Many students were utterly shocked and understandably aghast to discover that not one, but two subjects, will have their Preliminary Examinations before the 1 week September break. Waffle Press speaks to students and teachers to find out more.
We met up first with Mr Jack Yew, a distinguished Economics lecturer to find out why the exam was brought forward. Mr Yew pointed out that studying for economics had almost no impact on a student’s grade, making the timing of the examination irrelevant. He emphasised the fact that the answer scheme was always markedly different from what any student was actually capable of producing.
While he could not account for this phenomenon, he told us that empirical evidence has shown that even students who study for months inevitably regurgitate the wrong paragraph of the lecture notes, making their revision entirely futile. He bemoaned students’ apparent irrationality when it came to selecting and attempting questions, wondering whether the study of economics had a future if both those who studied it and those it studied behaved in such an unintelligent manner.
When asked about the discontent amongst students over the loss of valuable study time, Mr Yew said “They had one month to study for CT2, look what crap they produced”, noting that the volume and quality of crap was inversely proportional to the time spent studying. Several students we spoke to disagreed however, making reference to the impossibility of completing any economics question.
GP tutor Mr Mak Shi Tup expressed similar sentiments, talking about how students memorised essay outlines and then tried to force them into the available questions. Not only did he find the essays that they produced insipid, he also found them to consistently fail to “ATBQ”. He hopes that cutting down preparation times will force students to think during the paper and ensure that they produce better work. According to him, the department has also decided to make use of the increase in marking time to increase the number of scripts that are graded based on arbitrary and inconsistent guidelines and reduce the number that are “fairly” graded through the use of an automated system.
Mr Mak also noted that students appeared to take some kind of masochistic joy in writing GP essays that describe economics principles in great detail, a practice that is frowned upon and unlikely to net students any marks. What he finds even more puzzling is the complaints from the Economics Department of students writing GP arguments in Economics essays. He commented, “Econs just needs you to mug the lecture notes but you try to think. GP needs you to think but you mug. There is no ‘A’ for anarchy.” Contemplating the profundity of his statement, Mr Mak did not respond to further questions.
PCME student Fay Ling, expressed strong discontent over the preponement of the examinations. She revealed to reporters that she had achieved very little over the course of June due to the endless onslaught of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Due to this, she had planned to make up for her procrastination by studying from tomorrow until after the September break.
As a result of the change in Prelim dates however, Ling says she might not be able to pass her Prelims which will have life-altering consequences. As she contemplated her future as a vagrant with no measure of her self-worth beyond a PSLE certificate, Ling broke into tears and we were unable to continue the interview.
Waffle Press will continue coverage of the upcoming Prelim examination. May the teachers have mercy on our grades.