How to do a 24 hour exam

It’s summertime and the living is easy, until you realise your exam is released today and not, as your timetable might easily lead you to believe, tomorrow. Your coursework is finally over (if not, see here) and this is the final hurdle on the way to that coveted £27,000 sheet of paper. If you’re feeling a little unsure of what to do, do not fear – this the only exam rubric you’ll ever need: the 24 hours of an exam, explained.

24 hours remaining

Sit down at desk. You have picked your nails, picked your favourite Lo-fi playlist, now you’re ready to pick your questions. 24 hours? Piece of cake.

23.5 hours remaining

Mm, cake. Is it too early for cake?

23 hours remaining

You’ve just finished rearranging your desk. The green pencil pot next to that plant just did not look good, but the green pot on the other side was too close to the turquoise folder, which you couldn’t possibly move because–. Anyway. You can’t have that kind of distraction in an exam. Good work.

22 hours remaining

Find all your previous marks and calculate the minimum you need to get in this exam to get the grade you want. Then work out the minimum you need to get to pass. Realise there’s a reason you don’t study Maths, and draw a picture instead.

21 hours remaining

You’re just beginning, the pen’s in your hand, ending unplanned. Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window, let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find. *cue dance party*

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin…

19 hours remaining

You have written 100 words, and only 24 are the question title. Good work! It’s time for lunch.

16 hours remaining

Lunch turned into chats with your housemates over food which turned into ‘just one episode, go on then’ which turned into nap which turned into ‘anyone want a cup of tea?’ which turned into chats with your housemates over tea. But you’re back, refreshed, and ready to work.

15.5 hours remaining

*tummy rumbles*

15 hours remaining

When the going gets tough the tough get going– downstairs to the fridge.

Discover that the fridge is empty and all you have are some stinky bananas. Rejoice! If lockdown has taught you anything, it’s how to make poor life decisions a great banana bread.

13 hours remaining

Actually, maybe, if you’re keen, start the next question? Idk, no worries if not x 

11 hours remaining

You’ve done some really good work, I’m proud of you. It’s time for a break. Of course, you can’t put on a Netflix show because you don’t want to waste an hour on it. Open up Instagram instead, ‘just for five minutes’.

9.5 hours remaining

It’s time for bed, because nothing is more intelligent than a good night’s sleep. As you get ready, consider thinking through the exam questions as you fall asleep. Conk out as soon as your head hits the pillow.

6 hours remaining

It’s 1452. You’re sitting in a hut on a small wooden chair. You don’t own a table, so you’re using your little brother’s back. A blank page sits before you. You pick up your pencil and start to write; the words are flowing and you know exactly what to say. Excitement builds as the perfect exam answer exudes from your hand. The door opens, and Bill Bryson walks in. He’s proud of you. The next moment, you’re surrounded. Bill has ratted you out; there’s no such thing as paper in England yet. You are accused of sorcery and collusion with the Devil and sentenced to burning at the stake. As flames lap at your feet, you wonder whether you can put this on an SAC form. Suddenly, you feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you, only you can let it in. Natasha Bedingfield appears in the distance and you know you are safe. She walks up to you, whispers, ‘The rest is still unwritten’.

3 hours remaining

Your alarm goes off. You check your phone to find a message from your mum, she hopes your exam went well, and she wants to know when she can come and visit. You roll over. 

2 hours remaining

You’ve done it, you’ve beaten the record for fastest typing done with one hand (the other is making coffee). Take solace in the knowledge that you’ve probably only done marginally worse than you would have in a real exam. Check the course group chat you’ve muted just to see if everyone else is struggling to.

1 minute remaining

The last hour has been a blur, and you don’t know where you are anymore. Open up Duo, say a prayer for your Wifi. Greet the familiar face of the Turnitin page. Submit. 

And just like that, your university education is complete. Wasn’t it just like you imagined?

Featured image from here, available for commercial use.

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