What up, midterm season?! If your school schedule is anything like mine, October is “midterm month”, November is “leftover midterm month where you have inconveniently placed exams and tests” and December is “FINALS: Eff, I Never Actually Learned This Stuff” month.
You find yourself in a room with 70 people who you may or may not have seen in class before, and you’re forced to explode your knowledge of some subject onto sheets of paper in 120 minutes or less. You didn’t know anything two days ago, so you really need every ounce of focus that you can muster.
1. CHOOOO. PFFFF.
You have no idea what kind of disastrous weather just hit the room, so you look around and are confused when you find the room intact. You spot another student with a mountain of tissues next to them, and you understand. They’re sick. And they’re here. Spreading their sickness. To you. Because midterm stress gets to everyone. Sorry Sick Person, we know it’s not your fault and you have to write this test anyway, but your nose-blowing is still annoying. We’d offer you a hug, except you’re probably contagious, so we’ll offer you air hugs instead.
2. CRUSH CRUNCH “UGHHHH”
Somebody is visibly agitated by this written test. They either don’t know what’s going on, or they have so many ideas and are scribbling so quickly that they make a lot of mistakes. It’s like they’re in a box, and the only way they can escape is to erase said box. (That didn’t even make sense, but you get the point.) Upon erasing several sentences at a time, the paper folds and rips, causing even more agitation from said test taker. They’re stressing you out.
3. Screech. Clomp clomp clomp clomp. <door opens> <door shuts>
It’s 30 minutes into the exam and suddenly, somebody gets up, hands in their papers, and leave. You can’t tell if they aced it or bombed it, but you’re suddenly afraid that all of your knowledge has somehow left the room with that person. You put your head down and continue scribbling (or bubbling) away, hoping that whatever knowledge you have left will earn you a B. It is suddenly a race against time to finish this test, even though you still have 90 minutes left.
4. Tap tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap. TAP TAP TAP TAP. TAP. STOMP. “UGHHHH”
You think there’s music playing somewhere, but then you realize that the person sitting next to you is just tapping their feet. Not the kind of tapping that makes you think they’re humming a song in their head, but the kind of tapping that makes you wish you sat a little further away for fear of getting accidentally kicked. For some reason, this person seems to be in a hurry. They want their mind to work faster and come up with the answers for the test, but it just won’t. They respond to their lagging brain by angrily tapping their feet. Every so often, they stomp their foot down adamantly and rotate their papers. You silently hope that the proctor comes over and calms them down, but you realize that your only option right now is to put your head down and hope that your brain zones them out.
In all seriousness, exams and tests are stressful, and we all deal with the stress differently. My advice? Bring earplugs.
How do you beat exam stress?
Featured Image courtesy of Jeff Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).