Do you want to know one of the worst, most stressful environments you can be in at Cornell? Try coming to an exam room about half an hour before a test is scheduled to begin. Seriously…I’ve done it many times, and it literally is just an awful, bleak environment. (Why have I done it multiple times before? Many of my exams have started at 7:30pm, and for those tests I normally spend the day studying. By the end of the day, I’m so antsy and ready for the test that I get there early just because I’m eager to get it over with.)
It’s an awful environment because:
- Well, imagine walking into a classroom where people are visibly stressed out, scribbling and frantically flipping pages in a last-minute attempt to soak in information. It’s stressful to me because at this point, I’m not getting any more studying done, and seeing loads of people anxious doesn’t do wonders for my mental well-being either.
- There’s always that person that freaks everyone out and confuses the masses by asking everyone how to solve one last-minute, complex question.
- You witness the breakdown of the poor soul who forgot to bring a calculator to a statistics exam, or who brought an unauthorized graphing calculator to an accounting test and thus has to do calculations by hand. Not a happy sight to see at all, and you always pray for them that somebody has an extra calculator to lend.
So, my advice is to get there before the exam start time, of course, but not ridiculously early. Your sanity will thank you for it. Oh, and you know what doesn’t help me mitigate exam stress? Seeing a 20 x 20 foot timer projected onto the wall during an exam (see picture at right), like what I experienced Thursday night. While it might help some budget their time, I wasn’t thrilled to look up and see that I had 17 minutes and 45 seconds to finish a few problems. I’m gonna be working hard and speedy regardless…so a simple “20 minutes/10 minutes remaining” announcement would’ve worked for me! At least I went to the bathroom before it started, right?