Pheew…. My week of hell is over! Monday I had an exam in Community, Ecosystem and Macro-Ecology, Wednesday was Behavioural Ecology and Friday was Aquatic Ecology. The first one went depressingly bad, the second one I think was doable, and the third one was a joy! For that one I managed to include references from extra reading, lots of graphs and nearly filled my booklet out with pages! I am so relieved that the main bulk of them are over, cause I still passionately hate them. The setup is pretty intimidating too! They are all mostly taken in what is known as the congregation halll, a massive room filled with back to back rows of desks, room for several classes of different degrees to take their exams at the same time. We seem to be often bunched up a lot with the economics classes or history. Yesterday one of the classes had an exam in “witchcraft of the medieval times ” and one of my friends in ecology shouted out that they were doing the wrong degree and that they wanted to do that one which sounded like something out of hogwarts and become a wizard! Haha!
The whole process starts outside the hall were a person in charge shouts out a speech I could resite perfectly by now (heard it so many times); which section of seats are for which exams and that you are dead meat if you attempt to cheat. Then we head down to the hall, and find a seat, leaving everything else behind apart from some pens, campus card and water. You walk down the isles, already heart racing and find yourself a seat, and start to fill out the general administrative stuff on the front of booklets and papers; names, student no., schools, name of class etc. Then you wait in silence again, as speaking is forbidden inside the hall. The person in charge reads out yet another intimidating speech about what times you can and cannot go to the bathroom, that cheating has serious consequences, and foreigners are allowed a dictionary ( if English isn’t your first languag). Then we wait until the clock strikes quarter past and we are allowed to open our exam papers and read the questions. Adrenaline pumping you quickly establish what needs to be done and how to distribute your time, and then start writing until your hand is numb and your two hours are up.
They shout out to stop writing, and people come down the isles collecting the papers. I usually during this stage take the time to breath, and read peoples messages on the desk. “I hate maths” seems to come up a lot, haha! Some of the messages however are very touching, I read one on Wednesday who said that he/she had just finished their last exam of their degree and that they were so happy and that they had loved every moment of studying at uea and thanked everyone who made their experience so great! I sat there and thought about the exhilarating feeling they must have felt handing in their last ever exam and finishing uni and feeling a sigh of relief relie! I wonder how old that message was, and what they are up to now! 🙂 You then all head outside and embrace the communal relief of other students that at least we are all one less exam away from finished. “How did it go” and “what questions did you pick” echo through the crowds, before it diminshes as people leave for home or pub. All in all the whole process is scary, but by gawd you get the impression that it is a well oiled machine and that UEA have got it down to a fine art. UEA have over 13 000 students, and every single one of them need to take exams, and there are so many classes across so many degrees that the mind boggles at the thought of how UEA does it!