Things you think of in the exam hall

March 04, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

So you’re sitting for your midterm paper which stands for a whopping 40% of your entire grade. You’ve studied (or maybe not) and really want to do well.

But we all know that life is never that easy.

When you come across a peculiar question and are absolutely stumped, what runs through your mind?

Here’s a collection of random (and not so random) things people think of in the exam hall.

Ooo this paper’s still warm.

Your professor and other examiners are still reading out the rules and regulations for the exam bla bla… and since you aren’t allowed to flip open the thick booklet (goodness how much can they test me on exactly?) yet, you slide your palm over the smooth cover, detecting a warmth that can only mean it was printed earliest this morning. Aaahh…this is probably the only warmth attainable in this cold, forbidding exam hall where even your lecturers seem more unrelenting than usual. Too bad your memory doesn’t feel as fresh as these freshly printed papers.


As you stare down at the paper (or your doom), you can’t help but recall the Facebook meme “Stop exams, save trees!” that went viral at some point in which you agreed to whole-heartedly. And then suddenly wonder if this exam paper is bleached (they really needn’t have gone to the trouble though, it wouldn’t make a difference in our performance, I’m sure), or maybe recycled?

What on earth, am I in the right exam hall?

So you flipped open the first page of the exam booklet and the first line of the first question doesn’t make sense. Neither does the second line, or the third line rest of the exam paper. You flip back to the cover and see if you’re sitting in the right hall. Sadly, you are.

Think it’s time to come up with your own theories and formulas. No one ever said creativity is a sin, right?

Oh no, not now.

To do some last minute cramming, you skipped lunch hour and stuffed a Subway in three mouthfuls and had an ice cold carbonated drink for sugar rush. Now your stomach is protesting for treating it so carelessly. So is your bladder which is screaming for attention with water you didn’t drink.

You glance up at the examiners when you’re allowed to go to the restroom, but so many others have the same problem there’s a queue. You can’t afford to keep checking to see when your turn is and continue answering the paper at the same time. So when possible, you wait it out the full three hours of the exam in which every passing minute seems like an achievement.

Let’s all pull the bell curve down!

So you’re sitting for just about the worst paper ever, and even the words are blurring out as you’re on the verge of tears. You hope against hope that these emotions are mutual and everyone else is doing as badly. No one is smart enough to ace this paper, you think, crossing your fingers hard. If we all do badly, maybe the grades won’t be as bad. It wouldn’t make sense to fail 300 students out of 500, right?


You’re stumped. You swear you didn’t learn this at all. Not even anything similar. Yet the person sitting next to you is scribbling so vigorously you’d think the paper’s drenched in ink. You’re getting worried, and restless. It’s one to be stumped and see similar stumped faces around you (which is usually the greatest comfort in an exam hall), then at least you still stand a chance of passing the paper, but if other people’s reactions and yours don’t match, that means trouble. Big trouble. And at times like this, Legilimency (telepathic abilities for non-Harry Potter fans) would come in so much handy.

Dang I just saw this

The answer to this question you just saw. JUST. TWO. MINUTES. AGO before you stuffed your notes into your backpack and sat down. But it’s not popping up properly in your mind. For some god forsaken reason, the key words that are bound to scrape you precious marks are lost in your memory, and your brain has stupidly managed to retain only redundant information. A time turner would be priceless at this moment. Just. Two. Minutes. You scream and curse inwardly and can’t be more angry at yourself. Don’t we just love life.


It’s your last paper. Then you’re done. Well, yea… it’s not your best paper. You can’t make sense of half of the questions but that doesn’t dampen your mood at all. No, sir. Because in an hour, no, fifty-five minutes, you are outta here. You. Are. Done. Now that you’ve reminded yourself of the happy moment that awaits you in fifty-five fifty-four minutes, let’s make a to-do list for post-exam celebration. Now this list you are bound stick to and will not rest until every single one is done and crossed out. Funny how aware you were about your sleep-deprivation last week and losing all hope but now you’re wide awake and already on party mode with forty-five minutes left in the exam.


Calculations, not for the questions, but for your marks. You’ve completed the paper (as in, done as much as you can), and re-checked as many times as you felt like checking, and still have half an hour to go. You flip to the first page again, and make a rough estimate of how many marks you can get for that question, repeating this process for the entire paper (including those questions in which you made up your own theories for) and sum it all up several times with your calculator (hey, we gotta be exact with these calculations, this stuff’s important!) and then scaling it to get a feel of what grade you might get. Don’t lie, we’ve all done this.

Exams, midterms, they are a pain in the neck. But life ain’t no bed of roses. And even roses have thorns. It’s how we learn, and improve, and prevent ourselves from turning into utter slobs.

So the next time you see an exam, tell him to bring it. It’s all about attitude.

- Kim

P.S. A huge shoutout to Andrew Tan for this awesome blog idea. May you gor 3 bao 4 my friend.

Featured image acquired from http://webaconnect.ning.com/photo/exam-hall-easb-2/next?context=user