The Indian Institute of Technology, the dream institute of every parent, is exactly where I have managed to land myself.
Hi, I’m a B. Tech ‘freshman’ at IIT Gandhinagar. In this blog I will attempt to describe the culture of examination at the IITs. I must say that exams at IITs are fascinating (I can safely say that as the exams for freshers are scheduled in October). The mid-semester exams for everyone else began in the last week of September and I decided to conduct a little survey on what happens during exam time at the IITs.
First of all, I should clarify that the IITs follow a policy of continuous assessment (in most courses, at least) and relative grading, something we haven’t experienced at all in our school days. So the approach towards study during exams is completely different. For some, the course is reduced from what the prof has told to what everybody is doing in that course! Merits of relative grading, I guess?
Although these exams last for only a week it seems as if they last an entire season! “Exam Season” is just really a long week for everyone that is filled up with intense studies, fits of madness and occasional ‘chill’ busts when there is a rare gap between the exams. But one thing that I’ve come to realize is that these exams are nothing like what I expected them to be. They are not intense, stress filled periods of time like the board exams. They have a certain air of ease in them, maybe my seniors have just become used to giving exams like this (although that does not put my mind at ease for my coming October midterms). Here are some of the questions from my survey along with some interesting responses:
- So many exams are held in just one week, shouldn’t they be spread out over a longer duration of time?
See, if the exams take more time then we might get better marks, but more importantly our vacation time would be reduced and nobody wants that. Nobody.
- How do you prepare for your exams if you do not attend all the classes?
See, every class has its own scribes and the key to good preparation is managing to get notes well before you start to prepare. Frankly these notes are like the Namaaz for last minute ushers like me. We study them 5 times a day in the hope that they will get us through the examination.
- I have seen that many of the students hanging spots are somewhat empty. Are students so stressed out that they do not even come out of their rooms?
Our hanging out spots actually shift temporarily indoors. The only difference is that we hang out with a book in our laptops that is also glanced at (sometimes), besides the usual crazy stuff. And yes, exams are also the time when you can forge long lasting friendships when find people with similar levels of unpreparedness as yourself.
If I have learnt one thing about the Exam Season, it is this: though they seem long and are stressful (after all they are exams) they somehow also pave way for learning, stress-busters and a lot of fun in between. To tell the truth, this survey has actually got me looking forward to my own exams a little bit to experience all this!