucky me, I guess, I’m used to getting harder questions from my home university. This definitely showed in my results as well if you know what I mean.

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