Friday, August 19, 2011

Speaking Test: Candidates, Take Care of Your Cell Phones!

Candidates should take care of their hand-phones throughout the course of the Speaking test.  As the candidates enter the quarantine room one of the first things that they have to do is surrender their hand phones to the supervisor who will then pass them to the examiners.  The examiners will return the phones to the candidates when they have finished the Speaking test.  There is some sort of "Phones Galore" during the test.  The candidates, especially the private candidates, possessed all kinds of cell phones.   Among them are the sophisticated and expensive ones such as the touch screens and smart phones.
One day, a MUET Speaking candidate lost his hand-phone.  Everybody was surprised.   There were no safety precautions as it was deemed unnecessary.  The incidence happened in a university's MUET Speaking center.  Sorry, I cannot tell you which one.  As the MUET procedures went - the candidates were "quarantined" or segregated in a room to prevent communication with outsiders and those who have just finished taking the test.  Those people can tell what questions were given and other forms of assistance that are uncalled for.

Back to the story.  The surrendered cell phones were brought into the test room and kept by the examiners.  They were placed on a desk.  When the candidates finished the test they could claim their cell phones and go out.  What happened next was - one unscrupulous candidate stole a cell phone and walked out confidently without raising any suspicion.  He must have acted so "naturally".  Imagine that, that person, arriving with an old "outdated" phone (or, worse still - without a hand phone!) and then came out with a new sophisticated "smart phone".  That was a very good catch indeed!

When the owner of that phone came to claim his hand phone it was already gone.  It was not on the cell phone's table.  They did not have any clue as to who was the thief.

The examiners and the examination syndicate are not responsible for candidates' hand phones.  The job of the examiners is to carry out the speaking tests.  Taking care of their cell phones is the sole responsibility of the candidates.  When the examiners take the cell phones for "temporary custody" that does not mean that they should run a risk just to take care of the phones.  Therefore, it is advisable for the candidates to come to the Speaking test without their hand phones.