Now, as many people know, I love stress. My favourite thing in the world. Nothing better (Note: heavy sarcastic undertones). Over the past few weeks I’ve had coursework hand-ins a plenty, presentations which I’ve panicked so much about I’ve ended up bed-ridden with a fever and essays which eat up hours of my days as I desperately try to write something which is barely comprehensible. But that’s all over now. Yay!
Actually what I wanted to talk about was my exam I had last Tuesday and Wednesday. Yep, it lasted 24 hours, which was a weird experience as the longest exam I’ve had previously was 3 hours long. The weirdest thing about this exam was that fact that I enjoyed it. You aren’t meant to enjoy exams! What is wrong with me? My brain must have finally gone doolally (although people have been saying to me that it has already for years… I blame the talking chickens).
The instructions for the exam were ‘download the exam paper at 9am on Tuesday, complete it, give it in before 3pm on Wednesday’. The exam itself was comprised of 2 essay questions which were about 1500 words in length and required lots of research and analysis which is a general requirement for a ‘Games Research’ exam. Anyway, I came into Uni for 9am (the earliest I have forced myself out of bed for a while), laptop in hand, brain (just about) awake, water bottle filled with life giving liquid should I find myself severely dehydrated, nerves tingling in anticipation for the task ahead of me, I was prepared! Of course I was surprised when 9 o’clock rolled around, I found out that most of my course mates on the same exam where still in bed. This was an exam! Aren’t you meant to be prepared 15 minutes before it begins? Student card in hand, lined with in thin coating of sweat because of the test on your brain you are about to undertake?
Not this exam apparently. Needless to say, when I did meet up with my course mates at about 11 to discuss exam related matters (talking during an exam? Crazy!) I was already well into the first question by about 1000 words. Overall, I think this was my favourite type of exam because, although it was quite testing, I had to research like crazy on certain topics and there was a moment where I had no idea what I was going to write about, the fact it was spread across 24 hours took a lot of the pressure off. I heard someone discussing the fact that exams were a bad way to test people once as it is a completely unique situation. It is very unlikely in the working world; your boss will walk up to you and say ‘You! Random employee! Go into that room and complete a series of questions based on your job here! Oh and you can have no help from outside sources, you cannot take anything in with you and you only have an hour. Go!’ They add factors of stress and panic which can affect your judgement and cause you to forget things which under other circumstances you could recall. This exam though was kind of halfway between exam and coursework. In fact, a course mate described it as like ‘completing a coursework at the last minute, without all the guilt of putting it off for weeks on end’. I like that description.
I finished the exam paper with plenty of time to spare, allowing me to not only sleep (which I didn’t expect to do) but also look over them again the next day and fix all the silly mistakes I put in the first time around. Also, the fact that I spent an hour or so of the exam sat in subway, eating a sub and thinking about this very blog post may have enamoured me towards the exam in ways which other exams could not. Maybe the talking chickens are right, but I think more exams should be like this. I felt challenged, I didn’t stress too much and I got to eat subway. What more could you ask for in an exam?