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Close Encounters of the C.A 2th kind May 11, 2007

Posted by Ragesh G R in Unleashed.
Tags: , ,

6th sem: 31 May 2006: I got up to a new day, the day of the Engineering Economics and Financial Accounting (EEFA) exam. It was a very easy paper and one day was more than enough to prepare it well. So reached the college at 9:35 a.m, leisurely by car, with my dad, and went and sat in my usual place on a bench beside where my closest friend, Kalpaka was sitting, outside the exam hall. The exam was at 10 a.m.

Usually, she sits in the left end of the bench with her bag to her right, and I go and sit in the right end of the bench with my bag to my left. And we will be revising silently, not disturbing each other or discussing etc.

This day however, she was sitting in the middle ( to my luck actually) , and I went and sat beside her. Unlike usual days, I don’t know why but I just peered into the notebook that she was reading, and I saw an acronym. I found that strange and new, hence, out of curiosity, I asked what the expansion of that acronym was. She said something that ended with the term “Processor” (!!). I was like , what?? where the hell does Processor come in EEFA??. Still not exactly getting what the situation is I asked her jokingly, “Hey innakku EEFA exam thane? (Hey today is EEFA exam only right?)”, to confirm that its actually EEFA.

All I expected was a simple “ya of course”, but the reply I got was, “Innakku CA (Computer Architecture 2) da, enna da joke adikkariya, bayam puduthada (Today is CA, what are you joking? don’t scare me)”!!!!.

Oh man shit! Was she joking or serious? Who was joking?. The fact is she really thought I was joking. Just then I started getting what it all meant, I looked around. She had the Computer Architecture text book Hennessey & Patterson by her side. Yes, the worst possible thing had happened!! I had studied for the wrong exam!!. I mean I had only heard stories of students coming prepared for the wrong exam, but I could n’t believe it happened to me.

Suddenly, everything went blank! I could hardly hear any sound, all the people who were discussing and yelling seemed mute to me. It was like in a dream, where everything is dark and kind of intangible, an out of body kind of experience. I was not actually panicking, but my hormones, esp adrenalin started to richochet in a frenzie. It took a minute to sink in. I waited for my dad to leave, he said good luck and left. I didnt want to sadden him by saying the news and making him worried, and get myself worried in the process etc.

After he left, I slowly turned to Kalpaka and said “Hey naa innakku EEFA kku padichittu vandirukken ( Hey I have come prepared for EEFA today)”, in a non-chalant tone with an expressionless face. I was still dumb struck!. I was still numb.

On hearing this, “She was actually more taken aback than me”. She could not believe it for a second and then gave a genuine terrified, surprised expression which told the whole story. I got the exact gravity of the situation only from her face, at that time. She was like “Hey! what are u saying? how come?” She could not believe it. Now it was 9:45 a.m.

Suddenly her mood changed. She left what she was reading, and asked me what units I know. I said I know the 1st and 2nd units well, having listened to the classes, and having studied for Unit Tests. 3rd unit also I knew to some extent. So then she started frantically teaching me topics I did n’t know from 3rd unit and 4th and 5th unit. Luckily some topics in 4th unit had been taught in 4th sem in CA 1. I tried to grasp whatever she was trying to teach, but I was n’t able to listen that much. Though I gathered some vital info on some topics. Thanks to her. But my mind was wandering..

I was telling myself, “Don’t panic, be cool, that’s the key. If u start to panic, then that’s it!, you will lose it, u cant control the degree of panic. So don’t even think abt getting tensed or the consequences!. Just go and write the exam in cool manner. Think this is just a Unit Test. You like the subject very well. You have topped Unit Tests etc. You know the subject well enough to pass, but your emotions, your composure is the key. Just look at the questions, don’t think about this exam etc”..

With this resolution, I relaxed myself and went into the exam hall, with nothing to lose and no expectations… The 2 marks were easy. The 11th question was from 1st Unit, which had performance measures, problems etc all mathematics, so my favourite, wrote that well. Some parts of 12th and 13th questions were about RISC processors. Having studied that in System Software, Microprocessors and CA 1, wrote those pats somewhat decently. 14th question was little unknown for me, but from what she taught me I could manage somewhat. Another small question, I remembered having learnt that in class. Somehow I finished the paper, with having written partial answers for few questions and having left out two 8 mark questions. I was banking on the 11th question to save me.

I came out of the exam hall confident that I will pass, my evaluations told me I will get around 50-55 % in external ( so, 40-44 out of 80 + 20 internal = 60 – 64 % total). 45% was the pass mark. But u never know, this could be one of those things. There was n’t much room for comfort. Many thoughts started perturbing me. My placements were in a month and should the unthinkable happen, I could even end up not placed. Having got a clean record and 84% aggregate, what an embarassment it would be. Everyday I was torn apart between the confidence that I have done well enough to pass, and the fear of failure. The night after the exam, I told my dad quietly, “Don’t get tensed but I had studied for the wrong exam, but don’t worry I have done it ok enough to be safe”. He too was flabbergasted, but he too was cool, and I assured him nothing wrong will happen.

The comedy is that on the day of the previous exam, on May 29th, my friend Prem Anand called me up to mark topics in the CA text book. Even then it didnt strike me that the next exam is CA. I thought he will study CA on 29th, and EEFA on 30th as it is very easy. And generally people will message me about something like some doubt in a topic, or how hard it is to study , how boring etc, This time however nothing like that happened. None messaged me and I didnt message anyone. And even worst, my friend Srikanth K had called me on landline to ask some doubt in CA 2, the day before the exam, but my dad had picked up the phone, because I had gone to bathe, so he cleared his doubt from another friend.. May be it was meant to happen.

