We are in the midst of the first wave of midterms this semester, which means tons of papers, presentations, and, of course, exams. Those who write papers wish they had exams. Those who have to prepare for exams wish they had papers. Presentations are just annoying and take away from writing and studying time. Nonetheless, the next time you take an exam, here are eight types of test takers you might be sitting next to.
This kid tears through the exam as if it were a pepperoni pizza at the end of a drunken Saturday night. He or she gets the exam and hands it back to the professor a good 20 minutes before anyone else finishes. It always comes as a shock to some students that a person could read and answer all the questions so quickly. However, sometimes everything isn’t always as it seems. The kid who finishes first is rarely the kid who puts up the highest numbers. Sometimes finishing so quickly can indicate that he or she didn’t answer some of the questions and actually bombed the exam.
The Grizzled Veteran
This kid is slightly more methodical in their approach. They take their time to read over the exam and strategize. Rarely do they start at question number one and go through the each question in numerical order. Rather, they knock out all of the questions they can answer right off the bat and spend the rest of the time working on the more difficult questions. They might also stop briefly to go to the bathroom, grab a drink of water, regroup, etc. This person is a grizzled veteran when it comes to test taking and knows how to pile up enough partial credit to pull off the B+.
The Kid with A.D.D.
You’ll know this person because they spend most of the allotted time not taking the exam. They are all over the place and have absolutely no focus. Whether they are picking at their fingernails, doodling, or twirling their pen between their index finger and thumb, they know how to keep themselves preoccupied. Rarely does this kid score above the class average. You want more kids like this in your class to lower the class average, which means a greater chance for a curve to bump your grade up from a B+ to and A-.
This kid never shows up to class and crams 30 pages of lecture notes into one night of last minute studying. This kid is fucked and knows it. So obviously they will show up to the exam and sit next to a kid who looks smart to ensure they won’t fail. The good ones are pretty subtle in the copying techniques and cheating strategies, while the others are quite blatant and are more prone to getting caught in the act. Either way, they lack any sort of moral compass and are motivated to do just enough to avoid getting an F.
The Nervous Kid
This kid brings tons of unwanted nervous energy to the room. They are freaking out, pacing back and forth, and shuffling papers and note cards until the exam gets handed out. Right when they get the exam, they scribble down little notes they can’t afford to forget. They flip through the whole exam and assess the difficulty of each question. Usually there is a question or two they aren’t fully prepared for, which builds up even more apprehension that keeps them flustered for most of the exam period. Expect a lot fidgeting, foot tapping, and pencil twirling from this kid, as it is a mechanism to help them cope with their test anxiety.
The Failing Student with a Heart of Gold
You feel bad for this kid. He or she isn’t the smartest in the class, but is likable and friendly. Nevertheless, you can tell they are struggling because they are looking around in despair, estimating where everybody else is in their exam and gauging how much others are writing. They usually answer the questions they can and spend the majority of time gleaning through their exam to salvage a point here and there. Bottom line, you want a kid like this in your class because they lower the class average and ultimately compel your professor to scale everybody’s grade up.
The Frequent Question Asker
This kid is one most annoying test takers. As soon as they get the exam, they are up and asking ridiculous questions. They get up several times after to ask even more questions about little insignificant details that have nothing to do with the exam. What’s even more annoying is that they are constantly probing for little tips and hints from the professor. Overall, they are a huge distraction and can make you second-guess a lot of what you have already written down. There isn’t much you can do but hunker down and concentrate on your exam.
You know this kid is going to drop the hammer on the exam. They strut around with an academic swagger that is unmatched by anyone else in the room. Hell, this person is so smart they could probably teach the class. They are clearly on a different level than the other students and your professor loves them because of this. They hand in their exam with a smile and might even chat with you professor after, pointing out the tricky questions and maybe even make a joke about the bonus question. You hate this kid, but want to be him at the same time.