Wednesday, May 7, 2014

(Prose) - Examination (CAP 2010 Portfolio)


You stand outside the examination hall, feverishly flipping through your notes for the last time. Effort from time’s past come floating back to you as you see familiar diagrams and words. You try to ignore the excited chatter of your peers who are discussing about their plans after this last paper is done. Hastily stuffing your notes into your bag after you are done with them, you check to make sure that all your stationery are with you.

“X equals plus minus square root of…”

You desperately try to push back the stray Mathematics formula back into your head. You won’t want that missing from your head when you do the exam later. Heading for a quieter spot nearby, you lean onto the metal railing and took the full blast of the humid afternoon breeze. You wipe a stray drop of perspiration from your forehead with a handkerchief that you have brought along.

“Students, please proceed into the examination hall,”

That one line makes you freeze in your steps. This is it. It’s about to begin. Quickly picking up your stationery and water bottle, you follow a group of students who are already slipping through the narrow doors into the examination hall. The chatter quickly dies down as you shortly find your seat and sit down. Taking out your necessary stationery, you find time to mumble a prayer or two before a middle-aged teacher grabs hold of the mike and starts to go through the paper-checking routine. Seizing this opportunity, you steal a glance at your surroundings. All around you, your classmates sit nervously on their seats, listening intently to the teacher. One stifles a small yawn. There is a fan blowing over you, dropping the surrounding temperature by a few degrees. You smile quietly at your new-found advantage. A cooler environment can help you to think better.

“If there’s no other question, you may begin”

Frantic rustling of paper immediately resounds through the examination hall, and you quickly flip to the first question of your examination paper. An algebraic equation. You grin at the strange mixture of letters and numbers. With three steps on the writing paper, you are ready to move on to the next question. Speed and accuracy. Speed and accuracy. Question after question, you breeze past without much of a problem, your blue ballpoint pen flying furiously at the writing paper. Your eyebrows knit together tightly in full concentration. You try to ignore the growing ache in your elbow and fingers as you struggle to carry on writing. You can’t stop now. Every second counts. You engage your French curve to draw your graph, and soon all that is left is to check your work. Tearing your eyes from your work, your glance goes round your surroundings out of curiousity and to take a quick break. You squint at the clock hanging on the wall in front of you. Fatigue has caused your vision to deteriorate, but a few hard blinks quickly sets your eyes in order. Forty-five minutes! There is no time to lose! You grab your calculator and quickly punch in your workings for the first question.


“Alright students, time’s up. Put your pens down please.”

You fling back into your seat exhausted. You had managed to finish checking for the final question before the time was up. Grinning with content, you know that you are going to get good grades for the Mathematics paper. You shift your body to face your classmate behind you, and begin to discuss your plans to celebrate the end of your Final-year exams.

My reflection: Examination

This story brings put fond memories of sitting in the school hall for various examinations prior to the O-levels which I took last year. I remember the mixed basket of feelings that often surge through my mind and how I fought hard to contain them. A few short and desperate prayers to God often helped in such situations to calm me down and get me ready for the Examinations. This story was done in the second-person perspective as I had wanted to try writing a story using the second-person perspective instead of the commonly used first and third-person. This probably also helps to engage readers by placing them in a situation where they themselves are reliving past experiences and are doing the examinations themselves!

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