Saturday, 18 October 2008

School and Reliance

I sent a message to one of my cousins last night, wishing her the best result for her first public exam. Which reminds me of the time when I myself sat for the UPSR.

BM was my worst - or most-feared - subject. Pemahaman (comprehension) was slightly better than Penulisan (composition). Looking back, I think it was partly due to this tinge of perfectionism within me that slowed me down so much in writing. It was more so for Malay than for English...but I'm not sure why...perhaps because we always spoke proper/grammatical English - but my school friends and I have always spoken little English to start with - and there's the spoken/written divide for Malay.

My best was definitely Math. The handful of us in the class would compete for full marks in Math, and for whatever highest score was possible for the other subjects. My "moment of glory" peaked in the final school exam just before the real-deal, publicly-set UPSR, with running marks: one hundred, two ninety-sixes, ninety-four, and ninety-two, with an average of ninety-five point six (glory to God!). And I questioned: Why didn't I get all full marks like I did back in Primary 1? And why don't my older friends and family members report of full marks in higher schooling?
To start with, I guess full marks are desirable because they indicate that we're doing/thinking about the right thing in the right way, according to accepted standards. Where exactly is that standard?

Ahah! That's where things get tricky. That's why essays tend not be graded 100%. The big word is subjectivity. And even objective questions require a greater differentiating ability, by providing options that are unbelievably similar. Heck, if I went back in time and told my 12-year-old self about my marks for last semester, he'd probably not believe that I am him.

As for me right now, I feel that I should start conditioning myself with exam questions, because the next one's coming in about 3-4 weeks, and I've set a high target. The easy ones would give me relief and confidence, while the hard ones point to me where I need to put in more work. We've got to move on to hard stuff eventually. Now I no longer have Penulisan, but I've got 3 40-minute essays for HP2! That's pretty dense stuff; absolutely no fooling around with big words without a message. But blogging's different...

And again my request to God is the same as it was ages ago: "Unto You I rely."

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