Examinations, Paper 1

Wednesday 2nd May 2012

PASS, says the Mastermind contestant, failing to answer.

FAIL, says the politician, passing the buck.

PASS, says the board, passing on the report that passes the presentation test but says nothing.

FAIL, says the examiner, failing to consider the child’s violent father, sick mother, or terrifying fear of failure.

Yes, folks, it’s the summer term: those fleeting three months each year when the hours of daylight are longer and the weather warmer… but why spend afternoons by the pool and evenings in the garden when there is so much more pleasure to be had in setting, sitting, assessing and fretting over tests of your memory, handwriting, and ability to suck up to authority?

Let’s start with Paper 1, The Rubric: from the Latin for red, as in the ink used for what was originally ‘a direction in a liturgical book as to how a church service should be conducted’: the rules of the game.

Question 1. Examination papers have set time limits. Is this because:
a) everyone’s brain works at the same pace?
b) everyone writes with the same fluency?
c) everyone’s bladder control is the same?
d) lunch is at one o’clock?
e) the Olympic Games are sponsored by Speedo?

Question 2. Most examination papers are divided into several parts. Is this because:
a) that’s what all other subjects do so we feel we should too?
b) Gaul was?
c) small rodents tend to score high marks in tests in laboratories?
d) rain forests are unnecessary?
e) the structure is based upon the roads leading in and out of motorway service stations?

Question 3. Many examination papers will allow candidates to use calculators, books of tables and instruments for measuring. Which of the following are generally not allowed, and why?
a) chewing gum?
b) phoning a friend?
c) leaning over to see what the person next to you has put?
d) dictionaries?
e) staring at the painting of a former headteacher called Smith as each of the letters of his name reminds the candidate of five causes of the Crimean War?

You have two and a half hours, starting now.






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