We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #102: Finals ahead!

Warning sign

Well it’s that time of year again, finals! On one hand I’m excited at the prospect of being done with the term, on the other I’m a notoriously bad test taker. I deal with a lot of anxiety you see and even when I know how to solve the problem, come test day I end up drawing a blank or making very stupid mistakes. Standardized tests are the bane of my existence!!

At this point in my career I would call myself a professional student. I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life after my military service in school. I really enjoy learning and while I’m at the final stages of my education (my Ph.D) I’ve still lacked a good methodology for test prep and test taking. It isn’t for lack of trying either, it’s more a mental health issue than anything and despite the years of effort I’ve put into improving my mental health, there hasn’t been much progress on the test anxiety front.

I’ve tried an assortment of medication, therapies, and even special test taking accommodations. All of which I’ve had mixed results with, none of which (singularly or in combination) have proven to be the elusive answer to my problem.

The biggest problem with all of this is that in the academic setting testing is king. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this, but because it is something that comes up on a regular basis, I feel compelled to mention it again. This puts me at a disadvantage for the most part and has me constantly on edge with my grades. I’m expected to perform well in all of these classes and it’s hard when 90% of my grade revolves around one or two exams.

No really, this class has two exams, on worth 40% of my grade and the other worth 65% of my grade. That isn’t a typo 65% for my final exam… ugh. So this week as I get ready, I need to try modifying my exam prep routine to try and find the right combination of things to get me through it. Ideally I will be able to do my best. Practically, I will probably end up doing the same thing I do on every exam, stress out, overthink it, then draw a blank when I knew the solution prior to going into the exam.

Not all classes have this testing scheme, but most do and I’m stuck trying to work around it. The classes where we have some big project, or have homework which help offset exams are the ones I do best at, this class has neither so fun times are ahead. I won’t know how I did for a while after the fact, but I’m trying to keep a positive attitude that I will at least pass the class and my efforts haven’t been for nothing.

My finals are in six days, so while I won’t know how I did officially for a week or so after that, I’ll have a good idea based on how badly I screw up during the exam. My test anxiety is a vicious cycle for sure, one that I hope to find a solution to eventually.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!

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