Monday, December 8, 2008

Two Exam Days

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Chemist Board Exam Series Part Nine

Two Exam Days

It was Mama Mary’s Birthday the day before the Board Exam. We celebrated that by attending the Holy Mass. And when night came, my friends (Gleenece, Jeb, Marvin, Warner, Josephus, Jerome, and Jason) and I gathered in Room 8 for a cramming session. Our mentors checked out on us from time to time. We were really scared but we didn’t let it conquer us. And by 10 PM, we headed off to sleep. We had a wakeup call at 5 AM.


It was my cellphone’s alarm ringing. Its volume was on maximum. But it wasn’t really needed. I didn’t have a good sleep that night probably because I was scared for the Board Exam that day. The cold shower surely waked me up! And that was all I needed to get my adrenalins running. Finally, it’s September 9, 2008!

All of us were wearing white tops. That was the uniform that PRC has ordered. It was a pleasing day: a good humid weather with no rain. The bus’s air conditioner heightened the coldness of that morning. We could see the white air coming out from the bus’s vents.

A lot of us prayed the Holy Rosary while on our way to the testing center: The Manuel L. Quezon University. We arrived late thanks to the boys that took long to get to the bus! But the proctor was very patient and he let us catch up with the class. He assigned me to seat no. 11. And he said further that four hours were the allotted time for each subject.

Bro. Apolonio gave me a set of prayer to pray on the day of the exam. And I never forgot to pray those. But at that time, I couldn’t keep myself calm. I could feel my hand trembling. My heart was beating fast. My hands were cold and clammy. Oh God, help! This is it! Thy will be done!

The first exam that we tackled was Inorganic Chemistry. I couldn’t even shade the questionnaire set (I was Set A) properly. I proceeded by reading the first question. Oh God, help! I can’t understand it! Then, I closed my eyes. Breathed in and out and prayed the three Hail Mary’s while doing so. That was all I needed to keep myself calm. And from that moment on, I relaxed a bit and my mind was clear. Then, I was myself again! I could easily analyze and answer the problems.

Inorganic Chemistry went well. It was pretty average. Some questions were very difficult, I must say. But it only comprised the minority of the exam.

When lunch came, we couldn’t help but discuss the questions and the probable answers of the exam. While doing so, we feasted on the Jollibee® two piece burger steak with rice and a glass of Coke®. After an hour of discussing and eating, we headed back to the testing center together. The next subject was rumored to be the Board Exam’s most difficult: Organic Chemistry.

Organic Chemistry happened to be my forte. So, the rumor didn’t scare me at all. However, as I took the exam, I realize that my knowledge in Organic Chemistry was not enough for me to say: This is easy. Most of the questions tackled on Biochemistry and Biotechnology. We didn’t expect that. The review center told us that the exam would comprise 10% of Biochemistry and 90% pure Organic Chemistry. But we were taking an exam of 50% Biochemistry (based on my POV).

It was something that we didn’t prepare for. So, the second exam was very, very difficult.

All of us were very silent as we headed home. We were drained of our energies. But the worry was there: Organic Chemistry was not expected to be that difficult! That was our main discussion in the bus as we headed home.

When night came, we didn’t have the usual group cramming session. Gleenece and I had some a very short review of some concepts before heading to sleep. And this time, God gave us a calming, long, and peaceful sleep.

Our mentors saw to it that we didn’t arrive late on the second day of our exam. They warned the boys to wake up early and go to the bus right away. We girls were on always on time. The weather was cloudy with some rain fall. It was suddenly September 10, 2008! Oh God, Help! Here we go again!

The third subject that we tackled was Analytical Chemistry. And man! It was more difficult than Organic Chemistry! The exam had a lot of electrochemistry questions. I just hate electrochemistry! It has a lot of math in it. I was hoping that the exam would have more spectrochemical problems, which I was more comfortable with. But it only had one or two. Oh my! I’m in trouble! But I believe that I can still pass this exam with your help, Oh God!

After four hours, it was time to go to the bus for lunch. All of us had the same menu that we had the day before: burger steak with rice and Coke®. We tried our best not to discuss the exams because it spawned heartaches within. I brought Ian’s letter and picture with me. It was my only inspiration. And I was very happy that I received a lot of SMS from him. Thank you, God! For this wonderful man!

I expected the next exam to be a nightmare for me. Physical Chemistry had always been my weakness and I just hoped that I did well in the last three exams so to cope up with the overall grade.

I went back to the classroom with a very pessimistic mentality. Physical Chemistry again! I hate this subject! And so, when the proctor gave us our questionnaires, I read the first question. Oh man! Still, I couldn’t understand it. So, I proceeded to the next question. Yes! Now this one is easy! Pure substitution!

Then, there was the third question. Am I dreaming? This is easy! Wow! Thank you, God!

It turned out that Physical Chemistry had the easiest questions of all. Most problems were substitutions and about one or two were difficult. It was easier than Inorganic Chemistry. The test was like that of high school Chemistry.

All of us went to the bus with a newfound happiness brought by Physical Chemistry. Finally, the four exams are over! It was like a Gaussian curve: starts with the easy, hard, harder, and easy. Wow! I was amazed at how happy I was that Physical Chemistry turned out that way.

“This exam was surely made for me. I hope that I did my best to make the most of it! Thanks, Mama Mary for keeping me calm and for making Physical Chemistry easy.”, I prayed.

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