Your Thought Process as You Take an Exam

You walk into the musty classroom, full of coffee and anxiety. After being up the majority of the night studying for your big midterm, you can’t wait to just get started and go back to bed. You look around the classroom and see other students flipping through flashcards, quickly quizzing others and trying to cram in that last bit of information into their brains. So much worry is flowing through the room, making you even more nervous. It only gets worse when the professor finally quiets the class down and tells everyone to put their belongings away. You pull out your lucky pencil, take a deep breath and maybe even send up a quick prayer. It’s exam time.

1. First, you sit there impatiently as the professor takes their time going over instructions. You feel the information slowly seeping out your mind as short term memory starts to forget equations and dates. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!!!!!!!


2. You get your scantron and fill in your student ID number. You know that professors always threaten to take points off if you mess up this code, so you go over it 5 times and still feel like you somehow made a mistake. Let me look at my JAC to check just in case…


3. You impatiently wait for the test to get to you. It makes its way down the row and you run through the information in your mind one more time. You give yourself that final pep talk. I got this. I studied so much. You go girl. No luck needed.


4. The exam gets to you and you immediately write any mnemonic devices down on the side of the front page just in case you forget them later on. SOH CAH TOA.


5. You read the first question. You actually know the answer. Oh yeah, this is going to be sooooooo easy.


6. Second question catches you completely off guard. Oh s***.


7. You know the answer to the next couple and you feel like a total bada**. Oh yeah, I got another one! Two in a row? I totally knew I would get an A.


8. When you flip the page, you draw a total blank. Crap, there goes my streak. I should have looked over this part in the study guide one more time.


9. You come to a question you have no idea about at all. Let’s just do eenie-meanie-minie-moe.


10. Next question: You read it four times and you just make a face at the question. I’ll just come back to it later.


11. You think of an answer for the next question, but it’s not one of the options. Hmmmmm. I got 78. Well I guess 105 is closest, so let’s go with that.


12. You finish, so you go back to all the ones you skipped or want to look over again, which happens to be half of them. Should I use my first instinct? No, that one’s totally wrong. Let’s just eliminate all the stuff that I think is wrong.


13. You’ve answered all the questions. Before you turn it in, you want to make sure you have the bare minimum to pass. Let’s just tally up all the ones I KNEW I got right and see what my score could be.


14. You turn it in, heart still beating. You get out of the classroom, pull out your study guide, and check your answers. Damn, I changed that one… Damn, I should have changed that one… Ohhhhhh that makes sense.


15. You evaluate how you did. I did my best, but maybe I could have studied more? Oh well.

After this, you’ll anxiously await the grades to go up online. No matter how you did, understand that one bad grade won’t matter in 5 years. Your life will go on. Every exam is a learning experience, preparing you for the next exam. Don’t beat yourself up about a bad grade, and treat yourself no matter what. You definitely worked hard, and hard work deserves a brownie sundae.