Issue 12, Semester 1
By Steph Pullen
With exam season looming, preparation has begun. Free seats in the library are becoming rare. Social outings are few and far between. Caffeine intake has increased exponentially. The question ‘Why didn’t I just take my Arts degree and run?’ frequently crosses your mind.
Writing notes and doing practice exams mitigates most disasters, but unavoidable circumstances can sabotage even those who are thoroughly prepared. There is nothing better at relieving your own anxiety than hearing about someone else who had a terrible exam experience. So, I asked friends to share some of their most dramatic anecdotes.
‘I had two exams in the two days after the Labour Day weekend. I had studied for the first exam all weekend and planned to cram the second one after the first exam was over. On Tuesday after the long weekend I walked into the first exam. I sat down at my desk and looked at the paper. I was sitting in the wrong exam. I ran out of the hall and checked my timetable. The exam was on Labour Day and I had missed it. To make matters worse the subject I was going cram for that I thought was the next day was actually in 4 hours. Safe to say I didn’t do well in either subject.’
‘In the few days before my psychology exam, I got a really bad flu. I was so ill but I still wanted to sit the exam. Before I went into the hall I took a full dose each of two different types of strong flu medication. When I got in there I was completely spaced out. My hands were shaking. I could barely write. My head was buzzing. I read the questions five times and couldn’t figure out what they meant. I had overdosed on the drugs and made myself high. It was a miracle I didn’t fail.’
‘On the morning of a maths exam I realised I didn’t have a scientific calculator. I had been borrowing a friend’s calculator to practise, but they needed it back. An hour before the exam I had to go around and beg the tutors to let me use one of theirs. I eventually found one but it was about ten years old and had different buttons than the one I had been using. I taught myself how to use it whilst waiting outside the exam hall. Predictably I didn’t do very well.’
‘Before one of my exams I was so nervous that I threw up in the car on the way there. My mum was driving me so she had to come and help me clean myself up in the bathroom before the exam. After that, things have been put in perspective and I’ve gone the other way. I’m too chilled about exams now.’
‘In my first year I attempted to cheat on one of my exams because I hadn’t studied anywhere close to enough. I wrote keywords on my inner and upper thighs. During the exam I kept going to the bathroom to try and read them. It didn’t work. I couldn’t read them properly and I was stressed about wasting so much time making constant trips to the bathroom.’
‘I haven’t had an exam in ages but I heard about someone else prepping for the wrong exam. The poor soul prepped for the whole SWOTVAC for this exam on Monday because his next exam was on Friday. It turns out he got the dates wrong and the exam he thought was on Friday was on Monday and visa versa. He only realised when he checked the student portal for his seat number.’
‘For one of my subjects in first year, I had to do a presentation instead of an exam for the final assessment. My partner and I had pulled an all nighter to finish it. On the morning of the oral we were dishevelled and stressed because we knew our work was terrible. As we ran into uni my partner unknowingly dropped half of the cue cards in the car park. When we made it to the room the tutor told us that he had accidentally doubled up and we had to do the presentation in the afternoon instead. Relieved, we went to the library and it was only then did we realise that half the cue cards were missing. If we hadn’t have been moved to the afternoon we would have had to improvise half the presentation.’
Tess Pullen is a first-year JD student who hopefully won't have an exam horror story of her own when she opens this Semester's PPL exam.