It’s April. The majority of deadlines have passed. The sun is starting to show its face every now and again. People wear sunglasses outside, and sometimes shorts, and small talk consists of what are you doing over the summer and what classes are you taking next semester?
But the elephant in the room looms ever larger. We gloss over it in conversation, skip those pages in our planners, and try not to discuss it with our parents, but we all know. Every student’s least favourite time of the year is imminent – exam season.
What? you cry. You mean to say you’re not looking forwards to two weeks of traipsing to and from the Sports Hall? I mean, no, of course not. Neither are you. Exams are awful and soul-sucking and carpal-tunnel-inducing. But there’s something else that I’m looking forward to even less, and that’s revision.
Last semester, we had a week of revision period. And that was fun. It was just enough time to feel the pressure, but I wasn’t freaked out by being thrown immediately from lectures into exams. I had time to memorise my exam timetable, to cram the entire semester’s vocab into my head, to look up essay structures online. A week was a good amount of time, because I only had three exams over a two week period, and that meant that I had a lot of time between exams, too. I had a little time to get myself sorted, figure out a schedule of sorts, and then start alternately scribbling furiously in a drafty hall and fighting for a seat in the library.
But this semester, we have two weeks! Who thought that would be a good idea? Two weeks is long enough to go on holiday for a week before starting revision properly. Two weeks is enough that if I do that, the swots who study instead will literally be able to double their grades compared to mine. Two weeks is enough to forget the information from my final lectures, so instead of being able to rely on my short-term memory to get me through the relevant exam questions, I’ll actually have to revise, thus cutting down my revision time on whatever it was we studied in January. Two weeks is enough time for people to think it’s a good idea to fly to and from their very distant homes, contributing to global warming, polar ice melting, rising sea levels, and subsequent famines and deaths in lowland countries. Possibly an exaggeration of direct cause-and-effect, but a contributing factor nonetheless!
I know this is an unpopular opinion. I’m sure that for some people, having two weeks to prepare for exams is as a good thing. But for me, it’s horrific. I am much more productive with a solid timetable, and having two weeks of pure nothingness terrifies me to no end. I know I’ll spend a significant portion of it procrastinating, whereas if I’d only got a week, I would feel much more worried and therefore would be more likely to work hard.
If you’re someone who thrives on utter and total freedom, good for you. I’m happy that this is working for you. But when we go into the exam, and you see how much I’ve fallen apart in the two weeks since you last saw me, we will both know that you’ll be performing better than me, and we’ll both know why.