We’ve All Been There: Final Exams

You set your alarm for 8am, then check it 3 times to make sure it’s right. Just to be safe, you set your phone alarm too. Everyone knows the urban legend about the time the power went out and that poor student slept through the exam that was worth 50% of her grade. That’s not going to be you.

You climb into bed a good 3 hours earlier than you normally would, determined to get a full 8 hours before the big test. Then you lay there staring at the ceiling, mentally rehearsing your answers to the potential essay questions the professor hinted might be on the exam.

When your alarm(s) goes off in the morning, you jump out of bed. The exam is in 2 hours and you need ample time to review the notes one last time, suck down at least one cup of coffee and get some brain food (read: Lucky Charms) in your belly. On a normal day you’d still be sleeping, hitting the snooze button over and over. But not today. Exhausted, you wash the sleep from your face, throw your hair up into a ponytail, and put on your lucky t-shirt. Even after countless hours in the library you need all the help you can get.

You flip through your now-tattered note cards as you shovel cereal into your mouth. You’re feeling good. You know this stuff. You’re gonna rock this exam!

There’s still about 30 minutes until test time but you want to make sure you get a good seat so you pack up your bag. Pencils? Check. Pens? Check. Notebook/note cards/anything else you can possibly review one last time before the professor puts that Scantron on the desk in front of you? Check.

It’s time to rock and roll.

When you get to class, you find your perfect seat (not in the front – that’s too close to the prof; not in the back – that’s too far of a walk to turn that sucker in; not in the middle of a row – you don’t want to be climbing over those slow test-takers to get the hell out of there when you’re done). You unpack all your stuff and flip open your notebook to run through the information one final time. Only you’re sick of studying. You know everything you’re gonna know and you just want the test to start already. Where is everyone? Where’s the professor? Why can’t this all be over with already so you can grab your dirty laundry and head home for winter break!?

The room eventually fills in, the professor goes over the rules of the exam (sit two seats apart, no talking, remaining time will be up on the board, turn your exams in to the T.A. on your way out, blah blah blah, good luck) and it’s finally time to show that test who’s boss.

You breeze through the first few multiple choice questions. “I’m totally gonna ace this!” You think to yourself. A couple stump you, so you save those ones for later. You keep on trucking. You’re in the midst of deciding on an essay question when the squeaky sound of a dry erase marker startles you out of the zone. 1 hour left. Sh*t! Breaking out in a sweat, you settle on an essay and start writing. There’s no time for an outline, but you don’t need one anyway. You know this stuff, girl! Ignore the hand cramping. Forget about the fact that your handwriting is starting to resemble that of a 4th grade boy. You’ve got – oh no! Only 30 minutes left!! – to finish this essay, fill in the multiple choice you skipped and review the test one last time.

20 minutes left. Essay done. What? People are already leaving!?
15 minutes left. Someone in your row climbs over you and smacks you in the face with his jacket. Jerk.
10 minutes left. Still have no idea what number 17 and 25 are even talking about. Are you the only person left in the entire room?
5 minutes left. Just fill in an answer. You have a 1 in 4 chance of getting it right!

You scribble in the final bubble.

“Alright. Time’s up!” The professor puts down his magazine and sends the T.A.s to collect the exams from the 8 or so people still in the room. You pass over your exam and instantly feel lighter. Shaking your hand which is now nearly asleep, you put your stuff back in your bag, assess your feelings about your performance and breathe a sigh of relief. You’re done. It’s over. You did OK.

Now all you have to do is email that girl from your study group to go over every last question in detail, then wait 3 painstakingly long weeks for your grade.


Yeah, we’ve all been there. The good news is, you won’t have to do it again for 4 glorious months.

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