Having access to education and being able to call yourself a student is one of the greatest opportunities available to people. Teachers throughout history like Plato, Socrates, Einstein and many others are often celebrated for the work they have done to further humanity and for educating those around them and sharing their knowledge. Education is the foundation to any society.
The situation that the world is in now, however, has affected many people in unprecedented ways. It is unfortunate that students all over the world specifically are being unfairly affected by these circumstances.
Nevertheless, we can’t sit around and wallow in self pity instead let us explore the different ways institutions have chosen to deal with upcoming exams. From cancelling exams to postponing them or moving them online, here are some ways to deal with the challenges that come with these different situations.
One of the changes that has affected many people in an odd way is online exams. Online exams are said to be a lot longer and have a higher level of difficulty due to how easy it can be to cheat the answers.
On one hand, giving a longer exam and more difficult questions can deter people from working together since they won’t have time to go through their friends’ questions. On the other hand, this will just make everyone’s life harder. Looking up answers is not an option while taking your time to think a question through is also near impossible due to the very strict deadlines.
It’s really unfortunate that many students are really going to suffer from an academic point of view because of something that is out of everyone’s control.
I, myself, am going through this exact scenario where I have an online exam coming up that I just know will be incredibly difficult. It’s frustrating to have to go through this, truly.
Looking on the bright side, here are some tips I’ve found useful for studying for online exams:
- Study well. Pretend like it’s not an open book exam and really hammer down the information to the best of your ability. You probably won’t have time to look up the concepts during the exam, rather supplement your knowledge to have your basics down.
- Be organized. Organization is key. This ties in to the first point. Know your material, know what slides talk about what topics, and know where everything is laid out. This will save you so much time and effort trying to look for stuff. (I suggest making a comprehensive and neat outline)
- Check your internet, computer, phone, ipad, etc. Make sure to plug in your laptop, charge your phone and ipad and have everything on hand. You never know when your computer might die on you or you need to call IT support so prepare their number on your phone and keep it by your side.
- Tell your family/roommates. If you live alone this might not apply. But if you live with people, make sure to let them know not to disturb you and keep quiet while you finish your exam. Make sure to be polite, ofcourse. Ask everyone to keep their voices down, no vacuuming during exam time, no loud TV noise and keep the door closed for maximum peace. You need to be in your zone.
The whole point of having exams and assignments is to learn and prepare for your final exam. I’m sure people have gone through the process of tanking their midterm, learning from your mistakes and preparing 100x better the next time just to ace your final.
For some people, this might not be an option.
It’s really unfortunate and frustrating to not be given a fighting chance and have your grades determined by some ‘preparatory’ exams.
I can’t help but feel people’s anger who say this is lazy and unacceptable, however we must understand that this must’ve been a very difficult decision and it was probably in your best interest.
Cancelled exams don’t really need any preparing for; however, I would still suggest looking into your institution’s satisfying/not satisfying statuses for grades in such exceptional circumstances to avoid having your GPA affected. Also maybe even repeating the course during the summer to fix your grade if it’s not up to your standards.
I think out of all three options, sitting for deferred exams is the best option of three. You get to focus on your health right now, prepare better for the material, and get your shot at getting your well deserved grade.
I’m gonna say use is chance, don’t waste it!
Here are some tips:
- Act as if the exams weren’t deferred. Set a deadline for when you need to be done with learning the material and try to create a schedule. Have all your notes and materials ready and really use this opportunity to dive deep into each topic and learn it well.
- Test yourself. I think knowing something and actually recalling it or putting it into words are two completely different processes. So while you study, create questions for yourself and test yourself at the end to see if you learnt it. Also keep testing yourself while you’re still stuck at home.
- Routines might work for you! If you’re a creature of routine then definitely try to follow a routine. Wake up, make breakfast, study, make lunch, study, have dinner, watch a movie. I think this is the single most helpful thing that has truly kept my life from spiraling completely out of control and having me lose the concept of time.
- Keep your brain active. Try to read books, listen to educational podcasts or even learn a language. You need to keep your brain active while you’re in quarantine.
Being in quarantine can be difficult, but we must always look up to the brighter side of things. Make sure to not fall into the trap so many people have fallen into where they’re sleeping at 6am and waking up at 5pm. It’s not just unhealthy but it’s going to cause you trouble when trying to study or focus on an early 9am exam.
Be sure to stay healthy, practice safe hygiene practices and focus on school to get your mind off of things.
Read more about what the pandemic is telling us about our interpersonal relationships.