Friday, 12 April 2013

Update + Rant on ELPE

WARNING: Slightly long post with no visuals follows. Readers discretion is advised.

So, how long has it been since the last update from me? Probably not long, right? My buddy did make a post about SMASH just a couple days ago and I think that managed to bring in quite a bit of readers LOL. Anyways, if she's been slow it's mainly because school is annoying and she's been really into "Smiling Pasta" and "Ouran High School" lately, but I'm sure she'll tell you more about that some other time.

Me? I've been schooling and lazing around, as per usual. It's currently the exam period and I already finished two final exams which I think I did okay on. I have three more and those three are probably going to be the death of me. I should probably get back to studying but I just need a moment to rant to the World about why the ELPE is stupid.

The following is what happened:
So basically, the ELPE is the English Language Proficiency Exam administrated by the University of Waterloo every year. All first year students must write it and pass, with passing grades being 60% or 65% depending on your program. For this last week, I've been focusing all my energy into studying for my French final exam and I pretty much did nothing else. The ELPE was scheduled to be written the day before my final for French. Since I figured an English exam can't be anything too bad, I didn't "prepare" for it as it was suggested many times by the university. Plus, I figure my English skills, albeit not the best, was still good enough for me to get a 65% on the ELPE. I mean, I did the Literacy Test that was administrated by the damn government back in grade 10, and I killed that with a 98%. This? This ain't got nothin' on me bro.

Go into exam. Write the exam. Finished the exam feeling slightly less confident but still sure I passed. Then, it clicked.

"Oh shit, they asked for two body paragraphs. I wrote four because I split up my two arguments. Each paragraph needs 5-8 sentences and I don't know if some of mines had 5 sentences considering I split up my arguments. Oh crap. There goes a bunch of marks. Plus, it's not like the quality of my work is the best either. Damn it all. I failed."

And so I've begun the terrible phase after my tests/exams where I feel like absolute crap because I'm convince I failed.

Now, ELPE, you want an essay, right? Here you go. The way you want it.

A (slightly informal) essay on why the ELPE needs to be abolished: 

Every year for as long as I can remember, I've heard people tell me the value of time, the value of planet Earth and the conservation of trees, and that tests scores are not an effective way of measuring one's true abilities. With that in mind, I wish to inform all readers that the ELPE test contradicts all those principles that I have been told for a very long time. This exam wastes not only my time, but the creator's time. It also destroys innocent trees that could have been used for better and more effective purposes that will further benefit our livelihood. Lastly, the way in which it measures my proficiency in English is not accurate and in no way indicates my true potential. Therefore, the ELPE needs to be eliminated by the administration.

The first reason, and probably one of the most important reason, as to why the ELPE is ridiculous is because it is a waste of time. It is a waste of time for all participants to this exam, whether they created it or they wrote it. First, let's focus on why it is a waste of my time. For me, a native English speaker, to be tested on her English proficiency is just plain silly. One of the main requirements for me to become an Arts student at the University of Waterloo is to have a grade 12 English mark of above 80%. An 80%, as known by all students, parents, and administration, indicates that a student is at an above average level for that particular course. If that was the case, and was one of the basic requirements for me to attend classes at this university, then I feel like my English skills should not be doubted by the administrators of this exam. Although the time used to write this exam was not long, that one hour that it took could have been dedicated to me doing something I either enjoyed or studying for my important final exam the following day. Secondly, it is also a waste of the administrators of this exam's time. The time wasted on creating topic questions for students to answer, the time wasted on printing out thousands of sheets of paper for each student, the time to set up the exam are just a few examples of the large quantities of time wasted on overseeing an overly-elaborate exam that can only be described as "useless". This whole exam, as known by almost every student, is basically directed at the large amount of international students who are at this university. If it is them that the ELPE is targeting, why not waste less time selecting the international students and only presenting them with the exam? However, even then, I strongly believe that the completion and passing of the ELPE for international students is a waste of time. From my understanding, the international students that come here must pass some sort of English proficiency test to be admitted into the school. I don't know too much about it, but I believe the exam is called a TOEFL test or something along those lines. Now, let's assume you failed the ELPE. If this was to happen, you have to make an appointment with a tutor who will review the exam with you and then you'd have to rewrite it, take writing sessions, or complete an entire course on writing. If that's not a waste of time, then I don't know what is. Thus, this concludes my argument as to why the ELPE is a waste of time for native-English speakers, for international students, and for the creators of this exam and in consequence, should be eliminated.

