I’ve never fared well in exams which have negative marking in all my life. I almost always tend to forget the fact, or I get a rush of blood to the head. And I end up screwing up. Royally. I normally tend to lose 10-20% of the marks I score on correct answers this way, but the JEE 2006 Chemistry was a different story altogether – lost almost half the marks I scored. I missed the boat by a whisker back then.
Forward to 2010, Valentine’s Day: I’m sitting at 9 am in an exam hall for GATE 2010, and had answered all the questions I knew by 10.45 whereabouts. Of the questions I had attended till then, all but one were correct. Almost all were 1 markers, but positives! I was later annoyed when I learnt that I had missed a simple limits based question, the lack of a calculator on hand hit me hard. (I don’t tend to use calculators much, even in some mental-calculations-unfriendly exams.)
I awoke to the fact that regardless of whenever you finish your exam, you’ve to sit in the hall for the whole duration. Anna University does a good job at this one, they leave you out anytime after 45 minutes elapse. That might be the only good thing they’ve done.
Now I didn’t want to disturb the other candidates by singing, nor did I want to annoy someone by staring at what they were doing. So I had two options: sleep or work out the other questions.
Sleep was impossible at that time (Normally I’d be seeing cartoons or reading a novel at that time Sundays), so I started a statistical analysis of my progress till then, and thought it had been a pretty good job. It had been, indeed. Until in a moment of madness I started to put pencil to paper rather vigorously, attending questions I could not even answer in my dreams!
Later, I would realize this was a big mistake, a real big one. Of the questions I answered in this fit of madness, all but one were wrong. So I went on to loose a massive portion of my hard earned marks to the negative marking jinx that has been trailing me since I left school.
And the results which came out today made me wonder about why I’m afflicted with this attend-it-all syndrome: 46 marks out of a possible 100, a countrywide rank of 943 of 100,000 odd people, and a normalized score of 666 on 1000. The Number of the Beast. My favourite Iron Maiden song. OK, not my favourite, but No.4 🙂 Anything but jaw-dropping.
I’ve almost lost a good opportunity to get into a nice post graduate course. I wouldn’t have normally settled for anything less, but this time I ardently hope I get what I want. For once in my life.
You can find the GATE 2010 CS Question Paper here: GATE_2010 Question_Paper
Life is all about faith and hope. Faith in a higher power, and hope of a better tomorrow keeps us going. And I have faith and hope.