As I’ve recently finished exams which means that I’m done my studying portion in Australia (so sad!) but it means I have one more week (8 days) to enjoy in Sydney!
Every school and every country undoubtedly conducts their exams differently but there are a couple aspects of the way Australia/Melbourne conducts theirs that confuse me.
Similarily to UBC, all students get their exam timetable online on their “portal” but unlike UBC, you get a specific ‘seat number’ that you have to remember and sit there and ONLY there for the exam. This can get a little confusing especially if you have more than one exam in a day and that means more than one seat number to remember. These numbers are posted alongside your student number on the doors of the examination hall so that you can double check when you get there. Of course I’d check for all my exams just to make sure I was sitting in the correct spot and writing the correct exam. For one of my exams my seat number got changed… now I would think that the uni would avoid doing this at ALL costs because it would cause MASS confusion… but apparently not!
Secondly and MOST confusingly, there is such a thing called ‘reading time’ before many exams. This time, usually 15 to 30 mins means that you are allowed to look through and read the exam but you aren’t allowed to pick up your pens/pencils and mark anything on the exam. Right this is pretty self explanatory, but I personally find it pointless because by the time I read through the questions in my ‘reading time’ and think about them and then when reading time is done I go back to the first question and have already forgotten what it said so I have to read it again. Same goes for the rest of the questions. Also reading time is not mandatory, so if you want to take advantage of it, you have to add however much reading time you have ONTO the start of your exam. IE: If your exam starts at 2:15pm but you have 15 mins reading time that means you go there for 2:00pm to get your 15 mins reading time before your exam begins.
For one of my exams (the same one that changed the seat numbers) I had to write on 7 out of 12 short answer questions and 1 out of 3 long answer questions. The question sheet was one page long stating all 15 questions and we had 15 mins reading time. I don’t know how’d you go, but it took me 2 mins to read through all the options and decide which ones I was going to write on. That left me with 13 mins to stare at the ceiling… which is exactly what I did. I took a quick look around and realized that no one really using their reading time they were all doing the same as me.
I understand that the theory behind reading time probably makes sense where profs want students to read through the entire exam so that there are no suprises or no “I didn’t see that question” excuses. But really… if you didn’t see the last question because you forgot to flip to the last page it’s your own damn fault, don’t make us all suffer through 15 mins of reading time.
Otherwise exams are exams and they are pretty similar everywhere so I have nothing more to say! Good luck to those still doing them! J
P.S When flying domestically in Australia you are only allowed to check in one bag, but I have two since that’s what I am allowed from Vancouver. From Syd to Mel the first time around I got this really nice guy who didn’t charge me excess baggage and just let me go (saving me about $250!!) so naturally on the way back to Syd I was hoping for the same but had a bad feeling that it would not be. Got to the front of the check-in line and the lady told me I owed excess baggage fee of $315!!!! I asked and pleaded if there was any way out of it, but to no avail, so I resorted to opening my suitcase and taking out whatever heavy items I could to carry on. I ended up bringing it down to $210. I guess that’s what I get for getting out of it the first time! Ah well. My flight from Mel to Syd including one checked bag up to 23kgs was about $80, which means that I could technically have flown to Sydney with one bag, come back (about $50), picked up my second bag and then purchased another $80 ticket to Syd. The total of that would be about $130. Ah what can you do though!? Life goes on!