Two continents, same exams

LSHTM logoFeeling rather elated this week as I have just finished my two hardest exams of the year, Basic Epidemiology and Basic Statistics for Public Health and Policy. I honestly have not properly got to grips with being able to adequately answer and exam question until pretty recently, as work has got in the way. Well, a combination of work and some rather lovely weekends taking in all that Jordan has to offer, a spectacular country. It is rather ironic though thinking that I have neglected my public health studies in part due to all the work I’ve been doing on an assessment related to health, for which I was proud to be able to finally do a chi squared test, thanks to this course!

I had originally intended to take all my exams in Amman, but then realized a friend’s wedding, in the UK, was the day before Epidemiology. The university was extremely kind about this and allowed me to change where I sat this exam very last minute, the upshot of which is that last Monday I sat my epidemiology exam in London, on Tuesday I flew to Amman, and on Wednesday, I sat my statistics exam at the British Council here.

Barbican Centre, London

From the Barbican in London…

It’s quite an amazing experience sitting exams for the same course in such different settings and yet everything going so smoothly. In London there were several other people taking the same exam as me at the Barbican, the guy in front seeming rather confident and leaving well before our time was up to my consternation, the huge hall reminding me of my undergraduate days. In Amman, merely a small, carpeted room, four people doing different exams from me, the one man who was supposed to be sitting the same exam as me having failed to turn up. I celebrated finishing them in London by buying some one pound cans of Polish beer from the corner shop, in Amman I celebrated by eating vast quantities of Armenian food and then smoking an Nargileh (sheesha pipe).

Amman, Jordan

… to Amman, Jordan.

It made me realize what an awesome feat of logisitics it must be, doing the DL course. That these people all around the world can have the same exam, on the same day. As I was standing up from my statistics exam in Amman very probably exactly the same students whom I had sat next to for epidemiology in London were reading through their statistics exam. And now my exam paper will slowly be posted off to meet its comrade in London, soon to be followed by the last. An epic undertaking, from so many countries, in so many time zones. And hundreds of students each in different temperatures, rooms, cultural contexts and with different celebratory plans for afterwards, all pondering exactly how to analyse the potential benefits of eating olive oil on heart disease.

I must say I do find it rather beautiful. Hello all my distance learning colleagues. Inshallah we will all pass!

Nadia is studying the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health by distance learning. She is originally from the UK but lives in Jordan as an aid worker.

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