About a few hours before, i came home..from what was the last exam for the mid semester. As usual, the paper went well... Everything was from what was done in the class...I found it easy,and I'm sure that ill end up getting good marks... That was my view when the exam finished. On the way back, it got me thinking...What is this that I am doing? Why do i even need it!
For those of you who cannot relate to what im saying, ill give a brief idea. Im studying in one of the most prestigious colleges in Pune- College of Engineering, Pune- COEP for short. Being an autonomous institute, we have exams every 12 weeks or so. This week we had our midsemester exam, which are worth 30 percent of the final marks. And after giving the exams, i am now feeling terribly depressed at having to give such "not so great" tests.(Not that i score too much... a GPA of 7.5 tells that... but still...)
Ill tell you why... 4 out of the 5 papers we had, the questions were taken straight out of the post-chapter details of a Local Author book or a text book. i think about 70 percent of the papers(cumulative) were theory based. 20 percent mathematical, 10 percent formula based, 0 percent application oriented, 0 percent conceptual understanding oriented. Infact, even the mathematical problems were solved examples from text books.
Its absolutely pathetic ratio. Im of the opinion that in becoming an engineer, the course should be application oriented! Thats hardly the case! Je ratta martat, tyannach marks miltat... is a common saying within my group...and its absolutely true. What is the usefulness of bookish knowledge and stupid examples that work on formulae? In jobs, especially in fields like research, thats hardly the case! i mean we do have to work with established formulae, but then you can always refer to them!
My power electronics paper was a joke. Everything came from the notes that our professor had given us. Zero Application. They should atleast give a paper where you have to strech your imagination! Or give design problems. In jobs, we would be working on a real life, parameterized problem statement!
We dont innovate, we dont imagine, we dont scratch our brains...All we do is cram up the whole syllabi the night before the exam, and literally puke it all over the answer sheet! Compare that to the exams in world renouned institutes. They have open book tests.. But these are difficult, and are actual applications of what they are being taught. To tell you the truth, we had a paper on DSP(Digital Signal Processing) which was to be set by IIT.For the first time, i was actually looking forward to give a paper! But for some godforesaken reason, that was cancelled, and we had a paper from Coep. It was again everything taught in the class. (2 problems were actually same.. i fail to understand how the professors failed to see that!, also we had to write a program in C, for a dsp question! wtf!!)
I dont know the mentality of any other person other than myself, but atleast im getting absolutely frustrated with this monotonic, run-of-the-mill, mugging oriented exams. I lose half my motivation in mugging up the theory,formulae etc..(whatever remains is lost when professors tell you that there is only one way to solve a problem, that too from a JS KATRE book, and pay no heed when you counter this claim). The thought "why do i ever need this redundant piece of crap in an application oriented job" always creeps into my mind. And a failure to answer that leads to another, a more potent, and presumable a deadlier one.."Are we really engineering?"
Ok, there might be a set pattern, but still, good professors will make a difference. may be break the patterns and extend the boundries. (We had that last year with rege maams paper, and this year Mohile Sirs paper).Agreed that they need to ask theory and mathematical questions in the paper... but couldnt they combine all of that to set a tougher problem, which could lead to some application? (i fear not, because most of the people who set the papers dont know what they are doing.IMHO)
Again.. it leads to a train of thoughts...
How am i not different to a school kid?
I learn all thats taught in the class.I have no clue of what the importance of a certain concept may be. Actually I get a score of say 9 point something on these redundant tests and brag about it. I have no knowledge of application of what im learning.
Am i being challenged? mentally? intellectually? No.
Am i being tortured with a 30 marked piece of crap? Yes.
Am i looking forward to exams? No.
Am i engineering? I guess not...