And the third. And the fourth.
If my forearm is sore from writing, I’m too tired to feel it. If you’ve ever been stupid enough to get yourself a timetable that gives you four consecutive exams, you’ll know what I mean. You turn up to your fourth exam all grumpy, overtaken by god-knows-what, not sleepy, not upset, not stressed or overworked or I-just-want-a-break (because you knew it was always going to be that way anyway), not unprepared or nervous or angry or I’m-going-to-punch-the-next-person-I-see (because, alas, you knew it was always going to happen anyway), not even impatient or I-just-want-to-get-it-over-with (after all, there was always going to be four, wasn’t there?)—just consumed by something, something that forces your normal cheeriness to temporarily leave you while you await number four.
People notice, of course. People normally notice when you’re acting differently. And then you notice yourself. And then you just feel like a loser. Not in an academic sense, just a loser in general. The exam doesn’t seem daunting, you just feel like a loser.
The melancholy doesn’t really set over you until your fourth exam goes brilliantly worse than you would have imagined. Before that, well, the first two seem to go alright anyway, and the third, well, who cares, but the fourth, that’s where it ends, that’s where you start to look back. Maybe it was incompetency, but tiredness is so much easier to use for an excuse, isn’t it? Perhaps that third exam was a waste of time.
I mean, I’ve had two-in-a-day several times—I encountered my first clash in year eleven, calculus and English. That one had me just about dead. The next year, French and English, less so. But two-in-a-day isn’t quite as intimidating when you know you have two the next day. Maybe that’s why I was feeling alright this time yesterday.
This one was never serious for me. Scholarship exams, by their nature, are designed for the talented. Today, I learnt what that actually means. Who was I kidding myself? Anyway, I spent about 85 minutes on Section A, which left 45 minutes for each of the other two essays. I suppose I’m not interested enough in this exam to provide an insightful commentary here. I couldn’t be bothered doing the other two properly—in fact, I almost left the exam after Section B, and I figured, if I’ve got ideas for Section C, why not scrawl them out before I leave and get zero for them, and at least they’ll be out of my mind. So that’s what I did. And left fifteen minutes early. And ran, away from that room, as fast as I could. Okay, well I didn’t run, but I wanted to—I just thought it might make me look a bit stupid, that’s all.
Not being an able English student, it’s hard for me to judge the standard of the paper, but it didn’t seem overly bad, so I’m going to say 14 to pass and 21 for outstanding, out of a maximum 24, just like last year.
The less said, the better. (In a bad way.)
Predictions: 20 to pass, 30 for outstanding, out of a maximum 40. Yes, it’s the same proportion as last year (which was out of 48). The paper felt different—way more writing and somewhat vaguer questions—but somehow, I don’t think it was any harder or easier.