Why did Helen feel that exams were the chief bugbears of her college life ?
With both truth and humor, Helen describes the act of test-taking in the last six paragraphs of Chapter 20. She loves to learn new material. But she despises tests. She talks about studying for them, spending time cramming before them, and trying to prepare by stuffing every bit of information into her brain. Then when the test time comes, she’s faced with questions about people (for instance) that she cannot remember ever hearing of. “You are amazed at all the things you know which are not on the examination paper,” she says. She puzzles over the possible answers. And then the call comes that the time is up and the test is over. It’s an exasperating situation. And she’s absolutely right: it can be this way. She feels like many of the rest of us feel when we study and take tests on difficult subject matters. We can relate to her plight. What’s most interesting about this story is that she never references here how much more difficult her particular challenge is. She cannot see the test questions and must use adaptive methods to both “read” the questions and to answer them within the allotted time period. The fact that she succeeds at all is still amazing to us today.