Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ho-hum.  Ho-hum.  I'm bored.

I feel like I should be studying.  I probably should be given the phantom possibility of these oral exams in June.

So here's how it works.  Five students out of every class will be picked out by a computer (total random chance) and called in to take the final.  Some classes have both a written and an oral final.  Some classes have just a written final.  Some classes have just an oral.  My calculus class has both. I already know I wasn't called up for the written final.  But there's still a chance I'll have to show up for the oral.  My biology class has just the oral.

This is by far the weirdest thing about Norwegian high school.  Not everyone has to take the final. 


And because it's done by computer--and computers are notoriously heartless, indifferent bastards--you could be called up for none, or all.  The computer really doesn't give a shit one way or the other.

The day they posted the list of written finals along with the students who'd been selected to sit for them, there was a girl crouched in the corner, wailing (wailing, I tell you) and cursing (rather loudly at that) because she had been called up for three written exams.  TRE! TRE! FAENFAENFAENFAEN! TRE EXAMER!  Ahhhhh FAAAAAAEEEEEEN Ahhhhhh...

(For those of you not familiar with the dimsally limited range of Norwegian curse words, here's a link to an instructional video: NOT SAFE FOR WORK )

I must say, I tend to agree with the wailer.  How is it fair that this one poor girl has to struggle through three exams while some other smug bastard, taking exactly the same classes, may luck out of having to take any? 

It just seems right to me that a written final should be part of the requirement for a final grade for every student, not just an unlucky few. 

I have no idea why they do it this way, or how they justify it.  I've asked.  No one knows.  Well--to be clear--I haven't ask an actual educator, or administrator, for that matter.  But I asked Mister.  And, like, a whole two of my classmates.  They didn't know.  So I assumed it was unknowable.  "It's just the way it is," said Mister, "Everyone's used to it.  So no one bothers with it much.  It's just....the way it is."

Sigh.  So very unhelpful.

In the meantime, I'm left to find some way to motivate myself to study for these 'maybe' oral exams because, if I do get called up for one or both of them, I'll only have 48 hours notice.  Everyone has to be prepared; everyone (or at least all the responsible ones who care about their grade at all) has to study like as if they're definitely going to be selected.  So, alright, fine.  I see the fairness in that.  But still.....what is the point in subjecting only five of us to the pressure of an actual examination?

Whatever.  It's just the way it is, and I'll deal with it if and when that soulless bastard of a computer puts the short straw in my hands and says I have to. 

It's in Norwegian though.  Am I getting across to you people the point that we're talking about an oral exam...in Norwegian?  There's something so comforting about sitting around bitching about how flawed the system is in the face of my imminent doom.  Because, obviously, it's the system's fault that I still can't wrap my tongue around Norwegian well enough to comfortably compare and contrast the circulatory systems of an insect and a human, or the reproductive cycle of forest moss, or even my thoughts on the exceptionally cold winter we've had, and what effects I might expect it's had on local ecosystems. 

Oh God, and the calculus?  What's up with an oral exam in math anyway!  It's the prospect of that one that's really got me wetting my pants. 

Doomed.  I'm doomed, I tell you. 


Anonymous said...

Back when I was doing the Norwegian HS, many years ago, I seem to remember we had...semifinals in most subjects. You grade was weighted between them and ongoing tests.

Then, if you got selected for a final, that made up a bigger part of your mark, and was put on your diploma in a separate box. So it was also a serious chance to reapir things in a subject you'd messed up in.

Long time ago now. You could also do classes outside the HS system, in which case your grade came from an oral AND a written final in EACH subject. But you could do that if you wanted to repair certain subjects after leaving HS too.

JEDA said...

Anonymous--I am doing these classes outside the regular high school system, and all of my classmates are there, as you said, trying to improve their grades (seems like half want to get into med school, and the other half want veterinary school).

I'm given to understand that part of the draw of this school I'm going to is they offer a grading system just like the regular high schools, so you're given a 'standpunktskarater' for every class you complete, and the 'examenskarakter' if you're called up. I guess that's not standard for these schools outside the system?

I'm honestly not clear on any of the finer points of meaning within the system, and I welcome any other insights you might have into it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi this is another 'anonymous' writing here :-)
Have you thought about writing to get published? You are quite a talented writer.
You clearly have a gift.
from anonymous in Oslo