Deciding where to do exams is part of exam day stress


Online exams have given us more control over where we do our exams - but does this add to the stress?

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Image by Alanah Hammond

By Alanah Hammond

It’s May. It’s a time when many people, students included, are cheered up by the little things like the warmth and sun, the blossoms on the trees, or the fact that they don’t need to plan their outfit with several layers or carry a huge winter coat. Yet, in a student mindset, May is also synonymous with a particular time that we all dread: exam season.

Everyone has sat many exams in their lifetime. The regimented education system in the UK starts exams early. As 11 year-olds we tackled the Year 6 SATS and the heavy exam pattern continues throughout school ending in GCSEs and A-Levels.

Even though we may be used to them, the word ‘exam’, merely made up of two syllables, still has the power to instil fear or dread into any reader. However, in this weird, newly-emerging, post-pandemic world, where everything is touch and go, the concept of ‘exams’ is starting to look a little bit different. A new concept has been born: online exams.

Of course, we must credit the effort that has been made to recognise the absolute debacle that students had to face when it came to pandemic teaching and learning. However, to the sticklers who badger on about how in their day exams were taken in a hall, and how we have it easier, let me tell you, it is not all plain-sailing.

I mean, at least such sticklers knew that any exam would take place in the usual exam hall with wobbly desks and annoying intermittent coughing. We have no such consolation. No, we must decide where we should sit our 24-hour online exam.

Do we book early and grab a space in the library? If it’s the library, do we chance the Morrell or Fairhurst study spaces? Shall we do the exam in our university accommodation or will the neighbour start mowing the lawns or start blasting heavy metal? When the panic sets in, shall we search Train Line frantically and find the cheapest train home to sit the exam there? Or is being at home just as distracting and we won’t be in the “exam-mindset”?

In such a myriad of questions, therein lies the subtle and often overlooked caveat of the online exam. Perhaps I am overthinking or “deeping it”, as I have been told by a fellow flatmate, yet I still think that some careful consideration is needed when deciding where you will take your online exam.

Don’t get me wrong, we are privileged to be spoiled for choice, but since it is a choice I am so unaccustomed to, I have found myself procrastinating by thinking about the best place to sit the exam, or looking at trains to keep my options open, rather than sitting down to do any actual revision.

Wherever you decide to sit your exams, good luck from everyone at Nouse!