Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).


Posted 3 June 2005 in life



FIRST, the professor schedules the exam during reading week. We don't get a weekend to study, we get the gap between the last class and the final exam. OK, so that's not a big deal, it's happened before.

THEN, the professor informs the class that one of the problems is missing from the exam -- it apparently didn't get photocopied. Not a big deal, it's happened before.

UNFORTUNATELY, the test isn't missing one problem. It's missing TWO or THREE problems. Out of six. OK, that doesn't usually happen.

SO, the class is informed that it'll take about 10 minutes, but we're going to get new exams (this is a 50 minute final, by the way). But keep working during that time! I don't want you handing in two partial exams, so you'll need to copy your work to the new exam. (This never happens.)

THUS, 15 minutes into the final, new exams are distributed. At the 50 minute mark we're told that we'll have 10 extra minutes to finish what we're working on. I dutifully keep working, and then realize he's changed our copying time from 15 minutes to 10 minutes, and by "finish what you're working on" he means "end of exam, have a good summer". So I start copying furiously.

AT four o'clock our exams are taken from us. I wasn't able to finish copying my exam, so I barely have half of the exam filled out. The TA assured me that I could hand in both exams and it would be OK, but as he was telling me that, the professor announced once more that he would not accept dual exams.

FINALLY, after all of that, the professor announced that, because the test was so long, he's going to give full credit if five out of the six problems are right.


ONE THIRD of my grade hinged on that exam, and not only was I forced to spend my time duplicating my effort for no fault of my own, the professor decided that the time I could have otherwise been using to, you know, DO THE EXAM, wouldn't have even been worthwhile anyway, since I could have just done five problems instead of six and received full credit.

MAYBE I'll pass the class?