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Being the ‘external examiner’

By on Apr 5, 2008 | 0 comments

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Here is one of the rare posts that will start with word ‘Life’. Don’t run away.

Life :mrgreen: is full of unexpected stuff. Today, couple of my friends wanted me to accompany them on a ride to their engineering college (few kilometres from the city). I said yes right away and four of us left the city on motorbikes.

To my surprise, the college had couple of posh buildings & modern infrastructure. We roamed around the campus and it felt great. It always feels to go to engineering college – it makes you nostalgic.

So, while we were about to leave; the head clerk of the college asked us if all four of us can be the ‘external examiners’ for the college practicals (exam).
We said yes; and we were in!

I was asked to sign few documents, envelopes and forms. I signed them and then I was taken to the Electrical Machines Lab.

I could see five teams performing the practicals. The ‘internal examiner’ asked me if I’d like to interview the students on-spot. I said yes and joined the group.

Students looked relaxed, curious, surprised (I told you, I look so young! Duh!) & shocked all at the same time. They did not expect a young looking (btw, I’m young!) fella to examine them.

Now it’s been over 4 years since I graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I haven’t been in touch with electricity (literally) since then. But I know the art of asking ‘brilliant’ questions. I got started –

Big K: Good afternoon, everyone. How are you all doing?
Group: Heh. (Smile)
Big K: Okay, what’s the title of your experiement?
Groups: Studying the characteristics of blab hah
Big K: Okay, good (good?). May I have a look at the circuit diagram? You (pointing figure at the girl on the right), can you explain the whole setup to me?
Girl: Yep. (Explains). [Big K pays attention]
Girl gets confused half-way through her explanation.
Girl: umm….the Ammeter is connected in series with the motor…
Big K: Okay, (pointing figure at guy on the extreme left) tell me, what is this “residual flux”?
Guy: [Stares at the circuit diagram for few seconds, then at the ceiling fan, then at me for few seconds]. Sir…its there… in the generator…oh …umm..
Big K: Are you sure?
Big K: What about you? (pointing at next guy). Tell me?
Guy II: (explains without a break; continues till it gets boring).
Big K: Okay. Explain the graph….what if I vary the inductance from min to max? ….Tell me why is this graph not a straight line? What does that tell you? …What if I swap the star with delta? What did you learn from the experiment? Blah blah.

[Continues to ask the similar set of questions to rest of the groups]


Smarter guy (SG) from the Group I whom I confused with my questions and made him doubt his basic knowledge of electrical engineering [thanks to the art of asking questions]–
SG: Sir, sir ……sirr…
Big K: Yes?
SG: Sir, please tell me why …
Big K: 😯 (Now how to hide the fact that Big K himself has forgotten few things :mrgreen: ) ..umm.. that’s pretty basic! Just have a look at …
Big K: uffhhfff(relief: Managed to escape a difficult situation that could have been embarrassing).
Internal examiner (IE): (Who now thinks that I’m a Ph.D Gold medallist in electrical engineering) Sir…
Big K: Oh, don’t call me ‘sir’. I’ve not yet been knighted. Ha ha ..
IE: Ha ha.. (others) ha ha ..
IE: Thank you for sparing your time. It was nice to have you examine our students.
Big K: It’s my pleasure. 🙂 , thank you!


So, I had an unexpected, amazing experience. At the same time, I felt bad for our education system and administration.

The Big K

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