Genuine Miracle December 13, 2006
I experienced a miracle today. At 10:30 in the morning, I went and took a computer science final that was crucial to determining my final grade. I haven’t been doing well in the class at all for most of the quarter, so I was pretty nervous going into this test. I’ve spent weeks studying hard and praying…
Now I’m going to share the testimony of what happened, so I can always look back on this day and remember God’s awesome power and mercy.
As many of you probably already know, I spent a LOT of time this quarter working on my project/business Photoblog.com. As a result of having less time for school, I’ve felt pretty unprepared going into midterms throughout the quarter.
I felt really good going into the first computer science midterm this quarter, but when the exam was returned, I found out I had gotten a 65/150. That score was ranked 29 in a class that had about 50-60 people… I had never done so poorly on a test before, and many of us spent a long time complaining and lamenting on how unfair the grading was. It seemed like the grader gave no partial credit at all, no matter how close the answer was to the key.
After looking at my exam, I realized that I had made a LARGE number of really small mistakes that took away a LARGE number of points. In previous classes, this wouldn’t have been as much of a problem, but this all-or-nothing type of grading really killed me.
Throughout most of the quarter, I was one of the lower ranked students. However, I knew that there was 2 tests and 1 program remaining. And I resolved to attempt a comeback.
The last two weeks of this class seemed like some sort of archery championship, where I was down so much that I had to make three bulls-eyes in a row to survive and salvage my previous mistakes.
With only two or three weeks left in the quarter. I started giving school my full attention, and working as hard as I could. I would say I had never worked harder in my life, but last year I remember working pretty hard for chemistry also… Haha. Also, I felt like I was going against an insurmountable task of salvaging an A. In math, I had also received a 38/60 on the third midterm, which brought my average in the class from around 88% down to a 78%.
The last program in ECS was a challenge program that graded our program not only on completeness and functionality, but also on how it performed compared to the teachers perfect solution. The average in past years for this program was around a 0. The average this quarter was about 0 also, but God gave me the strength to work (sometimes from 9am to 11:30pm) on finishing this program. Only about 8 people received points for this program, and my partner and I got a 35/50.
The second midterm was also graded more fairly compared to the first. God helped me study really hard, and I paid attention to small details this time. I ended up receiving a 129/150, which was ranked 3rd in the class.
Near the end of the quarter, rumors started going around that some people were cheating on their programs by using solution code from previous quarters. I talked to the professor about this, and he informed me that he had in fact referred several students to Student Judicial Affairs due to this. This gave my partner and I some encouragement, knowing that some of the high scores might be removed, thus lowering the curve for us.
In studying for the final two tests, I went over all the small details I could think of, doing each of the practice exams multiple times. I did the second midterm practice exam questions about 6-7 times each, using up a day and a half of my studying.
In the days leading up to the final for this class, I felt extremely unsure of how I was going to end up doing in the class (gradewise). I asked the professor whether getting above average would guarantee a student a B-, but he said it wasn’t something he did.
The final exam was tricky, and I know I made mistakes. The trickiest thing on these tests is the fact that we need to write an essay, planning out the data structure solution to various problems. It was this essay that killed me on the first midterm, after I received 0 points on two of the essay sections.
I wasn’t sure of my answer on the final, but I wrote down everything I knew to the best of my ability. I checked over my exam twice after finishing it, prayed about the class, and then turned it in. My grade in this class would hinge on how the exam was graded, and whether I made small mistakes.
The midterms this quarter each took about a week to be graded and then returned to us, so I expected to receive my results next week.
However, as I talked to some classmates and my partner Ross later that night, one of us suddenly noticed that the grades were being posted. I couldn’t believe it. They graded the massive final exams in the course of a single day.
We all spent quite some time staring at the grade chart, refreshing it every so often to see if our grade was among the most recent batch of grades they entered. When my grade popped up, it was 230/290… Not the best performance, it said I was currently ranked 2nd out of the grades entered so far.
We couldn’t see how many grades had been entered, so we just kept refreshing to see if the “high score” or our rank would change, indicating a new batch of grades. However, these didn’t change, and it seemed like the entering of grades had stopped. Since the distribution charts weren’t showing up, we assumed that they had only entered a portion of the grades, and were going to enter the rest at a later date. After a long time of staring and refreshing, I stopped and started studying for my physics test.
Suddenly, a classmate messaged me and told me that final class grades were posted! I couldn’t believe it. I went to the website as quickly as I could, and scrolled down to the bottom of the page.
I let out a HUGE shout after I saw my grade.
Down at the very bottom of the page, next to “Final Grade”, said “A+”.
I couldn’t believe it.
A+’s are reserved for the top student in each computer science class… I later learned that I had in fact ranked 2nd on the final exam, which was 34% of our grade. I ranked 7th on the homework, 9th on the programs, and 13th on the midterms. God saved me in this class by helping me study hard for the final exam. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected the A+. I was actually hoping for nothing less than a B. Out of a quarter of sheer chaos, God helped me to end a third computer science class as top student.
I hope no one reading this extremely long post tastes a hint of pride or boastfulness. Without God, I would not have been able to survive, but with God, all things are possible.
I look forward to looking back on this post in my later years, reflecting on how much mercy God had on me, when I felt like I could do nothing.