my name is natalia. I am a Phd candidate at the radboud university nijmegen medical centre, nijmegen, the netherlands. in daily life, i do research in computational psychiatry. in free time, i go dancing, hiking, investing and blogging.

All these exams

Just because of boredom and too much free time, today I will dig a bit in memory, and share a list of the weirdest exams I ever had. I was studying extensively in Warsaw, where I was going through three Master programs at a time. Throughout my studies, I experienced a lot of less and more painful exams. Some were funny, some were nerve wrecking. I think the fact that I had such a long list of exams and qualifications to take, might play a positive role on the general stress resilience. So, the list of most weird exams is as follows:

[1] Exam to Mensa, high school. At some point in high school, I came up with the great idea to join the Mensa association, in hope to find interesting and inspiring new friends there. My dreams were shuttered instantly, when I just entered the exam, and the chairman of Mensa appeared on the scene to welcome us before the test. ‘I personally think that recruitment tests are way too simple, every idiot can pass’ - he said. - ‘But unfortunately these are the rules and we have to let you in anyway, so good luck’. I never made any friends in Mensa somehow. 

[2] Exam to the primary school. When your parents in Poland are willing to send you to school as a six-year-old and not a seven-year-old, you need to pass a special test. My parents were intending to do this, therefore I had to get a professional evaluation of learning capabilities at the age of five. The exam was a five hours (!) long, one-to-one testing with an experimenter, and she did not let me out for a break even though I had a fever on that day. That was probably the hardest exam I ever passed, just because it was hard at so many levels at a time. To be honest, everything else was more or less simple to pass ever since.

[3] Exam in sexology, fourth year of Psychology. Sexology was just one of the regular courses at the Faculty of Psychology at a time I was studying in Warsaw. Nothing special, really: for most of the time, we were memorising long textbook lists of fetishisms and deviations known in medical literature. There are thousands of these, apparently. The whole course was quite boring, except for the exam. So, the big day finally has come. There were around 70 students at the course, but the exam was oral and took just one afternoon in total. So, all students, which were almost all girls, were going into the professor’s office one by one, staying inside for around three minutes, and coming out with the best grade in their index, and completely red on their faces. ‘Damn, what is happening here?’ - I thought in terror. Then my turn has come, and I had no choice but to enter the room. I was stressed and embarrassed, but the professor was just sitting behind his desk and smiling politely. ‘I will ask you just one question, the same as I ask everybody else’ - so he said. - ‘What is sex?’ Of course, once you have armoured yourself with a detailed knowledge upon biological underpinnings of transsexualism or a long list of crime-generating dangerous deviations, that question is like a kick between the eyes. I think I left a room the same red on my face as anybody else. And with the same grade.

[4] Exam for a Driving License. Driving License industry is a highly bribed industry in Poland. Well, I never paid the bribe, so I got blacklisted and had a hard time trying to pass. In Poland, you need to pass theoretical tests, then some tests on the parking, and then, after you have that done, you can go downtown with the examiner sitting next to you - and that person is the one who usually expects the bribe. One of the examiners was particularly pissed at the lack of envelope in my hands. I not only failed the test for nothing, but when he took over the driving wheel. he went through a roundabout straight ahead, through the grass and the flowers on the way back to the office. What a moron.

About the effects of living in a nice country