Last week I took the dreaded Probability midterm, which was (without even .01% of doubt) the most difficult exam I have taken in my whole life. Anyone who is old enough to remember the Five Boys chocolate bar will remember the five stages of anticipation on the boy’s face until he gets his darned chocolate.
During that two-hour exam I went through a similar process, but in reverse, from delusional optimism at 3.01 p.m that I might be able to scrape through, to sullen resignation as I submitted my paper that this stuff was way, way, way out of my league. The next lesson we got our results, people getting knocked out of the running like a grotesque academic reality show. I did spectacularly badly, so bad that Nancy and I laughed at the absurdly low mark I got. The funny thing is, I quite enjoy the conceptual part of the course – I used to work in a betting shop as a university student- but the more advanced theorems are impenetrable.
I’m doing the resit next week, and remembering the Beckett quote:
‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’
Epilogue: I failed again, even better. However, I still learned quite a bit in that class, which is making me think about assessment. The tester tested.