Things students say in the lead-up to exams (and what we really mean)

June 07, 2016
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We tend to say a lot of optimistic things during the exam period. Most of the time it’s to reassure family, friends or ourselves. Your friends are sending you messages about exam prep and you’re not quite sure how to reply when you haven’t done very much study at all. So you decide to stretch the truth a tiny little bit...

What we say: “I’ve been studying a little bit every day.”
What we mean: “I’ve printed out everything I need.”

Printing practice exams and notes does take some effort when you have to bind them and then sort them in a particular order. And then maybe you’ll do a little bit of reading, highlighting and even redoing notes you’ve already done but oh well, this all still counts. You’re just forming the foundation so you’re ready to get to work… whenever that is.  

What we say: “Yeah I did a couple of practice exams.”
What we mean: “I did one… half”

But you did do that entire half without looking at the answers or your notes so really, that was quite an achievement. The other half was a bit of a struggle though, so you had a peek at the answers. You just needed to make sure you were on the right track, that’s all.

What we say: “Sorry I don’t have time to meet up to study today.”
What we mean: “I just need some time to do nothing all by myself.”

Fair enough.

Sometimes all you need to do is kick back, appear offline on Facebook for another hour and doze off to the new season of Netflix’s Chef’s Table ‘cos #imcultured.

What we say: “Yeah, that practice question was SO hard!”
What we mean: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Unless it’s on the first half of the exam you did or on the second half you sort of did, then there’s the slight possibility you might have a clue about what’s going on. But then again you might not want to discuss the answer in the unfortunate case your friend says twenty-three and you say fish.  Or maybe you did do a couple of practice exams but you’ve chosen the path of complete denial and repression.

Again, fair enough.

What we say: “Don’t worry, it will all be over soon.”
What we mean: “I’ve given up already.”

Despite being so great at supporting friends by dropping little motivational speeches here and there (or supplying ‘just do it’ memes), you kinda just suck at motivating yourself. By the end of stuvac, you’re the three D’s: drained, deflated and done. Done to the point that none of the Masterchef judges would even try and give you a motivational speech because in your mind, you’re definitely in the bottom three.

What we say: “I think I’ll do pretty well.”
What we mean: “…yeah.”

And by ‘yeah’ you mean it could be a HD. It could be because if you’ve played around with CourseTracker then you know if you somehow get a 92% on the exam, then you will get that HD. You’re going to stay comfortable in the hopes for a D though, accept a C, sigh at a P and cry if it’s a F. But let’s not think about that just yet. 

Steffanie Tan

Steffanie is studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Monash University.

Image: Justine Reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license