Comprehensive test is one of the tests that I must face to pass post graduate program. The test covers all the materials given during the lecturing time in three semesters. The materials tested are categorized into four major category i.e. 1) English as Foreign Language (relates to teaching methodology, curriculum design and language testing), 2) statistics (covers statistics in conducting quantitative research in education area), 3) Qualitative research and 4) Linguistics (consists of grammar, language in use and systemic functional grammar).
The test is carried out in a day. Each subject is given two hours to finish. The first is Statistics test. This is given as the first test as everyone will agree that statistics relates to counting, calculating, formulas, and other scary rejecting null hypothesis – using t table, degree of freedom and many other terms that cause us as students feel stress. There two part in this test. The first part is related to our understanding on quantitative research. We must get familiar with the terms relates to research such as ‘validity, internal/external validity, variable, control variable, scale and many more.
The second part of statistics test relates to our understanding and how to apply the statistical formula based on the problem given. We must fully understand basic calculation of finding mean, mode, median, range, standard deviation and also z score. Further, the problem is getting tougher, we must be able to formulate null hypothesis and test the null hypothesis at the level of significance of 1% or 5%.
Everyone tried their best. To my surprised, one of my friend complained “how can I finish all these six problems, doing the four had made me lost all my precious time!!” he sighed. I said, ‘didn’t you read? We may pick TWO out of FOUR problems given, and we must answer the first the two questions, so we did only four, not six.” He almost fell subconsciously; he regretted for he missed reading the instruction and did not able to answer the first two questions.
In stressful condition like this, even the brightest person made mistake. I myself worked very-very hard to answer the second part. I chose number three and four. Number three, it asked the basic calculation on statistics, whereas number four demanded one way annova. I did not know for sure whether my answers were right, I just answered as good as I could.
The second subject is Linguistics. It is not always easy to talk about grammar especially when you are asked to uninstall what you had known with new belief about grammar. Take an example, people around the globe believe that there at least 16 basic form of tenses. The major form is present tense, past tense, future tense and progressive tense. However, in my post graduate, to my surprise, it is said that there are only two tense: present and past period. Imagining the difficulties of grammar part, I feel so weak; I forget what I had learned on grammar in my semester 1. The problem doubles, semester two, ‘language in use’ was also another difficult subject. Some new terms relates to this subject such as deixis, gricerian theory, maxim, politeness, speech act, presupposition, implicature and many other difficult terms. The problem becomes perfect when semester three, we learned about systemic functional grammar (SFG) that see language as text started from clause not from the word. SFG also offers troubles to us, its new terms again burden us. The terms such as mood, transitivity, tenor, theme, rheme, tenor, field, genre.
The questions are around those materials that causes the students think hard to find the answer. Analyzing clause from its form and function and then from its Mood, transitivity and theme/rheme causes severe headache. Meanwhile asking us cohesive device used in the text also squeezes our brain. And, describing implicature from a conversation is not an easy task to do. I heard one of my friends explained the transitivity using agent-carrier, meanwhile I understood it as actor-process material- goal. My fried said,’ this cannot be ‘goal’, as nothing change by ‘process: material”. I bet you do not understand what I wrote here. To understand what I wrote you must read Systemic functional grammar from Halliday or Eggins. All the terms such as agent-actor- behaver- proces: material, verbal and many others are coined in their book. I could not argue with my friend, even though I disagree with him as ‘carrier’ usually appears in passive sentence, but I was also in doubt whether my understanding is right.
The third test is EFL methodology. The questions are five, but it needed more than four pages of folio paper to answer them. I did not understand how to answer question that related to eclective teaching. The second ambiguous question was that ‘suggest an evaluation program”, I did know how to respond to it. Did it mean summative test to evaluate students after a certain program finished, or curriculum cycles started from goal and ended with evaluation as a cycle to evaluate a program given in an institutional level. I remember my reading on Language testing book, it said that ‘the instruction/question must be clear’. I said to myself this is the unclear question that causes me to write without any confidence.
The last test is Qualitative Research. The questions were 30!! It divided into 3 parts. Each part had 10 questions, and of course it dried my head. Some terms I did not know. I did not blame myself, I just reflect, if my lecturer was the person who made these questions I would not find any difficulty to answer these 30 questions. I was given a lecturer who had high believe on his students, he declared that he did not need to explain anything as students can learn by themselves. The effect of this, we never study, we never meet our lecturer, and we did nothing for a semester. I understand qualitative research based on my readings.
The test is a kind of unforgettable moment for me. The reason is because it causes everyone forget the time, forget to eat, forget anything, just thinking how to answer the problem given. I could feel my right hand very numb as too much writing is done. I never thought that I would have this kind of test. I thought mid and final test are enough. Maybe comprehensive test is a test that differentiate post and under graduate.