I can safely presume that anybody reading this article must have had the misfortune of taking up exams of some kind or the other at some point in his/her life. So let’s discuss some of the typical characters that come to the fore during examination season.
The Optimist: He is like the Ravi Shastri of Indian cricket. Always sees the glass half-full even if it is fully empty. He thinks he has a Midas Touch, so whatever he picks to read will surely feature in the question paper. You should see the way he totals his score after the exam, generously awarding marks to himself left and right. Irrespective of the question asked, he answers whatever he has by-hearted, not to mention he will award himself full marks for that as well. Ever heard of a guy who disappears from the college after the result-sheet is put up and returns to hostel at midnight fully drunk? Ya, now you know whom I am talking about. Don’t you?
The Pessimist: He is like ACP Pradyuman of CID, suspicious of everything. He never feels sufficiently prepared for the exam. He is the last one to sleep on the eve of the exam and the first one to wake up, thus making him a prime candidate for screwing the exam. You should see him calculating his expected marks post-exam. It’s some sight. Even Darrell Hair didn’t scrutinize Muralitharan so much as much The Pessimist scrutinizes himself.
The Surrenderer: He is like the Harman Baweja of modern cinema. He is so confident of his preparation (or the lack of it) that he decides a fortnight before the exams, which of the subjects he will be attempting. And even for the ones he will be attempting, he prepares only for fifty marks. Now that’s one surefooted bastard if there ever was one. The Pessimist kind of guys simply hate his guts. The guy has all the plans for the coming semesters chalked out including the back papers.
The Analyst/Stats-Guru: Which question has been repeating itself for the last five years? Which is the chapter which will not get its share of the questions as mentioned in the syllabus book? Which tutor’s notes to concentrate on? Which reference book to follow? Which teacher in the city could have designed the question paper? Which is the best Indian author for the concerned subject? He is one guy, everyone is paying a visit to, a day before the exam. Ironically, after the exam, he is also that one guy who people think should be electrocuted in public.
The John Nash: Did it ever happen to you that you are all tense on the eve of the exam, roaming around like a constipated donkey? You haven’t taken bath nor have you eaten your meal, and then you enter a guy’s room, just to discover him nonchalantly watching an episode of Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai. If you have, then you have had already confronted The John Nash. The guy’s composure will make you tear your hair out. He will be the first one to sleep on the eve of the exam and the last one to wake up, very much in the Virender Sehwag mould. Just avoid confronting him and you will be fine. (Warning: Don’t commit the folly of trying to match his genius. And if you decide to do so, then ask The Surrenderer to take out some extra time and prepare a schedule of back papers for you too.)
The Contriver: He is a true champion! Has a never-say-die attitude. Every semester sees him getting caught cheating in the exam, but he never gives up. New exam, new day and a new technique out of the repertoire. Chits in the 8-pocket cargo pants/cap/belt/shoes, chits inside the pen’s cap or mechanical pencil, a ready-made answer-sheet (Bluebook), bribing the copyist, breaking into professor’s office, hacking into the college database, writing on the palm/desk, scribbled pencil case/eraser, engraved pencil, programmable scientific calculators, data-blank watches, the list goes on. You name it and he has been caught doing that. The guy is a legend. Would do anything but study. Ever tried to counsel him into mending his ways? That would bring out the Socrates in him. I will tell you what you would have gotten in response: “Denial is the Keyword my friend. Never ever admit to cheating. Always remember as long as you believe in it, its not a lie. If need be, invent a plausible story and stick to it at all times during the investigation. Say it enough times with conviction and emotion till the teacher himself starts doubting what he has seen and becomes conscience-driven.“. There is no end to the get-aways that he can suggest but the poor guy when gets caught himself, starts crying uncontrollably like a high-school gal, about how this small mistake can jeopardize his and his family’s whole life.
The Social Worker: He is the Florence Nightingale of college. Pardon the loss of sexual orientation in the comparison. He is as sweet as they come, I mean the male Florence Nightangles. One-third of his time is devoted to studying and the remaining two-third in teaching others in the hostel/college. All the chicks flock to him like addicts flock to drug peddlers. Shockingly there are people like The Surrenderer and The Contriver who have their entire preparation based on that two-third of The Social Worker’s time.
The Discussant: Well, the name itself is a give-away. He is a thorn in the flesh of The Shush-er. He is the most chirpy guy outside the examination hall once the exam is over. Majority of the students lose majority of their estimated marks on their way back to college/hostel, courtesy The Discussant. Not to mention, that he will most definitely be the quietest after the results are out, often giving company to The Optimist in doing you-know-what.
The Shush-er: He is a real nerve wreck. Will shush anyone who is discussing the question paper after the exam. He will try to keep himself as distant from The Discussant as possible, after the exam is concluded. He believes, the more the question paper is discussed, the more his estimated score will come down and you can’t blame him for that, can you? It happens to all of us. Speaking about myself, I always left the examination hall thinking that I have absolutely nailed it, 100/100 you see. But by the time I reached my hostel, I would be struggling to even clear the subject, hanging on to those elusive 35 marks like grim death.
The Narada Muni: He is one irritant that you must have confronted. People hate to have him around before the exam. He will be going from person to person, one hostel-room to the other, interviewing everybody about their extent of preparation and their strategy for the day of reckoning. Of course, if questioned back, he will say: “Oh! Me? I haven’t started yet!”
The Hypocrite: His belief in existence of God grows exponentially during the exam season. He starts chanting the various Chalisas from the preparation leaves itself, replacing in memory, the sine-cosine tables that he by-hearted earlier. You know who I am talking about, right? The guy who makes that Ohm sign at the top of his answer sheet. Rings a bell?
So which category from above do you belong to? And do you have more interesting categories to share with us?