Thursday, 28 April 2011

A practical physics exam, a new ruler and faulty equipment!

My son had his physics exam. The practical bit. The bit where they go into a silent classroom/lab and do something clever with delicate instruments to prove or disprove theories.

I knew my son was going to need to sound off after this exam, I had a feeling about it.  The day before the exam I was in Tescos and some brightly coloured bendy rulers caught my eye.  I know better than to see something and think 'I may need one of those' and ignore it. So, I bought a bright blue ruler.  I know my son has an unbreakable (yeah right, this is the third one this year) ruler with a snazzy hand-grip. There is no room for error and just in case something awful happens to the one he has been using all term, he will have a spare ruler.

I put the bright blue new addition to our household on the antique table in the hall (remember? the one I bought off ebay for 20p).  Tall twisted legs and in pride of place so my son has been conditioned to check on it for all things School or Life Admin related. Letters to and from school get tucked under the fruit bowl shaped brown container that was a gift from Africa, well, a gift from a relative visiting Africa. We got a fruit bowl.  Which has never held fruit. It does, however, hold the fruit of our lives. Door keys, ipods,coinage, odd scraps of paper that will be needed at some stage in the future.  Scratch cards from Iceland, free delivery for on-line shopping vouchers from Sainsburys. All manner of useful and useless in equal measure pile up in our non-fruit bowl.

My son headed off for his exam and he was a little delayed at home in our hall as he spotted the bright blue number, calling his name. He stuffed it, just fitting, into his red college bag.  At Sixth Form College, my son was about to go into the exam, not armed with his new ruler, but with his old faithful ruler.  I really don't know why he took the new ruler in with him. I guess he was thinking like me, "just in case". 

His friend who is hoping to go to Bath University, if he gets the grades he needs suddenly realises outside the exam room/hall/lab that he hasn't got a ruler!  My son goes back to their pile of bags and digs his bright red Topshop number out,  another rummage produces the bright blue ruler and he is able to join his relieved friend to fill the only two places left to sit at in the classroom.  My son sits down at a place in the room where the equipment is faulty.  Yes, faulty.  The light meter goes totally haywire and he is unable to take the measurements required for the graph plotting.  Apparently what should have looked like a curve looked more like a scattergraph.  Oh. dear. 

My son called the teacher over who decided it was the location. He picked the instruments up and moved my son to a different desk. No, still not working. The teacher couldn't make it work.  Oh. dear.  So, the teacher has written on Charlie's exam paper explaining there was too much ambient light for the light meter to work.  (Everyone else's light meter worked).

What did Charlie learn?  Not to be last into an exam room, not to waste time trying to help a friend and fgs  blah blah blah.  I sat and listened to Charlie tear away at the strips of his life that will be RUINED if he can't get the grades he needs to get into the University of Warwick. 

Fingers crossed then that there is a person at the exam board who is as helpful as Charlie was able to be.

Curse the bright blue ruler.

Lots of love and light to everyone who needs it xx

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