I woke up today at my semi-regular time of 2 p.m., just after lunch was served at O’Rorke. But I’m not hungry, and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted much of my day. I wake up to clear blue skies and the chirping of birds outside my window. It’s exam season, so there’s no class, but I don’t feel like there’s anything in particular I have to do. Maybe I’ll do a practice paper here and there but all in all, or maybe I’ll go out on a walk. That’s the thing when you don’t have classes or places you have to be. It’s a good time to relax and have a little bit of introspection to the weeks leading up to here.

Now, I’ve just had my business exam yesterday, but since the rest of my exams are quite spread out, I can’t help but feel that the impending doom of exams is around the corner and not in the present. And I guess that’s how I’ve always liked to do exams, like they’re just things that you have to do. At the end of the day, if you get a bad grade, so be it. Life goes on. At times I feel this is when we perform our best. When we’re acting in a way solely to do the best that we can do, and not worry about what else could happen.

I feel like the best way to tackle exams is not by trying to attain a certain grade or hold your GPA, but to see why we take exams in the first place. It’s simply trying to describe how much you’ve learnt in one semester. The exams aren’t the ends, but a means to show you how well you’re picking up the concepts we learn in class. So, in this case, a bad grade is far more representative of the fact you haven’t picked up that much over the course of the semester. And that’s quite important – far more important than getting a good grade for something you might have little understanding in. It’s simply a signal to tell you that perhaps you need to read more on the subject, think around the subject more, or to see if you can apply it in different ways.

Once you recognise exams for this purpose, bad grades don’t seem all that bad. They’re only telling you that you that perhaps you haven’t learnt enough over the course of the semester. And it’s fine if you get a bad grade. Some things take more time to learn than others, and that’s okay.

Okay, so now we’ve looked at these purposes, now lets see how you can do well in them, to which the most important thing I think you can do is to relax. Have you ever tried to read a textbook whilst balancing on a tight rope? There’s no answer to that, you simply can’t. You won’t pick up information nearly as easily if you’re working toward some other goal that’s outside what you should be aiming towards – learning the concept. So the next time you’re studying, if you can take  minute or two to look at what you want to achieve out of this study sesh, think about what you’re learning rather than what you need to learn to get a good grade. Other things are important too, such as getting a good night’s sleep (I turn off all of my alarms except for when I have an exam the next day), as well as eating right (which I’m failing at).Just remember that a bad grade isn’t the end of the world, and only serves to tell you that you need to learn more.

Until next time.


  • Chenchen
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Chenchen Huang

Hello! My name’s Chenchen, and I hail from Lower Hutt, although I’ve been fortunate enough to call Southampton, UK, as well as Taiyuan, China, my home. This year, I’ll be working towards a BCom/BSc, majoring in economics and physics whilst living at O’Rorke hall, being a resident cynic. I’m known to be found hunched over in my room reading or playing video games, as well as over a chess board, under a car, or anywhere that Steely Dan is being played. Other than that, I dabble in debating as well as discuss politics like a sport. Blogging for the Inside Word should be an interesting experience to say the least; I’m sure many misadventures will be documented here. Come give us a yell if you see me around Uni!

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