EXAMINATIONS by Aiyedun babatunde


Examinations are basically all about lecturers dishing out questions and students providing “suitable” answers to them. Here is a quick analysis: in most universities, there are just two important periods I call “moments of truth (MOT)” concerning academics viz. CATs (Continuous Assessment Tests) and examination. On average, a typical CAT session takes about an hour per course while exams take an average of about 2 hours per course. This means that an entire 3-month long academic semester is judged based on performance on exercises which lasts about 3 or 4 hours altogether. If an average student offered 10 courses in a semester, the total MOT time will add up to about 30 (or 40) hours. Rounding that figure off to the nearest day, let’s say there are about merely two days altogether designated as the most-prized, invaluable moment for each semester.
Allow me to derail a bit. See, life would be much easier if we wrote down our plans, what we desire, out on a piece of paper then critically analyse the details to fathom a solution(s) of best-fit. As a big follower of football, I’d like to take a Champions League (UCL) final match as a case study. Normal playing time takes 90 minutes. The events that occur over this interval whether natural, supernatural, biological, psychological, physiological, political (you name it!) are crucial but ultimately not the most important. What counts the most is that one team will emerge victorious thereby, having their name imprinted on the big, bold face of history. I remember the 2013/14 UCL Grande Finale between two Madrid city rivals, when captain Sergio Ramos leapt highest to meet a corner kick set-piece with his head decisively—a brilliant moment that would dramatically write a new story in UCL history, cause a positive turning point for Real Madrid as they clinch their coveted 10th title (La Decima), and simultaneously put a huge dent in their equally brilliant rival’s title hopes. You will easily agree with  me that the club leader did put his head to good use (something Yoruba’s call “olori-ire”). I mean he spotted a golden opportunity and made impeccable use of it when it mattered most in an incisive, brief “moment of truth.” We, too, can exhibit this inspiration in our own lives (and our academics) as well. The importance of doing the right thing at the right time cannot be overemphasized.
My momma used to tell us: “what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” As a student you should realise that gaining admission to study is worth your while. As a student you are meant to be smart, curious, diligent and persistent, because these qualities will contribute greatly to your success. You barely need to study hard instead work hard at studying smart! Tough times don’t last but tough people do! Quitters never win just as winners never quit! (can’t recall the origin of these quotes but they ring ‘true’) You need to put on the whole armory of academic success: friends of like-mind who support you both in good and bad times, confidence to stand out in class asking questions and/or actively participating in class [activities], seeking understanding of whatever is being taught and most importantly believe in Divine to bless your [just] hustle. These armories mentioned have depths in meaning however, I still want to shed more light on “moment of truth.”
For CATs and exams you have to prepare yourself mentally for these moments; eat well, get good sleep, prepare your writing materials ready before the big day, get to the test hall in time, be calm and collected. When seated in the test hall tell yourself “This is just a test and not the end of the world. [your name] you will pass this course no matter what. [your name] you are the best in the class, [your name] you are ultimately the world’s best!” These words really does psyche you prepared for the moment you are about to witness. Now, during the test breathe in and out sufficiently, because this makes enough oxygenated blood get to your brain—a process much-needed by your brain that now processes more information than usual. Read instructions carefully before anything else! Look through the questions then attempt the ones you can do best and fastest first. Endeavor to present answers as orderly and neatly as possible.
Peradventure, you are not conversant with most questions on your question paper, do not panic neither should you cheat, attempt the few you know beautifully. Give your lecturer a run for his/her money. Provide the best answer in all class to the ones you know. A note of warning: Remember “you lose a 100 percent of the chances you refuse to take,” I mean if there is still time left and you have attempted the questions you know, try your hands on the questions that prove a tough nut to crack. You never know, you could be right, perhaps you highlight something the lecturer mentioned in class on the subject and on the long run ‘grace’ covers you. Why not? It happens. Lastly, examination rules must be adhered to because, come to think of it—for instance, writing a test without signing the attendance form automatically annuls all efforts put into passing that particular test.
Plan towards MOT. May God help you.
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