Keep Moving Forward

20 Oct


The first exam is always the hardest because there is so much uncertainty. Will it be multiple choice or free response? Will the professor ask about large concepts or specific details? Will the test be curved? Are any of the scores dropped at the end? Will everything be based on lecture, the readings, or both? While some of these questions can be easily answered by reading the syllabus, some will remain mysteries until the first exam is handed out. This semester I was fortunate enough to take two major classes that truly interest me, and that have favorable test structures. One exam score, the lowest, will be dropped at the end of the semester. When my professor explained this, I was extremely relieved. Though it would be ideal if every exam received a high score, dropping one exam provides wiggle room in case something happens.


As the exams approached, the endless studying began. In the first class, I read all the chapters, reviewed the lecture notes and reread the lecture slides. When the exam time came, I was under the impression that there would be 50 questions, but this was not the case. There were only 25 questions, which made me extremely nervous. The questions were now worth twice as much as before. The only thing that could be done at that point was move forward. Most of the questions were from the lecture, but the ones asking for details came from the chapters. My exam was finished in 20 mins, which was the fastest exam I have ever taken. This too made me uneasy, but my exam was confidently turned in and I headed out to study for my next exam. Though my study time was wisely managed for my exam in class one, there was not enough time to finish all the readings for my second class. Preparation for the second class was hindered by other assignments and some of the readings were not completed in time. Reviewing the lecture slides and class notes was my go-to move. When the exam time came, I opened the packet and was flooded with relief to find 50 questions. Unfortunately, the feeling did not last long as many of the questions were from the chapters that were not read. So I tried my best, handed in the exam, and walked out feeling deflated.


While it can be said that my demeanor is generally very calm and relaxed, waiting for exam results brings out the annoyingly obsessive part of me. It took two days for the exam results to be posted, and in that time I checked d2l 32 times. For my first class, my score was an 80%, which was not the greatest but acceptable. It was just high enough to boost my confidence in the class. My second class exam score was very disappointing. When that 70% popped up on the screen, I took 3 deep breaths, reminded myself of the wiggle room, and made a plan for the next exam.


It was clear that improvements needed to be made. I vowed to attend class and pay attention, even if the information seemed repetitive and boring. Promises were made to read all the chapters, re-watch the supplemental videos, and review the lecture slides. I am proud to say that these promises were kept and both my exam scores improved by 12%. My first class exam score went from an 80% to a 92%, and my second class exam score went from an 70% to a 82%. Though higher scores can be reached in my second class, it is clear that my hard work has paid off and I am optimistic about the future.




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