Advice for exam takers, redux.

Last year I made a list of 1o essential pieces of advice for exam takers. This year, I offer some new advices, which now means that this is an established tradition. For the close of 2009, we focus on general behaviour and examination etiquette.

  1. This one came up last year, but I am forced to reiterate and expand. Do not go into an empty exam room before the invigilator arrives, and set up your camp on a desk with your 6 pencils, and your water, and your hand sanitizer and your 45 gonks, and your extra lucky eraser. Your invigilator, should he or she be a committed professional, is going to turf you out and look for the cheat notes you taped under the desk.
  2. If you are one of those plan ahead people, and look up the examination room weeks ahead of time, you should double check the room the day of the examination. Yes, room changes are rare, but you know that if and when they happen, the new room will be way over the other side of campus, and now you are late. And lost.
  3. Give yourself plenty of extra time, especially if the exam is in a room you have never been to before. Also, if the room numbers don’t get high enough before you get to a big door at the end of the corridor, try going THROUGH the door and checking whether they continue on the other side.
  4. When you are 20 minutes late to the exam, Red Bull will not slow down time. Not even 2 cans of it. And now you have to pee, which wastes another 10 minutes.
  5. Your invigilator is there to prevent cheating, not to act as a pharmacy and/or stationery store. If you need tissues, pencil sharpeners, cough drops, bottles of water or gonks,  you need to bring your own.
  6. No, the person supervising the exam is not going to tell you the answer to question 7. Even if the supervisor is your professor, who wrote the exam, and who presumably knows the answer.
  7. Asking again will not get you an answer, either.
  8. When the invigilator writes several time intervals on the blackboard and erases them, this is to give you an indication of the passage of time. It does not create a magical digital chalk clock. Asking “is the time on the board accurate” will just confuse everyone.
  9. For fuck’s sake, take a fucking shower. People are going to be locked in a closed room with you for 2 hours. BO is not going to get you bonus marks.
  10. If you are going to smoke a joint before the exam, start early enough that it doesn’t make you 20 minutes late. Oh, wait. Maybe it would be better to wait until after the exam to smoke the joint.

5 thoughts on “Advice for exam takers, redux.

  1. paperkingdoms

    If you learn nothing else during the semester, the name of your instructor would be a good bit of information to know. There’s going to be a blank for it on the exam, and when you haplessly wander into the wrong exam room, and all you can say is “I don’t know, but I don’t see any of my classmates” no one’s going to be able to help you.

    This counts double if there are 20+ sections of your class, all taking the exam in giant auditoriums throughout a labyrinth of a building.

    Things do not bode well if you are eventually identified by an instructor missing a student as “the really dim looking one”.

  2. Lady Z

    True story. A friend of mine taught a semester of Introduction to Art History at a small Catholic college in the northeastern US. The day she returned the midterm exams, she made the following announcement: “For future reference, I am writing on the board a list of words that are never, ever appropriate on a college examination. Number one: ‘Douche.’ Number two: ‘Douchebag.'”

    In her retelling there were more, but I was laughing so hard after number two I never heard them.

  3. fillyjonk

    I had a student write snarky editorial comments on all the questions concerning evolution. On a test form that they were not supposed to write on. And a test form which I checked immediately they handed it in. I was extremely not amused. Not just because of the ignorant comments, but because I then had to erase all of them.

    I’m glad the person involved got a D. Because then I will never have to see his face again in that class, but he didn’t get a “good enough” grade to feel like his behavior was justified.

  4. Pingback: 3rd Annual Advice for Exam-goers « What Ladder?

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