But I owe much of what I could accomplish that day, to Kalpaka. She just had a calming influence on me, to know that someone is there who genuinely sees the difficulty you are in, and tries to help you out. I thought, “Atleast for the sake of such a friend, as a tribute to her friendship, atleast for the mental tension I gave her and atleast for the time she spent for me, I should do well in the exam”.. In fact she told me after the exam that, she herself got tensed about my situation, and she was thinking how I will be writing the exam.. Trully unforgettable.

The next important reason is that CA was one of my favourite papers, especially the numerical problems, and I found the subject very easy and interesting.. In fact the reason why I thought the exam was EEFA was because, somehow it got into my head that the exam order is in the reverse order of my liking them. So since I like CA more than EEFA, I thought EEFA is before CA. (My friends either ROFL or hit me when I say this crazy reason.. LOL)

The D-Day. The day of the results! By this time many of my friends came to know about my tragedy(?) and had consoled and encouraged me. The site did not open due to traffic. My friend Abitha called me up and told results have come, and that the site is opening for her but when she tried my number, the site didnt open again. So again tried at my computer, and it opened. Prepared for the worst and hoping for the best, I looked at the screen and searched for CS340 (CA 2), and Voila! I had passed!! , I had scores 20/20 in Internals plus 39/80 (36 being the pass mark) in external for a total of 59 ( 😦 ). phew! what a sigh of relief. The letter “P” on the extreme right made me happier than any 100’s and 90’s I got.

Fine! Now, nothing unthinkable happened, but wait a minute! 39/80? that would mean a mere 49% in external. I knew I didn’t do that bad. and I can’t digest have a mark in the 50’s, in a subject in which I should have scored 90% (Though it’s my fault that I prepared for the wrong exam).

I had n’t got the marks I expected in few other subjects as well. So as usual I applied for revaluation in 4 subjects to get back my peace of mind, and prestige. Reval results arrived, I was so happy, I got 29 marks extra in reval, including +3 in CA 2, which made it now 42/80. Hence 20 + 42 = 62%. Hmmm not bad for studying for an exam in 15 minutes I thought… This incident has turned out to be one of the most happy , sad, proud and embarassing moments for me, but one thing, it’s unforgettable..

All I can say is, necessity is the mother of invention, when u are faced with a crisis, one will automatically get the courage and strength and the solution to it, both from within and from external sources, where there is a will there is a way, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Sorry for being so pleonastic, but wanted to share this experience.. I dedicate this post to Kalpaka and all others who stood by me.. and Revs who urged me to write a post. Love you guys! 🙂

PS: After this exam , the next exam was in fact EEFA on June 2 , so Ragesh G R hardly had to study, in fact he was watching Morning Raga on STAR Movies and messaging everyone to watch it, at 8:00 pm on June 1. LoL:)


Comedy questions! December 4, 2006

Posted by Ragesh G R in Unleashed.
Tags: , , , , ,

Now, I have seen lots of things that have irritated and infuriated me. But, topping the list are some comedy questions that I have encountered during exams, throughout the 16 years that I have been a student, questions which as I see, have no point. Mostly, they give me a laugh.

Some of my favourites(??!!) are:

1. In Std 10th C.B.S.E Board Examination, the very 1st question in Science was something like “How many hours does a radio have to run to consume 1KWh of energy?”. Oh, for crying out loud! what does that mean?, I mean without specifying the power rating, how can I answer that? There are radios of different power ratings. The comedy here is that there was a line in the text that said, “A radio will take about 8 hours to consume 1KWh of energy.” Now, that was a casual statement assuming the radio to have a power rating of 125W. It is like asking, “What is 4+ ?” Oh, it was eneasy to receive that question first up, kind of like a bad omen, but I scored 97% in Science, and so no more omens.

2. Questions that ask us to draw the “architecture” of something. Now, what does that mean? I am an avid artist(painter) but come on, drawing boxes and drawing lines between them. What do we learn from those diagrams? Now, as I have seen, most of them are too complicated to comprehend or too clumsy to give you any idea. More often than not, they don’t make us understand how a system works. It is just a way of mockery of both artists and logical thinking ablility of the students.

3. This is the best! “Frame/Header Formats”. Come on, give me a break!. What do I learn by learning the frame formats by heart and reproducing in the exams. They may be just read through, but expecting us to memorise it. draw boxes that look like trains, split them into boogies, etc .lol. Because it is a specification, and it will be available in any hand book. Everytime I see one of these “frame format” thingies, I go like, “Oh no, not again!”, another 10 min wasted..

4. Questions that are supoosed to be “programmatic” and I look at them with a glow in my eyes, only to find more comedy like “Write the methods of “so and so” class”. Draw the “architecture” of “so and so programming language”. Ah! what a mockery of the intelligence, analytical skills and ablility of a programmer. It is like asking Michael Schumacher to draw the layout of his car using “boxes” rather than drive it as his best to win a race.

Well, I am not undermining the importance of raw theory, but the application part should be given enough emphasis. Thankfully, today in Web Technology exam, there were some application oriented (programmatic) questions.

After all, the purpose of education is to make us think, not to recall, to innovate and not to reproduce. Only then, we will be doing what we call Learning.