Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coping with final exams: No pressure. From the Washington Times.

By Jim Picht

If you’re a college student, this isn’t necessarily a happy time of year. You have final exams to take, papers to finish, presentations to prepare, and the pressure can be brutal.

Today is the first day of finals at my university. Some of my students seemed stressed this morning. One told me that yesterday he’d had to study for two final exams as well as prepare his presentation for my Literature and Law class. I replied that he had all semester to study study and prepare. This week should just be a matter of fine-tuning and getting enough sleep. That's hardly the sympathetic answer he wanted, but it's a lesson that needs learning.

There are others. If you’re feeling anxious about your final exams, here’s some food for thought: What's the worst that can happen when you take an exam? You fail? Is that as bad as a traumatic brain injury or cancer? Is it as bad as a divorce? Being fired from your job? The death of a friend? The death of a child? On the cosmic scale of awfulness, failing an exam comes pretty low, probably somewhere between a paper cut and the flu.

You don't get kicked out of school unless you fail a lot of exams, and if you fail a lot of them, perhaps you should find a life path that doesn't involve having to pass calculus.


1 comment:

  1. I'll admit to a bit of knee-jerk skepticism about anything in the Washington Times (though it's looking pretty good these days by comparison to some other "news" "outlets" that have arisen since -- e.g. Fox News), but this is pretty good. The lucky/unlucky stuff toward the end got a little weird (and doesn't really have much to do with failing or passing exams, which is not primarily a matter of luck), but the basic idea that exams should be viewed in a larger perspective is good.