Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Passing Exams Italian Style

Before I start - I am going to say hello to Jac -- (*waves madly*) because she would like to have something personal and I think you can be personal by blog as well as email. She is running all over the world at the moment, and I really hope she can run around to France in June this year, but of course, we will have to see. In any case, Pete can come by himself, because you know that the invitation is open to him too!

This post will have greater interest to Esther because it is about an Architecture exam, but it has a general interest to anyone who has had to ever take exams...

I gained some insight into Italian Style exams from this really interesting lady - to protect identities, let's call her M. [I know that I have a policy of using real names on this blog, but this particular case requires an exception] Anyway, M has 2 other siblings. An older brother and a little brother. The 3 siblings lived together in Rome, and attended the University of Rome at the same time. The older brother was studying engineering. He is clever and mathematical, and always did well in school. M is the sister in the middle, and she was very good at Art and literature. Then there is the little brother, who was desperate to enter the highly prestigious faculty of Architecture in Rome, but that faculty required a 2 section multiple choice entrance exam, with one section on Art and literature, and one section on mathematics and physics. It is not enough to be smart or to be a potentially good architect. There are 150 places for more than 2000 applicants, so you had to score really well.

The little brother had flunked this entrance exam one time already, and was close to giving up. So the two other siblings signed up for the same entrance exam together with him.

Why? The cunning plot revolves around the fact that they all had the same surname, they would all sit around each other in the exam hall. and so the Older Brother was the (*ahem*) guide for the maths and physics section and then stop writing (effectively only doing half the paper)and the Older Sister would perform similar services for the Art and literature section. So only the little brother handed in the COMPLETED paper with both sections, and has graduated from the university and is now a practicing architect.

This apparently is a very Italian way of doing things, where the ends justify the means. I asked M if she had any moral issues about doing what the rest of the world would think of as cheating, but apparently there is no inherent conflict because everyone is doing something like this!! There is less regimented adherence to rules here, which I find totally refreshing. However I would still need to apply my own personal moral standards to be comfortable in my own skin. I am not alone in this, because my classmate - Jukka from Lapland, lightly scratched someone's car whilst coming out of a parking lot, and left a note with his name and phone number. This has caused much amusement to the Italians all around...

4 comments:

Nitch said...

See, if I were in Italy, I'd be a doctor by now, I'd be driving around without a licence...so maybe Sharon, you don't really need lessons..glad to hear you are having so much fun. I had power sambal nasi goreng for lunch today :-)Take care!

Liyi said...

I'm home!! okay, I know I'm kinda treating this as a message board but it seems as though you access this more often than you access your gmail! Did you receive the photos of my red hair!?

S* said...

Hahaa I notice none of you had ethical problems about those exam techniques...

Yes, I thought I told you that I Loved your hair!!

S* said...

Hahaa I notice none of you had ethical problems about those exam techniques...

Yes, I thought I told you that I Loved your hair!!