Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Dotting and Crossing


I have spent the morning in an exam, don’t ask what on, I won’t tell you (sorry, it’s half a story, I know)

It’s the first time I have ever sat down at a proper, grown up exam, that starts at the top of the page and goes on and on, until, you either run out of time, things to compare and contrast, apply theory to, or just waffle about.

Readers who have been calling here for a while, will know, that I don’t like writing without the comfort blanket of Microsoft Office and the F7 button, I’ll stand up and talk to and for England; but ask me to put pen to paper, it brings up all sorts of demons. So you can imagine I wasn’t looking forward to the exam; now that my dyslexia has a piece of paper to prove it’s existence (and we could debate that topic ’till the cows come home, but please not now) I have an entitlement to some extra time in exams, to check my work. I must admit I was glad of it and used every second.

I wasn’t alone, another candidate was in the same situation and we placed ourselves at the front of the examination room as far away as possible from the door, so that when everyone else left, it would be less distracting for us. So when the time came and the invigilator said ‘ Everyone, put down your pens, except the two candidates with additional time.’ And everyone else filed quietly out of the room, before bursting into relieved and excited chatter as they dispersed down the corridor, I was transported back to being a child again, its a beautiful summers day, I am still inside the classroom redoing my work, my classmates are out in the sunshine, playing.

I hate my hand writing, its not good at the best of times, but under pressure, like this morning I like it even less, and whilst I’ve got used to writing essays, assignments and reports over the last few years, and goodness, I’ve even been known to enjoy it, but it’s only because I can ‘cut and paste’, edit and generally tidy things up; but no matter how hard I try, I remain convinced my messy writing and poor spelling, will have antagonized the examiner and the outcome will come back to not what I have written but how I’ve written it.

Rereading my work at the end of the exam, I discovered that my writing of the word ‘that’ looked like ‘t*at’ (for * insert ‘w’) and you can see this makes the word takes on an entirely different meaning (overseas readers, on a need to know basis, can read a definition of t*at here.) So it was not just the ‘I’s’ that needed dotting and the ‘T’s’ that need crossing, the ‘W’s needed a bit of remedial work too.

So back home, and not one, but two fried egg butties and two mugs of steaming hot tea later, I am both replete and exhausted, but I am still going out to play.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

14 thoughts on “Dotting and Crossing

  1. Formal education and testing are so often designed as one-size-must-fit-all that it’s a wonder anyone survives the process. Sensible solutions like allowing extra time or using keyboards should be the norm. And when I am in charge of the universe . . .

    I’m sure you did fine on the exam. You also made me hungry so I have to go fry some eggs. Then maybe I’ll go out to play. What a good idea.

  2. Thanks for including the links to words such at “butties” – I had no clue! Fingers crossed for you on the exam results.

  3. I remember the police Inspector exam. Yuk. Nice to read a friendly Blog – Bystander has been so nasty and snobby about me recently! We used to call it an “egg banjo” for reasons which can be disclosed if necessary (hard to explain without hand movements).

  4. Hope the result comes back ok. Sounds like you deserve going out to play!

  5. Gerry; I’ll vote for you, as for the eggs it was about the only thing we had in the house, domestic duties have been somewhat ignored of late, but they just hit the mark
    Toni thanks, it will seem along wait.
    Gadget; I suppose my subject matter is on the lighter side of life; the very nature of yours tends to get people a little more ‘fired up’ and sadly ‘personal’ about it: that said someone took such exception to my grammatical errors that they felt the need to leave some very abusive and vitriolic comments.
    Whilst I am quite happy to engage in robust debate and take any (hopefully) constructive criticism on my blog, I decide to delete the comments as the person obviously had bigger issues in his own life, than just problems with other peoples poor spelling and grammar. 🙂
    But actually, I think he took exception to my comments on the appearance of men of a certain age and weight, not being flattered when wearing motorbike leathers.

  6. I remember that post!

  7. I suppose what I am trying to say, is that we may lash out at something, but it isn’t always the thing that has truly ‘got at us’.

  8. Hope you get the results you need for the exam! I wouldn’t worry about handwriting, during my A-Levels (about 8 years ago), my handwriting would slowly descend into a loopy scrawl as I tried in vain to get my papers finished. Still came out with good grades despite my spidery efforts, I think examiners are probably used to it 😉

    My sister is dyslexic, she used to spend hours trying to get everything perfect – one little mistake would cause her to start all over again. She hated exams, they just weren’t conducive to what she could actually do.

    For me, cheese on toast makes things better.

  9. Here’s to you! Many who have suffered in the past would not even attempt to write an exam…but you did, and that is something to be proud of in itself. 🙂

  10. Hey, Glo – that is such a good point! There is nothing so powerful as just plunging in . . . (I’m so philosophical when someone else is taking the risk. Must do something about getting myself in gear.)

    We all know Mrs. Uhdd is going to do well – perhaps in honor of the flamer(s) I should say “she’ll do good on that there test.” That’ll fix ’em.

  11. Hi there, and well done for putting yourself through the ordeal of the exam room. I know that if you have dyslexia then spelling, punctuation and handwriting can all challenging, and can let you down. But dyslexia or no, you still have a fantastic vocabulary, you write beautifully constructed sentences, and you have no end of fascinating insights and ideas. I don’t believe that all those things could have been obscured by the technicalities of writing. I am sure you shone through in the exam! I hope the result is the one you want. Good luck.

  12. While i do not know what exam you are doing, thier is one important thing to note – if your are dyslexic (and so am i) then thier is no reason you cannot do the entire exam on computer, using spell checkers and all

    I know this because I have, in everything up to and including a degree, now this may be harder its something like and acountancy exam or some such, but none the less try it!

    it may take a bit of wrangling with the exam board but it is perfectly douable


  13. For your next egg butty try duck eggs, for a change, with a little worcestershire sauce…………..marvellous.

  14. Thanks for the info Chris, think my typing might have to improve!

    WEB, that sounds rather tasty.

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