By Kazuya Muto
The first exam was accounting, and I went into the exam room armed only with a pencil and a calculator (that was all we were allowed to bring with us). There were more than 100 people there. Actually, there are about 900 of us studying accounting, but the others were sitting for the exam elsewhere. Some looked nervous. Others looked relaxed. No prizes for guessing which group I belonged to.
We had three hours to complete the exam. I browsed through the exam paper and noted that it was unsurprisingly very difficult. One of the toughest things in accounting is, simply put, analyzing transactions and classifying them as either debit or credit. If you do it all properly, the debit and the credit come out equal, but during the exam, each problem question stubbornly refused to resolve itself, and so I panicked.
I felt my face turning red, my ears burning, my hands beginning to sweat. The sound of others doing their calculations irritated me. In my mind I was screaming, "SOS! Someone help me! Please!" But all I heard was a cold "Please put down your pens" from the examiner. The three hours had passed in a flash.
I left, my head drooping. I was convinced it had gone disastrously. After the exam, I bumped into one of my friends. He looked disappointed too, and said, "I couldn't do it. I'm going to fail this unit." "Don't say that," I said.
I didn't really have time to dwell on the exam. I had two more to go.
Next was the politics exam. The lecturer had been kind enough to tell us the content of the exam in advance. He'd said that it would have two sections. The first section would be made up of 10 short-answer questions on important theories. Each of these questions needed an answer of about 70 words each. The second section was made up of a short essay of about 700 words.
A quick calculation found that this meant around 1,300 words in two hours. That seemed beyond me. How could I possibly write so much in such a short space of time? And not only that, the exam effectively revolved around the second section, the essay, and I'm awful at writing essays under pressure. I never know where to start, and once I start, I never know where to go.
Unfortunately this time was no exception, but I plowed in and wrote frantically, doing my best.
The last exam was my business exam. It was multiple choice. My first impression of multiple-choice exams was that they're easier than other types of exams, but with around 140 questions to solve in two hours and so about 50 seconds per question, they can be a lot tougher than they seem. On the other hand, if you don't know the answer you can guess it, although in the end the answer you pick is either right or wrong — there are no in-betweens.
I only managed to answer about 120 questions.
I've been banging on about how tough the exams have been for a while, and my confidence has been shattered by them. All I can do now, I suppose, is wait for the results.
Shukan ST: Dec. 22, 2006
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