As exam season approaches, I thought I might delve back into my bygone IB days and write about an instance where something went REALLY wrong in an exam. It’s okay- things still panned out alright, but I thought it might be a nice reminder that things don’t always go to plan. And you know what- it’s okay for a few things to go wrong now and then (though hopefully this story might help you avoid one).

So this story isn’t actually about me (sad times I know) but about a friend of mine. We both took higher level biology together, and had complained a LOT about our neuroscience options. Perhaps we had complained a little too much about it, because as karma normally goes- it was the cause of all the drama.

Jane (my friend) and I both walked into our biology option exam a little nervous. As I said, neither of us held much love for it. Jane’s nerves apparently got the better of her. In a ‘blind options induced panic’ (a direct quote from her) she opened the paper and started answering the first questions that her eyes landed on. As she started to write, it struck Jane as strange that the questions were about plants. ‘Hey’ she thought ‘there are always a few rogue questions’ so she kept answering them. She continued for a while until suddenly it hit here: this wasn’t the right option. Desperately flicking through she found the right option half-way through the paper (and half-way into the exam). Struck with terror, she started finally to answer the right questions.

Now, as mistakes in exams go, this is a pretty big one. She answered something she hadn’t studied! But I tell this story not to panic you, but to give you some comfort. Jane might not have got as good a mark as expected on that paper, but she still managed to get a 6 overall. This meant she met her university offer and is having a great time studying biochem at the moment.

The moral of the story, therefore, is don’t panic if things don’t go to plan. You can’t always predict what is going to happen in the exam room. If you come up against something unexpected, stay calm and keep going. I PROMISE it will be okay.
Though, maybe look up what topic you are studying before you go into an exam…

Read more about Pre-Exam Routines here!