For some reason exams this year turned out to be more stressful than last year’s exams, even though I am now far better at dealing with exam stress than I was in first year. My first exam wasn’t particularly difficult, but as it was a cross semester module there was a fair amount of info to take in. Also to make things worse, this exam included a listening section where we had to analyse a piece of music by ear, something I am extremely bad at (ironic, a music student who’s useless at listening!)
The run up to my opera exam a week later was far more stressful than it needed to be; the night before someone in the flat above me had a birthday and invited friends over to make loads of noise specifically to stress me out before my exam (unlikely, but that’s what it felt like). They went quiet by 1am but I was so angry and frustrated by that point that I didn’t get to sleep until after 3. The exam the next day was scheduled for 1pm but I got up at 8 to revise and also to maintain my sleep schedule. I’m the kind of person that, no matter how little sleep I’ve had, I work best getting up at roughly the same time everyday rather than sleeping in to catch up on any sleep that I’ve lost. So I knew that I would have a clearer head getting up at my normal time even though I’d lost some sleep. Unfortunately I was still upset from the night before and combined with the lack of sleep I took one look at a past paper and burst into tears. I’ve only ever cried before an exam once apart from this, and that was my A-Level history exam when I needed a scribe, a private exam room and a lot of extra time due to RSI in my right hand but I went to school on the morning of that exam to find that the exams officer hadn’t actually bothered to prepare any of those things! So to say I was pretty stressed about my opera exam is an understatement. However, after having a good long cry and a meltdown I felt a lot better, and once I got into the exam everything went very smoothly.
I had three days between that and my film sound exam, which was scheduled for a Saturday morning. I would like to take this opportunity to state that whoever thought scheduling exams on Saturdays is a good idea is a complete and utter tool. And has also probably never worked a Saturday job. Naturally I didn’t want to use up holiday hours on an exam so I asked my boss to book me in for an unpaid holiday, but unfortunately the week before she found that the rota was looking thin for the day of my exam so she asked me if I would come in whenever I could after I finished. Luckily for me, I have a great job, with lovely colleagues, short hours and there are no unpleasant duties involved, so I was okay with working after my exam. If I was working somewhere stressful like McDonald’s (which I have in the past) the answer would have been no, but the great thing about my job is that it’s a very pleasant working environment so I’m always happy to come in and do extra time when I’m available. When I finished my exam that Saturday though all I wanted to do was go home and nap, and if I’m honest I sulked a little bit for the first hour of my shift, but once I got into the swing of things I was fine. The day was also redeemed by a house party, catch up with some course mates and a trip to Pryzm later on, so all things considered it was not a bad day. Exams? Completed them mate.