Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Run Arounds Of Taking My First Psychology Exam Abroad

The past two and a half weeks have been a tough adjustment for me as I acclimate to college life abroad, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

I was really worried about having to absorb so much complex information about the history of the National University of Cordoba and the history of psychology in general. We had the first major exam of the term this past Wednesday and it was a rather crazy experience.
We were all supposed to take the test in a computer lab at different (scheduled) times throughout the day. Unfortunately, the students didn’t really stick to their assigned time and decided to take the test in the evening. This created a massive back up of students who needed to take the exam. The problem was that the computer lab would only remain open until 9pm.
I was suppose to go at 7pm to take the test, and like an idiot I thought I’d go 40 minutes early in case there was a line AND THERE WAS!
There must have been a thousand students waiting to take the exam. Keep in mind that there were approximately 3000 first year students registered for the psychology career program in 2014.
It was almost 9pm and I was getting frustrated. Fortunately, Zach (my ex, but forever my best friend and in my heart) stood in line with me for emotional support.

Then a professor came out and told everyone in line that the computer lab was closed and that we’d be taking a written (not computerized) form of the test in a classroom.
Before the written exam started, the professor explained that the delay was the result of a number of students who had taken photo shots of their computer screen during the exam and then posted it online on one of the facebook group sites for the career program. Apparently, the professors got word of this around 2pm in the afternoon and shut down the computer lab for about an hour and a half in order to alter the questions so the students that hadn’t taken the test couldn’t cheat.

Anyway, with that situation explained, we started taking the test in a non-climate controlled classroom with hundreds upon hundreds of noisy students. It was chaos, but despite the stress, I think I retained a reasonable amount of information from my study sessions as I understood most of the test questions. I was done within twenty minutes.
Then just as I was about to leave, the lights started flickering, which left several of my classmates taking the test in two separate classrooms, without power.
Obviously, the students were pissed and I hope that this forces the university to rethink its strategy when conducting these exams next time.
Okay so now for the results. Well … not quite. You see, those who took the computerized test received their grade immediately. Those who did the written version of the test had to wait a few days.

The grading system is different in Argentina than in the U.S.
In the U.S. you are generally graded with an:

·         A – Excellent
·         B – Good
·         C – Satisfactory
·         D – Unsatisfactory
·         F – Failed
In Argentina however, the grading scale uses numbers from 1 through 10. In order to remain in the career program, you must get a minimum of a 4. In order to promote to the next term, you have to get at least a 7.

When I got home on Wednesday after the test, Zach and I bought ourselves a pizza, some ice cream, some cider (it’s like champagne but cheaper), and some Coke (the soft drink, not the drug), and we celebrated the fact that I got through the stress of the exam. It turns out that celebration was justified.
I was expecting to get my results on Monday, but when I went to class on Friday I was given the surprise of my life and told that the results were available then and there.

It turns out that I got a 4, which I admit is not bad considering all the years I’ve been out of college and that this is really my first time applying myself in a school that uses a language that I’m not accustomed to using in an academic setting.
So I passed the first test with a 4 but I didn’t promote with a 7. So what happens next? Well, in order to pass the term, I need to take a make-up exam for the first test, and also promote  with a 7 on the second exam, which is coming up in about 2 and a half weeks. It’s important that I get the score of 7 on each in order to begin the next semester. Otherwise I’ll have to continue taking an exam that encompasses the material covered in the first and second exams throughout the year until I get the desired test score. This could potentially set me back a year so I know I’ll have to study harder in order to pass.

No comments:

Post a Comment