Why It’s Okay to Not Exam Well

Why It’s Okay to Not Exam Well



As exam time is upon us again I felt this was something I wanted to talk about. Exams are a major part of the university experience (unfortunately), and for some they are the absolute worst thing imaginable.  I am one of those people. All through my time in school I never examined very well. I get myself so worked up about the situation that my concentration goes out the window and it feels like I have forgotten everything I have ever known. It is easy to look at what other’s around you are doing and lose focus when the person next to you is already needing more paper and you are only on page three. In my 18 years of school I have finally learnt one thing – it is okay. Exams are not the centre of the universe, and exams will not end your life. Granted it is a lot easier when you get easy A’s and have no worries in the world but they are not everything and that it what is important to remember.


I personally do not think exams are the best scale of knowledge, but I might be biased due to my lack of enthusiasm towards them. However, you are not going to go into the real world and being required to remember everything by heart, so why does school expect you to? This is the key point to remember – you are not going to find a job and just do exams and get paid according to those results. You are going to work to the high standard that you have (outside those exams) and you will get acknowledged for the hard work you put in.


(Picture: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/my-guide-to-preparing-for-exams/16080172)


However, even though I feel exams are not the best judge of knowledge they are still there and they need to be taken. What I have used to my advantage is coursework – most courses have essays or presentations that are a part of your grade. I have always done well in this type of work, so making sure your coursework is up to par you are already putting yourself at an advantage.  Make sure the coursework you do show the real standard of knowledge that you have. It is a lot easier, as you can decide the environment you decide to do your work in, meaning you can chose something that is suitable for you. If you score that A in your coursework, a C in the exam might turn into an overall B, so there is always hope! I will admit it is annoying and frustrating getting A’s in coursework and knowing that is where your knowledge level is at, and then your nerves just simply getting the best of you in the exam. You just have to accept it and try and not dwell.


Even if you feel exams are not your thing, do study. You should always try your best in the actual exam situation. If you do not study it is not a case of not examining well, then it is just being lazy – and no one wants that. Prepare for the exam, and do past exam papers if your university offers them out to you. These are a great help in trying to calm your nerves in exam conditions, especially if you try to do these in a mock exam way, doing them timed and with no distractions. Practice makes perfect so you might as well try.


One of the main parts many students happen to neglect is that your professors, lecturers and your university do not want you to fail. They want you to do well, and they will not be able to know where you are struggling if you do not tell someone. If you need a smaller room to sit your exams in – ask for it. It never hurts to ask, and who knows – these special circumstances may help with your exam performance enormously ridding you of the overanxious feeling. Most universities offer a wide range of support services which will try to find a solution to help your studying specifically. Lecturers are also often quite happy to look over your exam with you to try and pinpoint where you need to make improvements to get those extra marks.


After saying all of this, and if you do all of this, remember that even if those exams still do not go the way you wanted them to, they do not define you as a person. It is perfectly acceptable to not get all A’s and you will still live a happy life. Maybe some places you will have to compensate in other ways, but it is all in finding the balance within it all. So please stop stressing and comparing yourself to others because we are all individuals and we all do the best we can. Will I go into each exam hoping for all A’s? Most likely. Will I be disappointed if that is not what I get? Probably. But will I let it ruin my year? Definitely not. As long as I know I have done the best I can, there is literally no more I could have done so why worry about. University is a once in a life time experience for most of us, so just enjoy it and do not let exam anxiety ruin it for you.


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