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Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the subject of final exams

Final exams can be a hassle. For example: I studied for about 3 hours for an exam that I finished in 40 minutes.

That, however, was the point of the studying. I knew the material like I know my own computer screen (i.e. really, really well), and so I finished the exam quickly, efficiently and without any panic. Someone sitting near me, however, seemed to be suffering from "fuckexamitis," which is a condition common among college students.

What happens is the student puts off studying, reading, paying attention in class and doing most of the assignments, all the while cruising on the thought that a cram session the night before the final will somehow see them through and magically raise their grade. During exam week, they are suddenly struck by the paralyzing side effects of fuckexamitis, which include the emphatic cursing of exams and a sudden amnesia regarding all facts and terms learned in class.

Despite a frantic night of studying, purloining notes or old exams and essays from the internet (which, by the way, is a disgusting example of the easy light in which people regard plagiarism. Do your own work and succeed or fail on your own merits; don't try to sit on someone else's laurels), these are the people who come to the exam feeling panicky, exhausted and gassy. This last condition is the most obvious to everyone around the fuckexamitis sufferer, and it's quite pungent.

The cure to the dreaded cases of fuckexamitis that crop up at the end of every quarter/semester/academic term?

Stop being lazy.

You know you're doing it. I do it (I even admit to it, regularly. Procrastination is a bad habit, but one that I'm working to break. You know what I have to show for it? A 3.9 GPA, that's what). Everyone wants to be lazy, to some extent. That doesn't mean it's a good idea.

You know when you have projects due, papers that need written or tests during the quarter -that's why teachers give you a syllabus. Read it. Highlight it. Treat it as though it is your only road map through the treacherous path of the quarter...because it is. Love it, treat it well and pay close attention to it.

Do your work.

Get up and go to class. Even if you don't take the best notes, you'll benefit just by being in class. My business law professor gave us answers and hints to three out of four essay questions for our final exam just for showing up to class. You never know what you'll be missing in class if you don't even bother to show up. And if you don't go to class, don't do your work, don't study and don't participate in academics...why are you even in school? Seriously. Address that issue, then stop whining about how early your classes are, make some coffee and go.

Ask for help. If you don't get it, yes, some asshole in the front of the room is going to think you're a moron (it'll probably be me, let's be honest. Especially if it's a literature class)...but someone else in the back of the room who was too afraid to ask the same thing you were thinking will be really grateful that you raised your hand so they didn't have to.

Fuckexamitis is a serious condition. It can make or break your grade, and I get really sick of hearing people whine about how hard their finals are when all they did all quarter was complain about how much work they had to do...and then not do it anyway.

Fuckexamitis is a self-inflicted condition. Learn how to avoid it. It's really not that hard.


  1. Thank goodness exams are a thing of the past for me.
    All I have to deal with is reports and work deadlines.
    Can I do exams instead? Please?

  2. Exams are usually more fun than reports and deadlines...I'm close to being done with exams though, which is kind of nice.