Why worry? These exams will come and go

Part of being a student is being equated with some clichéd exam story. Welcome to the mocks.

Meiryum Ali April 15, 2011
Final exams are starting. Poor school kids, you think. So glad I’m over that, you muse as you reminisce about the hours you spent cramming text, the shock of your last year reports.

And even if that’s not exactly what you went through during school, it’s what most of your friends did. Part of being a student is being equated with some clichéd exam story. So it’s totally understandable if you’re wondering why this time you can’t spot the telltale sleep-deprived puffy eyes, or why students aren’t clutching each other in corridors, weeping about how horrible the exam was. It’s okay if you’re more worried about the exams than we are. Because we really aren’t. Welcome to the mocks.

Mocks are not terribly taxing on the nerves, but the whining is there anyways. ‘They’re always two MCQs on electricity, not 10,’ a physics student whines. ‘The whole paper was microeconomics, that’s not fair!’ cries another.

Complaining is a rite of passage. If CIE springs a surprise question in the exam, that’s acceptable; if the school springs one, let’s go torch something. That’s why mocks are considered ‘such a FAIL’. Mocks are designed to simulate the final exams, except they can’t possibly be the final exams. And with that logic any semblance of fear disappears.

Suddenly mocks become a nuisance. We talk of it in terms of ‘well, there goes my week’. Where are the alarm bells going off, the panicking and the sudden religiousity that hits students around this time? ‘These are the M-O-C-K-S’ someone spelled out loudly. ‘Enough with the studying already!’  Sorry, my bad, I forgot the studying was reserved for later.

Mocks are when people pig out philosophically. ‘This education system is crushing our individuality and creativity,’ you burst out sporadically, while checking sparknotes for literature answers. Or maybe you’re wondering why you picked your subjects in the first place, as you work out the financial cost of cancelling your chemistry exam.  Anything and everything is better than cracking open a past papers book. That can wait till May.

Mocks are in-between-ers. They arrive at the wrong end of April and leave you neither jubilant nor depressed after the results. Or maybe it’s a phenomenon peculiar to AS level students only - the real in-between-ers.

Our last days of school are really a two-year course to dream about the life beyond. We set up a study schedule for the final CIE exams and worry about where we should intern this summer. In our free time we give the SAT and google university websites, compare UK and US financial aid; sit up with interest when the IBA and LUMS battle it out for our attention. Where do mocks fit into the picture? There seems to be so much more to be stressed about that we prepare, and then sit for, the school exams only half heartedly.

Published in The Express Tribune.

Meiryum Ali A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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