Practical Exams@DCE

Even before starting, i can say this one's is going to be a bit longer. Our practical exams used to be so happening that i can think of numerous funny incidents at the moment.

Electronics and Communication had total 120 students, divided in two batches of 60 each. Let me call the two batches ECE1 and ECE2. Alphabetically, i was in ECE2. For the practical exams, two days were assigned for each subject, one day for ECE1 and usually the next day for ECE2. Each day was divided into three slots: 8:30-11:30, 11:30-2:30, 2:30-5:30 and the 60 students were further divided into three batches of 20 each. I used to be in 8:30-11:30 slot of the second day of the practical exam. Our preparations always relied heavily on the experiences of ECE1 people who kept us updated all the time. Being in the earliest of the three slots had its own pros and cons. Our examiners were too tardy to reach college by 8:30 and usually they would instruct the lab attendants to assign us the practicals so that we could start filling our sheets. In the absence of the examiners, completing the written part or even performing the experiment was not burdensome. The lab attendants were also quite cooperative and had no problems with our discussions as long as they were not noisy. The one and only difficult part was VIVA. Our examiners used to take viva in groups of four-five students. Here are some "excerpts" from our vivas....

Electronics workshop viva:
The examiner points to a switch placed at the bottom of the wall and asks me "What kind of current does that switch support??" Engineers follow a funny but a very useful rule during their exams/vivas. It states: when you do not know about the tree, tie a goat to it and explain about the goat. I try to use this principle. "Sir, one of the terminals of this switch is for earthing....", he immediately interrupts me, "I am asking about the current. What kind of current??". After thinking for two-three seconds i say "Sir three-phase current". He smiles sarcastically and i feel like asking him "Why the hell do you ask such questions that you know i won't know!!"

Digital Circuits and systems viva:
Three of us come and sit before the examiner. He gives us a sheet each and says, "Design a full-adder using a multiplexer with active-low outputs". I feel happy as i know it. The guy sitting in the middle seems to be confused. Although he knows that the people sitting adjacent to him know the correct answer and just by moving his head 45 degrees to the left or right even he could know it. I and the third guy do not even try to hide our answer sheets. But look at his plight. The examiner is right in front of him and hence he cannot even try to avail this opportunity!!

Linear Integrated Circuits viva:
Again the examiner calls us in a group of three. He asks the first person, "What are the ideal characteristics of an Opamp??" "Shit i know it", I tell myself. He tells the second person, "Draw the circuit diagram of a schmitt trigger and explain the working". I know this one as well. Finally he asks me, "What are the different stages of an Opamp, draw the circuit diagram and explain". I am clueless. I remember some people were cramming it before the practical, but i didn't pay much attention. I try to frame my answer using some terms that i vaguely remember. On hearing my answer, the examiner says, "lagta hai aapne zyaada classes attend nahi ki". Alas!! I wish i hadn't attended his hopeless classes. The outcome would have remained unchanged!!

Microwaves viva:
Four of us sit before the examiner. He asks a bouncer question related to transmission lines and characteristic impedance to everyone. All of us look at each other and see blank faces. It is somehow comforting to see so many blank faces. All of us pretend to think hard as if we were almost there on that particular page(in the book) but just missed out those lines!! Suddenly someone gives a distantly relevant answer(using the tree and goat rule.. :D). Immediately, all of us start speaking about some distantly relevant terms to make the examiner feel we do know a few things if not everything!! :D

These were just some of the many such vivas. It didn't take us much time to get used to the humiliation. The moment we would move out of the lab, our friends and classmates from the next batch would literally mob us to know how bad the viva was and we would narrate the same story over and over again!! I had written a poem after one such viva...

The plight of every engineering student,
duffer, intelligent, ignorant or prudent,
the real cause of anxiety and fear,
the VIVA is overtly hard to bear,
Anticipating a volley of questions unknown,
trying to recollect the knowledge to be shown,
we pray to get a decent grade,
alas! the knowledge seems to fade,
As the duration of viva lengthens,
the nervousness of others strengthens,
some try to chill and ignore,
while some try to cram some more,
only to find themselves dejected,
as usually the viva is unexpected,
we try to forget the professors' taunts,
but the haunted vivas continue to haunt.....
So friends, the only way to face the hell,
is seeti bajake bol bhaiyya


  1. Reading this at 1:42am!! Totally worth it!

    It was funny that when we were reciting our exam tales u decided to silently share the link to this on whatsapp! :D

    1. Haha! Thanks Naman! Actually my writing skills are better than my narration skills! :D