No one enjoys taking exams. Why would we? Exams are stressful, they’re time-consuming, they can be really hard and they might have a big effect on a final grade. Sometimes, when we’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the benefit of taking exams.
However, succeeding on a course exam demonstrates your strong skills and abilities. So when you do well on a test, be proud. You’ve accomplished a major achievement. Next time you’re studying or logging in to take your exam, try to ignore the anxiety and remember: you can do this.
1. You know your stuff.
All academic subjects require you to become familiar with a body of knowledge, that is, to understand the important facts about the subject. When you take an exam, you can show your mentor, the University and yourself that you know the material. That material may be the building blocks for future course work in that subject. It may also be relevant in your career or studies in another subject and change the trajectory of your life.
2. You are a sharp thinker.
Your midterm or final exam will ask you to go beyond demonstrating knowledge to prove that you can do something with that knowledge. A multiple-choice question may ask you to identify the best solution to a unique problem. Or an essay question may ask you to analyze an ethical dilemma, interpret a poem or compare two approaches to solving a problem. By doing this, you demonstrate critical-thinking and communication skills. These intellectual skills are highly useful to you not just as a student, but also as an engaged, thoughtful professional, parent, friend and citizen.
3. You have valuable professional skills.
As a mature, self-directed student, this means you have superb motivation and time management, organization and planning skills. It means you’ve found the time in your busy life to prioritize your learning and that you can create a strategy for your studying. It also means you can perform independently, under pressure, all while being observed. When you develop these skills, you can leverage them in your career, which can lead to recognition, promotions and other professional opportunities.
The bottom line is, by doing well on your exams, you gain confidence: you know you can succeed in your education, career and life, because look at what you’ve already accomplished!
Written by Elizabeth Gehrig