July 4, 2015

Blog 11: Studying for finals at the NTU

Blog 11: Studying for finals at the NTU

This week, I started studying for my exams, which were due in one week. I had a total of four exams. The course material is twice as much  compared to the courses at the HVA. However, three of the four exams were open book, because of the entrepreneurial subjects.

The libraries were packed with students studying for finals. Initially, I was very surprised by this because of their discipline on getting high grades. This is something you will never see in the Netherlands. In Holland, students are happy when they pass with a mere 5.5 average. Here in Singapore, students are only pleased with a B+ or higher. The reason is that companies in Singapore request the students’ grade lists together with the job application. Luckily, they do not do that in the Netherlands, but they should. I got above average grades, which is the reason I got the chance to go to Singapore, but I am not even in the top 10 of my year.

By the way, the libraries are AMAZING! if you are a student at the HVA, I am pretty sure you complained about the library once in your life. There are too little computers, no space, slow internet, old software, old software, etc. Here, the library has Ipads, touch screen computers, latest software, fast internet, sufficient amount of computers and space, and pods where you can practice presentations on, and many more! HVA, do something about this!

Back to my story...

For 5 days straight, I studied together with my classmates in the library. This is when I noticed that their way of studying is also different from mine. The book for Strategic Marketing had about 12 chapters, 300 pages, we had to study for the exam. Of the 300 pages, around 100 pages was essential for the exam, while the remaining 200 are just elaborations and very irrelevant to the exam Even though the Singaporean students knew this, they still focused as much on the these irrelevant topics, because they are afraid of getting a lower grade. This way of studying is very time consuming and inefficient in my opinion.

One thing that scared me the most is the NTU grading system. The teachers do not talk about it, but students say it is definitely there. The exams are graded with a bell curve. Typically, an assignment or test is scored, and the average score automatically becomes an average grade (typically a B- or C+). The scores above and below the average are distributed accordingly. Essentially, curve is designed to have a pre-determined distribution of grades. The students say that curve is there to spark competition among the students because it makes it harder to score high. Also, this is making it difficult for me because I am competing with them as well!

These Singaporean students are smart and I am competing with them on this bell curve! Double the stress!. I will tell you about the exams on the next blog, so stay tuned for the upcoming blog.

Arvi Martono

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