4 traits of a neurotic test-taker
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I think I’ve been a student for way too long. Evidence: I’m starting to deconstruct and over-analyze how I (and other students) take an exam. Everything from mannerisms to the speed of completion…
Yeah. I’m one of those people.
We learned about “test-taking strategies” in nursing school. It’s not only important to know the material for the exam (of course), but how you take the exam is almost equally as important.
How do you read the words on the paper? What words to you focus on — the wording of the question versus the wording of the answer? What are the key words and phrases that can rule in and rule out a potential answer (never, sometimes, always)?
It’s all a bunch of psycho-babble until you start taking exams for a living! (Yeah, I’ve definitely been a student for too long.)
Ultimately, an exam is sort of like playing in the “big game” of your chosen sport. Mental mind tricks and voodoo seances are not a far cry from what a student will do to stack the deck in favor of a good grade. Here are some things I constantly think about when I take an exam:
- I need to be at the end of the seating row. I have no idea why, I just need to be at the end.
- Most school campuses have the auditorium-like classrooms that have those collapsible desk tables that fold down to the side of your chair. I’m right-handed, so I can never sit in the left-handed chair, no matter what! (I had to during a recent exam because there were no other seats available. It was emotionally traumatic – ha.)
Noise, noise, noise
- Am I the only one who can hear every noise possible in the room during an exam? God forbid you take an exam with someone who has a head cold or upper respiratory infection. The incessant coughing is enough to make you scream.
- I can never be the first one done with the exam. And the first person who finishes an exam always seems to make me paranoid. As if I’m doing something wrong for not going as quickly, or maybe I don’t know the material as well as I thought I did?!
All of these little idiosyncrasies definitely make me sound like a neurotic student, don’t they? Anyone else care to join me?