Exam rituals

by prototypemmeh

One thing they don’t really tell you in high school: you’ll get a lot of exams in post secondary.  Of course, they might have mentioned it, but high school was so long ago that I’ve forgotten.  Regardless, in 13 weeks, a student will typically see 2-3 in-class exams and then final exams.  I’ve written in-class essays, multiple choice/true-false on scan tron, short answer, and long answer; I’ve used pens, pencils, erasers, protractors, and rulers.  Studying prior to the exam is fairly key – which I would state is obvious, but I don’t always study if my understanding is already excellent – but the moments before starting the exam are crucial.

  • Liquids: If it’s a morning exam (8:30AM or 10:30AM) then I have a coffee with me.  Regardless of the start time, I always have a bottle of water.
  • Bathroom: Even if I feel like I don’t have to go, I go anyways.  It’s tough enough to sit in a room for 150 minutes, much less if you have to pee.
  • Hands: This goes hand-in-hand with the bathroom, but I always wash my hands before an exam.  I hate being distracted by sticky hands, especially if I’ve been handling a coffee cup.
  • Fingernails: Alright, so I’m pretty odd with my fingernails, I like them very short.  But as a nervous habit, I start “cleaning” my nails, which makes them a tad longer (to me) and then serves as a distraction because I want to trim them.
  • Writing utensils: I try to have two pens, two pencils – sharpened, because dull pencils suck, and mechanical pencils hate me – and an eraser; plus any other required tools.

And gentle pre-test banter doesn’t hurt: for my Academic Writing final, we talked about craft brews and good pub food until we were given our exam booklets.  But it’s not necessary, just really fun.

What are some of your pre-exam rituals?

–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
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