Sunday, June 12, 2011

Exam in Expo, Singapore


This is my first time to sit for an ACCA exam overseas, outside of Brunei.

To sit for an exam in Brunei, I have to take a 1hr 15min road trip to reach the capital. ACCA exam centre in Brunei is located in CfBT, Kianggeh in the capital of Brunei. Normally there will not be that many students taking the exams. Combination of CAT and ACCA, it will probably be 100 students (maximum) per day. The chief invigilator is a British woman, who appeared strict but she is quite sweet if you talk to her. Prior to every exams, she will read the rules & regulations set by ACCA via a mike. She has a voice which makes you feel calm. Usually there are around 3-4 other invigilators who are volunteers, I think. I sat for my exams there for quite a few years, and I always see the same faces of the few invigilators. The desk in the exam room is not very big - width is just enough for three A4 papers spread across the table. Floors are carpeted, hence you do not hear footsteps from all sorts of different shoes walking past you, which can get annoying when you are trying to focus on your exams.

ACCA exams  in Singapore are held in Expo, which is at the far east, and a stop before Changi Airport if you take the train. I stay in the North West of Singapore, so I opted to travel to Expo by train and it took me a good one hour to reach there too. Though the travelling time was quite similar to the time I had to travel from KB to BSB in Brunei, but most of the time I had to stand in the train as there were no seats. So... go figure. Upon reaching Expo, you will feel the chillness of the blasting air conditioning in the entire Expo. I was warned about taking a jacket with me, but I thought since I was wearing a long sleeved pullover, it should not be bad but boy, was I wrong!

The hall will only be opened to students at 2.15pm. Prior to that, you can see a lot of students seated outside the hall, on the floor, on the chairs, in the restaurants nearby with notes in their hands. It did not make me comfortable, as this brought the stress tension higher up. Usually I will not go through my notes before my exams anymore. Firstly because my brain is already very tired from all the hardcore studying, and secondly I need to relax my mind before heading into the exam hall. But in the end, as I was there pretty early, I got my notes out to re-read them. Nothing too bad I guess. There were around 1,000 plus of students that day, combination of ACCA and CAT. So, you can imagine the proportion between Brunei's students and Singapore's students.

When I got into the hall, and even before that, I did not see any familiar face at all. I did not see any of my classmates at all! This is different from Brunei. Because in Brunei, you get to see your few but nice classmates and encourage one another. Once in the hall, it was cold cold cold all the way! The floor was cemented, hence you hear a lot of footsteps and the chief invigilator who was giving instructions throughout the 45min before the exams had a very sharp voice. It did not have the soothing effect which makes you feel relaxed. There were students who were having 2 hours paper that day, and when she called out to students who were finishing their exams after 2 hours, it was kind of distracting.

During the entire exam, I could feel the coldness on my hands and on my face. Thank goodness the exam paper kept me busy throughout. The funniest part was that, when I realized I only had one hour left and I still have some questions not covered yet (as I skipped them to gain the easier points), I actually felt warm, rolled up my sleeves and started to scribble like crazy. I managed to finish my paper 10min before 6.15pm, I do not wish to comment on how I did, as the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment. Imagine I thought that my mock exam paper was easy, and in the end what happened? I flunked! As I left, there were again a lot of people in the hall. It is definitely not something which I am used to.

Just as I have expected, I did not see any familiar face even after the exams. So I could not share my exam experience with anyone. It made me kind of sad. It made me reminiscence the days in Brunei when I could discuss with happiness or disappointments with my fellow classmates. Though there were only a handful of them, but I believe in quality over quantity.

I took the train home, alone again. Though I was happy that my exam is finally over (only one paper what, nothing too glamorous about it), my mind and body were tired and I had to stand in the train all the way from Expo to North East. Normally, my parents would be the ones sending me to and fro my exam hall in Brunei. They would make sure I had lunch prior to leaving the house. Of course, I would always get a hotdog pastry from the bakery under our exam center in Brunei. I do not believe my lunch could possibly last me till 6.15pm, especially with a range of gruesome brain juice squeezing in between.

So that was my experience taking my ACCA exam in Expo, Singapore. I definitely hope it will get better, referring to my adjustment. I am being comparable which I know is not nice, especially now that I am here in Singapore and not Brunei. I should accept whatever there is. At the end of the day, it is not about the process getting to the goal, it is the outcome which matters more. Okay, this is a little conflicting about my opinion, once, that the process of getting to the goal is more important compared to reaching your destination. Oops!

All the best who are still having their exams next week. God bless! :)
Thank you for following my ranting till this far, if you have not closed the window half way through.

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