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应付考试压力的非正式指南
Coping with exam stress: unofficial guide

可悲的事,听说本地的中国学生由于考试压力而自杀。我从开始自学汉语的时候就一直设法见到华人学生,试试帮助他们应付压力,但是我无法见到每一个人。希望有些最少能读这个网页。
I was very sad to hear about a local Chinese student who committed suicide over exam stress. Since I started learning Chinese I've always tried to meet Chinese students, and I always try to help students I know to cope with stress, but there's no way I can meet everybody. I hope some of them will at least read this page.

我并不是专业的心理学家或顾问,所以这是非正式的。不过我自己经验了剑桥大学的计算机考试,而在最后考验我跟另一个学生一起接受那年的最高分数。也许那个状况给我资格发布以下的看法:
I'm not a professional psychologist or counsellor, but I have sat Cambridge University's Computer Science examinations, and in my finals they gave me and one other student the joint highest mark of the year. Perhaps that puts me in a position to say this:

考试是个无效的系统!
Exams are broken!

哦,大学提供我的网页地方,而他们的规则禁止我说破坏大学名声的话,所以我最好解释自己一下: 曾经英国首相丘吉尔说民主政府是个无效的系统,但他觉得其他系统更无效。同样,也许考试仍然是最好的大学系统而其他系统更无效,或者我们得等待未来的研究证明怎样的系统更好。我没有资格说什么系统更好,但我仍然觉得考试是个有缺点的估价学生系统。(而我自己的高分数证明我的看法不是由于怀怒低分罢了。但要不是为了说明这个观点,我不习惯谈到我的分数。)
Well I'd better explain myself (seeing as the University provides my web space and I'm not supposed to say anything that brings them into disrepute)---there was once a British Prime Minister called Winston Churchill who said democracy is a bad system, but he thought all the other systems were worse. In the same way, perhaps the examination system is the best a university could do and all the other systems would be worse, or perhaps we need to wait for future research to prove what sort of system would be better. I'm not qualified to say what's better. But I still think exams are flawed as a way of measuring students. (And the fact that I was joint top first proves I'm not just saying that out of not liking my own mark. But I don't normally mention my marks except when I want to make this point.)

由于估价系统有缺点,你不必以为他们所给你的分数就是你的内在价值或效用。这好像求我(就是一个患皮层性视损伤的人)去没有路灯的乡下计算夜里天空有多少星星。我虽然有时候会看夜晚有星星,但是有不少星星我没看见,而最好别求我说它们的视星等,何况绝对星等。
Because the system is flawed, you shouldn't think that the mark they give you is a true measure of your intrinsic value or usefulness. That would be like asking me (a partially-sighted person) to go to a dark countryside village at night and count the stars in the sky. I can sometimes see there are stars, but I miss most of them, and you'd better not ask me about their apparent or absolute magnitudes.

对于积分怎样影响未来的工作机会,我有另一个可能让一些人小吃惊的事说说: 我以前被雇主拒绝,说我资历过高。我所申请的工作是很可敬的写软件任务,但他们仍然说我资历过高。所以,分数高不等于工作机会多。无论有多少分数(包括零在内),有某个机会(可能是个雇主不信任分数比较高的人做的机会)你能找而做得到的。
Regarding the effect of one's mark on future job opportunities, here's another thing that might be a little surprising for some: I've been refused jobs and told I'm "overqualified"---and I'm talking about respectable programming jobs here. So it's not necessarily true that higher marks mean more job opportunities. Whatever mark you get (even zero), there will be something (maybe even something that those of us with higher marks won't be trusted to do!) that you can find.

第一年的学生特别得放心: 其实,大学考试不是烈火熊熊的酷刑房间。管理员不穿《星空奇遇记》外星人服装而咆哮“你们即将被考验,反抗无用”。大学经常说你必及格第一年才能做第二年,但其实他们的及格水平不太高,因为他们不真的想失去学生,因为那等于他们失去钱。
First years might especially need to set their minds at rest: university examinations are not fiery torture chambers. Invigilators don't march around in Star Trek alien costumes chanting "you will be examined---resistance is futile." Universities typically say you must pass the first-year exams to continue to the second year, but in reality the pass mark is not that high because they want students to continue---after all, losing students means losing money.

