Final exams are rolling around again, causing stress and crushing dreams. Wait, what? How did this happen? Wasn’t October, like, yesterday? It’s the eleventh hour, and it’s time to essentially re-teach yourself a semester’s worth of material. And we all know that when you walk into that exam room and take a seat, something takes hold. Something sinister. Something that was lurking in the shadows, waiting for the moment to strike. It’s your test-taking persona.
Whether we like it or not, we all shed our identities and are reduced to one of seven personas come exam day:
1. The Person Who Knows Everything. This person is engages in high-powered page-flipping like a multiple choice-answering machine. They are invariably the first person to turn in their exam. They will then proceed to exit the room in a blaze of glory, possibly to the beat of some action movie soundtrack, with the power and confidence of someone who really, truly studied. They might do a few backflips just to bring it all home.
2. The Person Who Knows Nothing. This person will be frantically going through the exam, looking for the one solitary question they know they can answer. They are nervous and flustered and rapidly dissolving into a puddle of sweat right there in the middle of the room.
3. The Person Who’s Sick. This person sounds like they’re coughing up a lung, and it’s just about the only thing anyone can pay attention to. They will always be seated directly behind you, too, so that you can just feel the gusto of their sneeze attack and know that you're next.
4. The Cheater. Every class has a handful of them, and they are either very good at it or very bad. There are no mediocre cheaters—there are only people who go to exhaustive lengths to MacGyver a cheating apparatus out of a number two pencil and their own shoes, and people who just stare blatantly at their neighbor’s paper and seem surprised when this isn’t allowed.
5. The Noise Factory. This person readjusts. They sigh. They crack their knuckles. They tap their fingers on the desk. They flip their paper over. They drop their pencil and somehow it sounds like a nuclear explosion. They scoot their chair a little and it gives an eerie, grating noise one might liken to the hounds of hell.
6. The Person Who Asks a Mysterious Questions. This person will raise their hand or approach the teacher and ask a question—but they'll ask it in a maddeningly quiet whisper, triggering an immediate reaction as heads whip around and everyone strains to hear. Are they getting a hint? Is this a question you should be asking?
7. The Fallen Warrior. This person has already accepted defeat and understands the degree to which they are utterly screwed. After looking over the test and enduring a moment’s moral collapse as all their future aspirations get sucked into a black pit of despair, while simultaneously undergoing a transformation and becoming a mere shell of the person they once were, they will spend the rest of the hour doodling puppies.
We're a mix of 1, 2, and 7, if that's at all possible. Which kind of test-taker are you?