Oh, was that over 5-8 sentences? Oh well. 

The second reason as to why the ELPE should be terminated is because it is a waste of trees. Each student is presented with one sheet of paper which indicate the instructions and the topic questions they can choose from. On top of that, each student is presented with an exam booklet that contains blank lined-paper inside. Each booklet has approximately eight pages. There were supposedly over nine hundred Arts students writing the exam at the same time I was. Now, I'll assume there are five other faculties. If there are six faculties in total, and each faculty had an average of seven hundred and fifty students, that would mean that there are approximately four thousand five hundred students annually who write this exam. Each student has a booklet with eight pages, so that's thirty six thousand sheets of paper. Let's throw on the instruction sheet which is another forty-five hundred sheets of paper. I'll drop 10,000 in the number, and say that the final number comes to about 30,000 pieces of paper. Now, I don't work with the paper mill, but I do know that 30,000 pieces of paper is quite a bit considering it's used for an exam that is of no worth. How many rolls of toilet paper is that? How many books can be made from that? How many useful notices can be placed on bulletin boards from that? How many times can I wipe my nose with napkins from those thirty thousand sheets of paper? The answer is simply, "too many". Hence, because the ELPE goes against a very big issue in today's society, the idea of conserving the environment, we must exclude this exam from existing in the future.

Sorry, that was probably over 8 sentences as well. Should I split that up? Probably not.

Lastly, I feel that the way in which this exam measures my abilities in English is not a true indication of my real potential. This informal essay I am currently writing is also not a good representation of my true potential and this is already ten times better than my work that I presented to the university for further judgement. When I'm assigned essays to be written in school, I often have over two weeks to complete the work. By that time, I would have time to properly present my ideas in a respectable and coherent manner. I will have the time to edit my work and get it proof-read by many reliable people and be able to present it to the teacher or professor with my best foot forward. However, even in those circumstances, I may still not be able to achieve an amazing grade. If I can have all the time in the world, I may still not be capable of writing the "World's best essay", so who actually thinks that I can produce something of good quality in an hour or less? In this day and age, everything can be done on the computer. With the amount of time I dedicate to Skyping with my friends everyday and blogging, I can now achieve a typing speed of over 80 WPM, if I really focus. Writing though, I can't say I'm as skilled. Perhaps it's because I don't write often, or maybe my overweight hand can't seem to go as fast as I would want it to. What I'm really trying to say though is: Given one hour to write about a topic I don't feel passionate about, with no aid from a keyboard, I'm just bound to not produce quality work. Therefore, I don't feel like I should be judged on something that I didn't put my 100% into. As a result, the ELPE should be made invalid because it does not show one's true potential.

For the reasons stated above, it is apparent that the ELPE should be abolished. It is not a good representation of my true capabilities as I am limited in time and resources. Furthermore, it goes against important environment conservation principles that our World is strongly promoting in recent years. Lastly, it is a waste of time for all exam creators and takers as it unnecessary for administrators to create these exams, and for writers to participate in an exam that we do not need to prove ourselves for. As students who barely have time to eat, as protectors of our planet, and as competent and literate pupils, we should not stand by and let the school determine whether we are capable of handling the English language.

Thank you.

And there you have it. An essay by me written in one hour (on the computer). 

See, the thing is...

Results aren't up yet so me failing is all just the hypothesis of a overly-paranoid student who thinks she's horrible at everything she does. However, whatever the outcome, I stand by my words. I don't believe in the ELPE and I think that even if I had to go through it, I don't want future students to have to endure it as well. 

Maybe I might have been a bit aggressive with the things I said but if there's one thing you take from this long-ass post... "The ELPE is annoying and should be abolished." 

"Abolish the orgasm!" - George Orwell, 1984

Wait, that's not right, is it?

Anyways, here's a reward for reading that long rant/essay: 

My hubby's recently been back with his new song, "Joah".
Give it a listen.
Feel good music. 

- Dee

P.S: For anyone reading this and wants to challenge me on any points, please do so. I love a good debate. Prepares me for a future in law, ya'know? 

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