我特别同情私立学校毕业生。我自己的学校是本地政府所资助的所以我没经验文法学校的气氛,但听说那个气氛是“你必须赢,你必须赢,你必须赢”。跟你分享一个秘密: 不是必须的! 你可以选择试试做考试,也可以随时选择离开。如果想起来都是你所选择的事而不是必须的事,压力可能小一点。
I'm particularly sympathetic to private-school students, as with my state-school background I didn't have to cope with the allegedly "you must win, you must win, you must win" atmosphere of a grammar school. Let me tell you a secret: you don't have to do anything! You can choose to stay and try the exam, or you can choose to leave at any time---if you remember it's your choice, not something you have to do, then the pressure may seem to be off a bit.

而且我的父母和祖父母辈都没有参加了大学,所以我没有家人说“我的分数是这样,你现做更好吧”。要是你有家人这样说,要记得每年级都不一样,系统年年改变。
And as none of my my parents or grandparents attended university, I didn't have any family members saying "here's my mark, now you beat it". If you have someone like that, please remember that every year-group is different and the system changes from year to year.

考试之前我天天复习,但不是太多了。那一年我们有个真棒的学生,他天天复习12个小时,我那时觉得我的4到6小时无法比得上他。但他看来有精疲力竭症候群而没接受所希望接受的分数。(别当心他,他后来打开一个有名的因特网公司。不过我们从此能看出,你最好别做太太多多的复习而破坏自己的身体健康。)
Before my exams I revised every day, but not too much. There was a very good student in my year who revised for 12 hours a day---my 4 to 6 hours weren't going to hold a candle to that, I thought. But he got what seemed to be burnout, and didn't achieve the mark he wanted. (Not to worry: he went on to start a famous Internet company. But it goes to show that you shouldn't exhaust yourself with excessive revision.)

考试之前,确认考试的时间地点而你的号码。如果是在你不认识的房间,最好提前探访那个房间所以你知道能容易找到。考试开始之后,你很可能看见某人写写写很多字。不要因此沮丧。那个学生很可能错了。可能他忽略读指示,比如“回答只有5个问题而已”或“首先验证自己的确接受了12页”的指示。也许他没有慢慢读考试的问题而真正地明白他们希望什么解答方法。也许他的笔迹太乱了,无法读。另一方面,你能小心而避免这个圈套。也避免采用修正液(那会抹掉正确的回答),然而离开很多空白所以后来的调整很容易(这不是节省纸的时候)。也要记得,如果问题都特别难,分数很可能后来被调整。如果你享受你所选择的专业,这可能会有所抵销你的肾上腺素。被太担心得不到的分数,反而收集得到的分数。系统虽然坏了,但我们仍然能短中抽长。但无论如何别以为你的价值有赖于某个有缺点的考试系统。
Before the exam, make sure you know the time and place and your candidate number, and if it's in a room you've never seen before then it might be a good idea to visit the room in advance so you know you'll be able to find it easily on the day. When the exam starts, you'll probably see somebody start to write and write and write. Don't let that dishearten you. That student is probably doing it wrong. Perhaps he didn't read the instructions, such as the one about answering only 5 questions, or making sure you've received all 12 pages. Perhaps he didn't read the questions slowly enough to properly understand what kind of answer the examiners are really looking for. Or maybe his handwriting will be too messy to read. You on the other hand can take more care and avoid these traps. And don't use correction fluid (that stuff could be blotting out the right answer); instead leave plenty of space in case you need to make corrections later (this isn't the time to save paper). Remember too that if the exam is particularly hard the marks will likely be moderated upwards. If you enjoy your chosen subject, this might offset the adrenaline somewhat. Don't worry too much about the marks you can't get, but pick up the ones you can. The system may be broken, but we can still try to make the best of a bad job. But whatever happens, never think your true worth depends on some 'imperfect but best we can do' examination system.

进一步阅读有关应付压力的资料 (我知道这个出版社有宗教的而不同的人有不同的宗教看法,但我觉得那篇文章无可指摘)
Further reading about stress in general (I'm aware the publisher is religious and there are different religious opinions, but it's hard to fault that article)


All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.
Usual disclaimers apply; this is not legal or medical advice.