What actually happens in an exam
You walk into the classroom and see that you are not too early or too late. The desks have been rearranged from the usual set-up.
You sit down and take out your pencils and erasers. You wait while others arrive to take their place.
Your teacher comes around and distributes the exam.
It's four pages. You stare at the questions, your mind blank.
You immediately see those questions that stump you. "If only," you think. "Why didn't I study that bit?"
You see questions that you can tackle right away.
Panic sets in. Indecision. Where should you begin? Is there an order to the questions? Will you have enough time to complete the test?
You decide to start from the beginning.
You look at your watch.
It is taking too long to work out the problem. You have forgotten to train yourself in the art of speed. The circumstances under which you had studied were safe and comfortable, not an exam situation.
Barely half-an-hour into the exam, you sense one of your classmates get up and leave. Has she finished already?
An hour later, the second classmate leaves. You guess that the first one probably failed the exam. It's not possible to finish it in half hour.
By now, you have answered nearly all questions. The only ones left are those that are difficult and demanding. You scratch your head trying hard to remember.
Two hours have gone by since you began. You decide that you've had enough. You answer the last question and get up from your desk.
You hand in the exam and walk out.
In the toilet, you remember how to solve that difficult problem. Too late! It's time to forget and hope that you didn't fail.
19 January 2005 Wednesday