There was no other way out. It was either an average score from one of my previous examinations or an online examination. Since offline is not viable (at least during the time my institute made the decision), my institute came to the decision to conduct online examinations and they outsourced it to a Hyderabad-based IT company. It kind of sucked that the final examination of my college life ends in my home.
As it was no surprise that it sucked that it had to end this way, let me share my experience of my online proctored end semester examinations.
I required all of these before I could get started:
- an empty room at my place
- some water — ’cause #StayHydrated as the kids say
- power bank and charging cable
- all my writing gear
- my college ID
- my headset
- my mobile phone
It was funny to see that mobile phones which are banned from the exam hall are mandatory here.
Since this was all too new for everyone involved, there were not one, not two but three demo exams conducted to make sure everyone using the application should be comfortable attending/conducting the examinations. Lucky for me, there were only two primary theory papers to write.
- The first time, I wrote with my laptop — couldn’t capture my answer scripts and submit
- The second time, I wrote with my mobile phone — the screen was too small (at least compared to my laptop) and the process seemed pretty smooth overall
- The third time, I wrote with my iPad — the camera was too bad to capture my answer scripts (still, miles ahead of capturing through a laptop camera)
It sucked that we had to do repeat the demo so many times to find the right solution and to familiarize ourselves with the application but we did.
It also sucked that I had to write my exam with my mobile phone. Ugh! I hate writing with it because there are so many distractions and interruptions that I would rather take the risk and go right to my college and write the damn thing. But it was the most suitable so, here I am.
My second exam went pretty smooth since there were zero-to-no interruptions but I still had my fear —
“My answer scripts that I captured would reach the staff for grading, right?”
“Or will it disappear leaving me with a failed paper on the final semester exam of my career?”
I genuinely had this fear and my friends shared the same.
But what about the first one? It was a mobile phone after all:
- I got a marketing spam call in the middle of the exam
- My friend is texting me that he completed the exam while I was still writing
- I received a push notification saying that a product that I ordered on Amazon shipped (just an FYI to you Amazon, I don’t care if my product is shipped or dispatched by the seller. All I care is when that package arrives. This should save you and me a lot of time).
This was all after I turned on Do Not Disturb. Turns out, there are some settings to tweak to avoid all of this.
But I gotta say, for what its worth, this was a pretty good simulation of an offline exam (assuming that you take that thing seriously as I did). But what the simulation cannot deliver is the thrill of spending the time with your friends in an institutional environment before/after the exam. That was the time I really missed offline examinations.
So, TL;DR? — it sucked even for an introvert like me.
To my college’s credit, they did deliver. Obviously, they could have just rolled over and averaged all the credits for us. But that would have made us ‘that’ batch of their institute. So, they what they could do the best.
Footnote? I’m glad I got away from this sucky experience and I genuinely feel bad for the millions of other students all over the globe going through this crapshoot alone at home without friends to talk to — and mind you, this is coming from an introvert.
If you hate long stories like this, don’t get bummed out, I’ve got other stories that might interest you. Please share this among your social circle if you see yourself or someone else in this story.
In the days of podcasts made as YouTube videos, you came here to read my story — you are my MVP!
Thank you for your time!