Thursday, 17 May 2012
Kathy B's Guide to handling exams...
As many of you are aware, whether it be due to a deteriorating social life or a stack of half open, dribbled-on textbooks slowly corrupting every available surface in your bedroom (feng shui?! How about feng sh*t....?), the exam season is well and truly upon us. Having considered all of the seasons that I could think of, I have come to the conclusion that exam season is probably my least favourite of all. It's long, it's stressful, and it turns fairly normal citizens into strange, page-number quoting lunatics. Kissing revision notes? Crying in the middle of the night? We've all been there. And it's pretty soul destroying.
I shan't beat around the bush. I am by no means the wisest owl in the treetops when it comes to dishing out exam advice. I am, after all, the same girl that asked who Stalin was whilst en route to my A Level history exam. My dear friend Ross was so utterly horrified by my inability to digest even the simplest point of a year's worth of study, that I'm pretty sure he called me an 'absolute f*cking moron'. I'm pretty sure he was right. Woops. As if this isn't enough to have on my conscience, I am also the same girl that woke up in a wild panic about an exam I was sitting that morning, only to realise that I was late. The whole exam late. Double woops and bugger.
Somehow, however, it hasn't all been a hideous mess of awkwardness, and I have managed to sit me some exams and achieve the occasional good grade here and there. And where I haven't, I've learnt a good few lessons. So here it is, my fine bunch of strange, page-number quoting lunatics; your fail-safe guide to getting through exam season. And by fail-safe, I mean not-so-safe-that-I'll-accept-responsibilty-if-you-do-poorly...
Revise. I know this word is the most horrifically irritating word in the dictionary for you at the moment, but it's kind of necessary. Jump on the 8-10 week revision plan bandwagon if it works for you. If it doesn't, don't. It's simple. If you're anything like me, and work best last minute, there's absolutely no point whatsoever in trying to revise more than 48 hours before D-Day. You will only stare blankly at your notes for 6 minutes before deciding to go and shave your legs/make gravy/imitate a grazing cow in the back garden. Some day those teacher folk will understand that some people (aka me and 55% of my friendship circle), just can't help but to procrastinate. Hard.
Do not go out on an all-night-bender on the night before the exam. As tempting as it may be to give it a shot (Irish cream shot, mmmmm), only super-human human beings can get good grades when 77% intoxicated. And as far as I am aware, we are not super-human. Sob.
As hard as it is when you have a fierce desire to do well at something, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Running around like an ear-steaming donkey is pointless practice. I'm a firm believer that a) your best is good enough, and b) that exams aren't always a fair measure of intelligence. Don't start assuming that your life and all of your dreams will fall apart if you don't get the grade you're hoping for. As long as you've got an A* in passion, determination, charm and optimism, you will find a way.
Whether you absolutely know it because it's 'WELL EASY', or are staring at the page in utter confusion wondering why the devil you 'signed up to this sh*t', be sure to answer every single question. Refrain from drawing a contemplative pig with blue trotters, and try and rustle up something that sounds at least a little bit logical. One guess is always better that no guesses at all folks.
Cross out anything that you don't want your examiner to read/mark, aka the contemplative pig with blue trotters...
Write your answers as neatly as you possibly can. You may well have a comprehensive understanding of etymology and morphology and syntax and pragmatics, and you may well have written a bloody brilliant essay answer covering all of the key points, however, if you are the only person in the entire world that can read it back, you will find yourself in a fairly unfortunate situation. Write with your arm, not with your fingers!
Every time I have sat an exam, there has always been a handful of people that have bragged about finishing the paper within about half an hour. It turns out that these people didn't do so well. The moral of this story? Don't rush. If you've completed the exam and there's still an hour left on the clock, you're probably in trouble. Think about the question, think about your answer, and think about your time limit. Utilise every single second.
Be a good student. Yes, your friend might be looking a little glum across the hall, and you may feel the desire to cheer them up, but I'm afraid this is not the time, or the place for a casual rendezvous. If you so much as smile, wink, or wave to your fine chum, those invigilators will be after you like a pack of wolves. And believe me, wolves are scary.
Cuddle your chums, especially the one that was looking all glum in the exam hall.
Treat yourself to a celebratory meal, and by celebratory, I mean high in calories/fat/deliciousness.
Take your clothes off and run across a field. Preferably a field where you shan't be seen by anyone in uniform...
Set fire to the textbook that has haunted you for the past 2 years.
Fantasise about the hot invigilator that told you off for waving to your fine chum.
Good luck you brainy bunch! Be brill.