Today I sat an AWS exam at home. I received a lot of good luck messages from folks wishing me well.
The gods had other ideas, dear reader.
For remotely administered exams, there are a number of behavioural rules. You cannot have your phone, watch, books or paper in the same room as you. Before the exam, you take photographs from all angles to prove your room is secure.
Having made my dining room a secure space, I opened the window to let some air in and got myself a drink.
The exam software shuts down all your other applications and has your camera and microphone permanently turned on. If you read out a question to yourself, you will be issued a warning. If you leave the camera for any reason, then you are instantly failed.
I had to stay in one place and not utter a word.
I wasn’t worried about the talking rule as my kids were at school and Alison was on a plane to London. I had the house to myself for the next four hours. The exam would be during the next two hours. No problem, it’s just me and the sound of birds happily chirping outside.
After a friendly chat with the ‘proctor’ who is watching me, I started Question 1.
“A VPC has two public and”……
“To secure the Database.”
My next-door neighbour had chosen this precise moment to start up a pneumatic drill to dig up their concrete patio. I reread the question.
Argh! After about 10 minutes, I was able to collect myself, ignore the drilling sound and consider the question.
Question 5. “Your data retention policy says…”
The front door opens
No one else has a key. Did I leave the front door unlocked? Who is in my house!
rushed footsteps go upstairs
Am I being robbed? I’m not allowed to leave my seat!
If I had my heart rate monitor on, it would think I’ve just started an exercise.
THUD. BANG. The intruder had entered the living room.
“Hi, my plane was cancelled.”
Alison is speaking to her office colleagues loudly, without headphones. I get a message from the proctor telling me I’ve received a warning for chatting. I explain that my wife has unexpectedly come home and is speaking to her staff. I ask: “Can I please go and ask her to be quiet?”
No. The proctor says I may shout to her, though.
Fear has turned to anger now. Alison knew I was doing an exam and is being super noisy; she’s even turned the TV on now too.
At this point, I remember I’m being filmed, so I have to choose my words wisely rather than release the incandescent rage building up inside me as I realise I’ve not answered a question in 15 minutes.
Thankfully, having over 30 years experience being British has prepared me well for highlighting displeasure in the politest of tones.
ALISON. I’M IN AN EXAM. PLEASE CAN YOU REMAIN QUIET?
I hear back, “I’M WORKING!”
THAT’S NICE ALISON, BUT I CANNOT HAVE CHATTER HERE SO CAN YOU PLEASE WORK SOMEWHERE QUIETER WITH HEADPHONES.
That did the trick.
I managed to start reading and comprehending whole sentences after that, I didn’t have enough time to review my answers, but I was glad to complete all of them.
For this sort of exam, you get an instant pass or fail when you finish.
I had passed, dear reader.