This is my first time I am setting a written test. It is a 1.5 hours common test. My school calls it a common test, I call it an examination. Whatever the name, it’s a written test.

Many students came in late for this test (as usual). Little did they know that this test was designed to be long, with only the best students who came on time, be able to finish just in time. So they will be paying back by being late.

This test was also not the “conventional” by polytechnic (equivalent to community college in the States) standards. It really tested their understanding and application to the core. I tried not to make them regurgitate too many facts, except for one question, meant to be a question for them to score.


I must admit, I faced a vulnerability issue while waiting for them, who were about 20 minutes late. I became very self-aware and not confident of myself…

“Did they give up?”

“Did they decided to boycott my common test?”

My face puts on a mask of arrogance and defiance while staring at the many empty seats in the examination hall.

Of course, I was wrong and all of them did turn up, and most of them put up a good fight. It was them and the pen against the paper.

“You got to write something at least…”. That was my advice to them during the last lecture two weeks ago. And they did try their best.

Last 20 minutes, My best students are struggling to finish the test. They know their stuff and they have been writing non-stop. The rest? They too have not given up. They take more time to think but they are writing, correct answers or wrong answers they do not know but they tried their best.

Deep in my heart, I was cheering for them.

“Fight on, fight on, you can do it.”

In fact, it probably showed up all over the face at that time.


7 out of 40 students left early. Those were probably the ones whom gave up. The rest stayed on till the end. And of course, there were a few of my students who stayed even later to chat with me:

“Be lenient in your marking, please?”

Putting their tension aside, they left to enjoy the extra long weekend and holidays!

As for me, my work does not end here. I’ll have to mark this stack of paper: