Pre- And Post-First Exams: A Reality Check

My fellow students, it is now October in the Fall Semester of 2015. This can only mean one thing: everyone has either had or is about to have their first exam, and the way we all prepare for said exam can be broken down into three main groups. First, there are some who have (intelligently) spent their entire academic careers preparing for this very moment in time. These are the students who spend about 5-7 hours studying for each test like their GPA depends on it. Okay, maybe their GPA DOES depend on it... These students are pretty much the exception no matter how far along you are in school. 

 

Then there are the students who still work hard for their first big grades, just not as hard as the aforementioned body of students. They've done everything right up to this point. All classes have been attended, all Blackboard Quizzes have been submitted, and notes have been taken that could teach a 5-year-old how to do trigonometry. These students may not spend 5-7 hours in preparation for their first big chunk of points; 2 hours (with music blaring) will probably suffice. While these students will certainly make passing grades, they will definitely not be leading the GPA pack. 

Last but not least, there's everyone else. We all know the ones. They never come to class (and when they do, they sit in the back so as not to be noticed), their notes only contain scribbles about the syllabus, and they think each class is going to be a breeze. We all know them. We may just be them. And if the latter statement applies to you, here are some thoughts you've definitely had before and after your first exam.

When the first exam is a week away and your teacher suggests studying:

Two days before the exam - no worries at all: 

When you openly admit your true talent for procrastination the day before the big test:

When the panic sets in and you start getting a bad feeling:

Truly trying (kind of) to study at the very last minute:

Heading to the exam feeling WAY too confident:

When you finally get the test and you realize you know nothing:

When you finally accept the fact that you will fail this first test:

When you finish bubbling in the scantron and you make your way to turn it in: 

Leaving the class full of acceptance, false confidence, and knowing full well that you'll actually have to get off your butt and study for the next one: 

First exams are hard. But let's be honest, the majority of us could try a lot harder when it comes to them. Deep down, we all know this. We just need a reality check every now and then.