Things I Learned in College: Exams

Ah, exams…

Quizzes, papers, midterms, practicums, finals, you name it. We all dread doing them, let alone preparing for them.

They’re horrible, really. The amount of stress and hair-pulling and agonizing over whether we have actually learned something in our classes during the term, then applying them well on our exams and papers.

Sleepless nights and zombie mornings don’t help, either. Caffeine has never looked so appealing until now.

And it’s god-awful when you have to cram ten to fifteen weeks of material into 24 hours, because you had decided to procrastinate up until now. You’re mentally kicking yourself for having gone this far and not learning from the last fiasco during freshman year.

Even when you start studying early and on-time with paper deadlines, the process still isn’t a cake-walk, either. Pouring all of those hours into crafting and perfecting your 15 to 20-page thesis paper felt like pulling (no, ripping) your nails deliberately from your fingers and making a bloody mess (ew, gross imagery. I apologize). 😛

Those hours of reading and re-reading the materials for your class is, figuratively-speaking, painful as hell. Not only are they super dense and boring, but also you’re not getting it. You’re reading them, but just that; nothing is sinking in. And you have to understand it, because your grade depends on it. The struggle is real…

I can relate. Being in the educational institution for almost four years now, I can say that I’ve experienced many instances of this test-taking dilemma. From my early years as a science major up until now as an English major, there has never been a time when I wasn’t under some sort of stress, although the magnitude of it depended on my circumstances. For instance, I was pulling hairs and near all-nighters in the Sciences, crash-coursing three, hefty chapters in my organic chemistry textbook in two days- before the midterm exam. I pulled it off, but man, it was still horrible. And even when I switched over to the Humanities, I still had a couple cases of near all-nighters with paper assignments. Basically, I’d changed my thesis completely within a span of sixteen hours, and so I had to rewrite everything into a 5-page paper. Which doesn’t sound like much, but really, it is.

If asked whether I prefer writing essays or taking in-class exams, I would say the former, just because I can do it on my own accord and, when ready, turn it in sans problem. I prefer writing much over answering multiple choice questions (which I’m not-so-good at), or rote-memorization. At least in the case of my professors, I can turn in my papers early, so once I finish, I can submit them and get them over with.

Currently, I’m in the process of finishing up my Fall term. Luckily, out of the five classes that I’m taking, I only have one in-class final on Wednesday. The rest are papers, which I’ve pretty much completed ahead of time (no procrastination for me!). This term has been very kind on me, and I hope that I pass my classes with flying colors (if you would pardon the cliché).

That being said, exams and papers are a pain to do, but they need to get done, anyway. And with that, I wish you well on your own exams. We shall succeed! 🙂

– The Finicky Cynic



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