Saturday, 9 May 2009

It's as easy as A - B - C

I have finely honed revision skills that involve leaving everything til the last minute whilst accumulating a growing level of stress (inversely proportional to the number of days left) and then working through the night on d-day whilst my pencil races against the dawn - it takes a week after the exam period to rebuild my sanity!

It all started in high school when exams used to stretch over 3 weeks. It was a time I used to look forward to because for those 3 weeks of the year, we were allowed to come to school in our own clothes. It was supposed to help us feel comfortable, but going to an all girls school, this was an open invitation for us to wake up an hour earlier to match our belts to our pencil case, straighten our hair and showcase our newest jeans. One time I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived, something had to give. There's still an urban legend at the school now of a crazy, one-eyed, hunch backed girl who suffered a mental breakdown and came to school in uniform on own-clothes-day. *shudder*...

It all switched at university as the only time I was told what to wear was during exam time. I kid you not, I had to wear a black skirt, white shirt and a black ribbon round my neck whilst the boys had a wear a full black suit and a white bow tie. Can you imagine anything more stressful on the morning of your exam than trying to tie a bow-tie? We also had to carry our graduation hat to every exam - even though we're not allowed to put them on until graduation day. This proved quite useful as it turned into my pencil case - as an engineer I had rulers, calculators, protractors, compasses and as a hypochondriac I had 10 super sharp pencils, just in case... If we weren't dressed properly, we were turned away from exam schools! Those sleepless nights ironing shirts to be granted exam entry - best days of my life...

Now I'm sitting for a professional qualification that is supposed to make me a better financial analyst and give me three more letters after my name. As a US corporation, they charge us $1000 for the pleasure of sitting a 6 hour exam on a Saturday (my company is paying, for those of you thinking I really am a crazy, one-eyed hunch-back) and you have to pass 3 levels to get the qualification. So whether I pass or fail, I will still be taking another exam next June! The same crazy long exam is sat across the world on the same weekend and in London alone, there are 40,000 people who turn up at this huge warehouse where all you can see are rows of desks stretching back to infinity. As zero hour approaches, the shutters start to roll down and desparate candidates roll under the gap (very Indiana Jones) and I begin to frantically re-sharpen all my pencils. Only a month to go - wish me luck!


  1. As we used to say in Belgium: BONNE MERDE!!! (wishing luck might jinx things)

    I seem to have the same study methods as you... they probably account for my losing weight during exam periods while simultaneously eating constantly... makes me almost wish I had an exam session again now to help lose some weight! :p

    Sheesh! I can't believe you have to shell out one grand to be submitted to a 6 hour torture session! I hope it's all worth it! I'm sure you'll do fine!!!

    I never had to worry about what to wear in exams though, that sounds like a nightmare!!! Here in Spain finals are held in June / July and makeup exams in September.... and we all dress according to the weather, i.e. flip-flops or sandals, shorts, tank tops... whatever! (just no bathing suits) Then I went to Belgium for my Master's and discovered the poor students there had to dress "nicely" for the girls and in suit & tie for the guys... with some campus legends about some profs turning students away from the exam if they didn't have a tie. *shudder* Exams are stressful enough, people should be allowed to be COMFORTABLE!!!

    Oh, and thanks for signing up as a follower! ;o)

  2. Not that I need any extra help procrastinating, but it's a formula one weekend which means another 3 hours lost to purgatory - It's actually the Spanish one, so I hope you will be supporting Alonso!

  3. So sad the jeans day is stressful! I am sure that the folks in charge never imagined this!!

    Good luck on your tests! Take some water to drink it will calm you down when nervous.

  4. Have you figured out what you're going to wear yet?

  5. You will do fine! I'll look for you on the chat thing!

  6. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and I think I have my options covered for both rain and sun (you just never know for sure...). With billowy layers so I can smuggle my wallet and phone in with me. I hate leaving it outside in the bag area with the huge sign that says 'leave at owner's own risk'.

  7. Oh wow, good luck. And what you say about leaving revision to the last minute? So me. :)