6 things that could go wrong in your exam

You burst into the exam room late, out of breath, turn over the exam paper “Discuss the importance of dual identity in Shakespeare’s…” what? But you study Economics. And why is everyone pointing and laughing? Why aren’t you wearing trousers? How do you spell your name again? Who started that tiny fire?  And why has everybody turned into giant rat clowns?

OK, so you can rest assured your exam experience will not be an actual nightmare (plus a giant hamster is much more likely) but there is a chance things could go wrong on the day. At times like this take a page out of the Scout’s handbook – be prepared.

Let’s do a run through of the 6 things most likely to go wrong in your exam…

  1. You can’t find the exam room

On exam day your brain will be full of the last few weeks of revision so your geographical skills might abandon you and you’ll find yourself wandering around campus blindly like a fresher after Pop. The Interactive Campus Map is your friend – type in the room number and building, it will give you handy directions on how to get there. Better yet (if you really want to embrace your inner Scout) take a revision break in the days before the exam and find the room. 

  1. Half way through the exam your pen runs out

Would Baden Powell only take one pen into an exam? No. Take two, take twelve. Never trust a biro, it will give in when you need it most. Should all of your pens fail in some kind of biro based breakdown just ask the invigilator. They are there to help you (as far as they can), plus it gives them a break from exam room pacman.

  1. You suffer a complete and total brain blank

You put pen to paper and… uh it’s gone. The past three years have disappeared and all your brain can focus on is the theme tune from the Muppets. Mahna mahna, do doo be-do-do. Most important, stay calm. Put your pen down, close your eyes and take a deep breath, in for six and out for six. Give your brain a chance to relax and focus – it will all come flooding back to you. Then, if it is an essay based question, use your Scout-y skills and note down a structure with all the key points you want to make. If the Muppets invade again, you can always refer back to it.

  1. You finish your exam early

Done. Over. Mission accomplished. You lean back, stretch out… ahhh… it’s finished. Odd there’s still an hour left to go, and everybody is still writing away. You must have suddenly become a super efficient genius. Or… you haven’t actually finished the exam. Before you leave the room, turn the paper over, check for hidden questions and re-read the instructions. Better yet, spend the first five minutes of the exam reading the instructions. Or, to really get your taking-exams Scout badge, check out a couple of past papers ahead of time so you know what to expect.

  1. You feel ill

Mid exam, you start to feel hot, sweaty, drowsy, just not quite right… first, are you panicking? Take a deep breath, do you feel better? Yes, good, carry on. No? Think you might actually be ill? Tell the invigilator, don’t sit and suffer – nobody wants their exam to be disrupted because you’ve fainted (or worse…). They’ll take you for fresh air or a bathroom break. If you really can’t carry on then they will be able to advise you on the next steps. Should you fall ill on the day or run up to the exam, check out the official regulations on sickness and examinations. Obviously, your Scoutiest plan of action is to look after yourself before the exam – try to get some decent sleep, eat some fruit and drink more water than Monster.

  1. You really aren’t wearing trousers.

You’re on your own with this one. Style it out.

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So, dib dib dib, dob dob dob, be prepared and you’ll get your University Scouting badge degree.

Image: Scouts/Sam Salt/CC BY-NC 2.0

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