Friday, March 10, 2006

Examining Life

let me share my article published at Heraldo Filipino (the school paper I'm a part of) last month. It was the entry for Staffers Corner. Staffers' Corner is the section where a staff is given a space on the opinion section of the paper. Every issue three staff members are assigned to write anything they feel and the Editorial Board will choose what to publish. Luckily, my piece made it. This essay is geeky actually since it talks about exams.

After weeks of partying, feasting, shopping, and other festivities in the Yuletide season, we are now back to reality: classes are back. And what a way to welcome 2006 as we faced the result of our pre-Christmas activity that is the preliminary examination.

How did you fare? Do you belong to the group of students beaming with pride at their stellar performances, the group that says “okay lang”, or the other set that wants to crumple their test papers?

Generally, it was okay for me (so I belong to the second group) except for one. I flunked one exam. It was one big shocker since I did not see it coming.

I was confident that I would get a good score since the exam is more on the subjective type. This is the type of exam I prefer and like since it does not involve memorizing many complicated terms.

My jaw literally dropped when I saw that my score was so low. I asked myself what went wrong. Did I give out shallow answers? I blamed my penmanship; it is so awful and hard to read. I checked my test paper over and over again; maybe the professor got it all wrong. But in the end, I realized that this happened because I just did not give the right answers.

Some of my friends tried to console me by telling me “it is just an exam, you could still catch up”. But that’s not the whole point! We are not aware that we are learning more than what we have to in our examinations. A piece of paper may not be the true test of over all intelligence. However, it also tests the other skills that we need to survive in this life.

In identification, we learn to name the right terms that suit the description in the question. Just like in life, we must be vigilant enough to identify the right decisions so as to avoid committing an error that will probably mess up our life. In identification there are no options for us to choose from, you have to rely on your knowledge and must trust yourself that you are giving the right answer. Decision-making is hard but if we are sure that what we on decide is for the better, then we should go for it.
In matching type, we pair terms that complement each other. We match terms from column A to terms of column B. There are many choices for us to choose from but there is only one that will exactly suit one term. We have a counterpart that will “fit” in our lives. We just have to be patient for that “someone” to come. Sometimes, the number of choices in column B is greater than in column A; their purpose is to confuse us. In our journey to find our match we will occasionally encounter “things” that could pose as “our match”. We have to be careful, since there are a lot that seems to be the right one only to find out that it isn’t.

In multiple choice, we are given an array of options for us to pick the correct one. Our life is full of choices and we are in full control of which option you think is correct. Some underestimates multiple choice, they don’t care that much to the point that they are using the “mini-mini-mayni-mo” strategy. It often results in more wrong answers than correct ones. We must take selecting what option is right seriously, each option has its own premise but only one is correct. It seems easy to do but when you are faced with beautiful options and you only have to pick one, it will be an uneasy task letting go of the other choices.

In true or false, we are tested if the statement is telling the correct information or not. Knowing what is true is like being aware of what is right and knowing what is false is like being alert enough to spot what is wrong. But there are always those tricky statements that will bamboozle your senses.

You will be confused if the statement is really true because there is a part of you that says it’s false. There will be a point in our lives when we are faced with a situation that we must decide whether to say Yes or No. We will be bewildered by that situation and you might ask, “What should I do? Should I go or walk away from it?”

That’s why we must spot if there is something incorrect in the situation. Like in modified true or false, in which we will underline the word/s that made a statement wrong. And when we are able to unravel that incorrect situation, if there is something we could do about it, we should stand up and do something. In modified true or false when you identified the wrong word/s you must change it to the correct one.

The essay type could be taken in two ways: pain, if you don’t like reasoning out and writing too many sentences or joy, if you prefer telling what’s on your mind and be heard out. The essay is the hardest to correct. Why? Unlike the other types, there is no answer key. You could not just randomly give points not until you have read and understand what the person wrote.

The essay tests our critical thinking. What do we think of a certain issue, statement or problem? It seeks the deepest corners of our brains. Even if you have a photographic memory, it does not guarantee you a perfect score in the essay. It will all depend on how you present your ideas, stand, and arguments. We face so many situations that will test how we think. If we are not a critical thinker we could be easily fooled. What if the person talking to you very enthusiastically and convincingly is lying? If you don’t analyze the content of his message you will easily believe what he is saying which could probably harm your life. We all face problems that thwart us from achieving personal goals; we need to think well on how to handle those problems for us to be able to survive. If we just sit and rant and not think of the solution, we’re doomed.

Life is like an examination; if you did not study, expect the worst; but if you prepared yourself, there will be a good outcome. But if you failed don’t give up. There will be another chance and hopefully this time, you are better prepared. However, always expect the unexpected since life, like an exam, is unpredictable sometimes.

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