The exam results were released this morning.
I was expecting to pass. As I have mentioned, this is the third time I took this paper. I can’t possibly do it again, if I were to fail.
The pressure is there. If I passed, I will continue. If not, it is time I bid farewell to this profession.
A little more info here. The exam has forty multiple choice questions and the pass mark is not fixed. In the past, number of correct answers needed to pass ranged from 21 to 24.
Which means that, if the passing mark was determined to be 24 and someone has 23, he fails. The grade would be 5 (0 to 5 is fail, 6 to 10 means pass).
How do the exam board arrive at the passing mark? They have to ensure that exam takers actually know their stuff and didn’t get a 6 just by guessing. So in every exam, the passing rate (number of people who pass out of the total who took the exam) is between 30 to 40%. It could be lower, but seldom more than 40%.
We have an online forum where exam takers discuss everything under the sun, though mostly exam-related topics. There is this guy who goes by the nick of Brute who has taken this paper at least five times.
I am not sure how many, but it could be ten. He said that for the past five sittings (including this recent one in May), he got a five. Before that, there were a few lower grades.
There is a running joke on how the board sets the pass mark. To quote someone that goes by the name of Roto, ‘They set the pass mark based on how Brute performs. He gets 24; pass mark is 25. He gets 20; pass mark is 21.’ Brute’s pass mark + 1.
Just imagine. He has taken it so many times that he could practically do the exams without studying (actually not really; there are many formulas to remember and practise does make perfect).
There was another who passed on his or her seventh attempt.
It does say something about Brute’s perseverance. Which I deeply respect and admire.
And which I do not have.
Even though I don’t know him, I feel bad for him. Heck, a lot of people in the forum do. Luck just doesn't seem to be on his side.
Taking the same exam and failing for the umpteenth time. It is like pulling a knife out of your chest and when it is almost out, the knife is pushed back in again.
You think that is exaggerated? I don’t think so. He knew he has 24 correct answers even before the results were released. All of us thought he would pass, based on the past pass marks.
The pass mark was 25.
For someone who is married like Brute with kids, balancing work, family and studies is not easy. He is lucky to have a very supportive and understanding wife; she has even encouraged him to go for it again.
I know life is unfair, but it shouldn’t be like this.
I hope he doesn’t give up. He is this close to passing. Always missing out on one question.
I wish him all the best and may he pass the one in November.
Though if I were in his position, I wouldn’t give myself the same advice. I am not strong enough to take so many stabs.
I don't mean to be cocky, but it would be a surprise if I hadn't passed. And I would be utterly devastated. And would give up.
I have 26 correct answers.
Now you know why the somber tone of this post. Perhaps I need more time for it to sink in.