Final Exams

Today, this year’s high schoolers should have heard whether they passed or failed their final exams for graduation. This inspired me to use one of Mama Kat’s writing prompts for this week, which is to write a post on the word “final”.

It’s been sixteen years since I graduated from high school. At the time, mobile phones were already in use, but they weren’t as popular as they are now and smartphones didn’t exist. Nonetheless, we were instructed not to text each other that we’d passed. After all, those who had failed would be called first and then those who had passed their exams would be called in alphabetical order. Texting each other would ruin the surprise effect. All of us would receive a call between 12:00 and 1:00PM. Since my last name starts with a W, I knew that I’d either be called at five past twelve if I’d failed, or at close to one o’clock if I’d passed.

Even though I had gotten pretty good grades on my school-based tests, which would make up half of my final grade, I had no idea how I’d done on the final exams. You could check your answers with a grading sheet available online once the exams were over. I didn’t do this with most subjects, I think. I did it with English though.

I at the time had an 8.1 out of 10 GPA in English. An 8.5 would be a nine. Though six is enough to pass, I badly wanted the nine. This meant I’d have to have an 8.9 on my final exam. When I checked, I found out that, most likely, I would not reach this. It however also depended on how strictly they were grading. After all, if most students scored lower than expected, they’d use a less strict grading system. If the grading folk were less strict than expected, I could get my desired 8.9.

Once the day we would be called arrived, I sat by my home phone from 11:30 until I was being called. I got called shortly before one o’clock: passed!

We were expected to be at school that afternoon to look at our grades. I had a surprisingly high grade on my geography final. That one had been adapted by my teacher and I’d taken it orally due to my blindness making the regular final inaccessible. As it turned out, the independent review teacher who had sat in on my final too, had been so incredibly impressed with my (quite mediocre) performance that he’d upped my grade. This made me feel guilty, but thankfully none of my fellow students knew.

As for English: the grading folk weren’t so kind this time. I passed with an 8.8, so got an eight out of ten GPA in English.

I, in fact, only got sevens and eights in all subjects, seven eights and eight sevens. This just about meant I wouldn’t be able to get accepted into selection-based college programs. Then again, I wasn’t intending on studying medicine or the like. In fact, now I’m more than grateful that I don’t need my high school diploma for anything anymore. I don’t even know where it is, nor do I care.

Mama’s Losin’ It

15 thoughts on “Final Exams

  1. What an interesting system – a call to know if you passed or failed.
    Funny how we get so hung up on grades and GPA, but as time goes by, they mean less and less.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still in college and work really hard for my grades. But then I read posts like these, and hear experiences very similar to this post and then, I start thinking if it’s even worth it. I mean, why bother when it won’t even matter in the long run

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it does matter if you will be joining the workforce after college, though even then not every employer will ask about your specific grades. The reason I say I don’t care where my diploma is, is that I don’t work and most likely never will.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My diplomas are tucked away in a box somewhere in our attic. I remember thinking that each one was kind of like a driver’s license for my future.

    Silly, I know. When I look at them now, each one represented a dream, a goal. In some ways, the education behind them helped but haven’t been that instrumental to what I’ve accomplished.

    And, some day, they will just be a paper memory that someone discards.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, your grading system is so interesting to me. Our grades in America are on a 4 point scale. An A is 4 points, B is 3, C is 2 and so on. Our public schools have finals at the end of each quarter, but not a final that might determine whether or not you graduate. That seems like so much pressure! I bet it was the best feeling to get that call closer to 1!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it definitely felt good that I’d passed, even though like I said now I don’t need my diploma anymore. Thanks for explaining about the American grading system.


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