It’s that time of year again; the sunshine is starting to appear, but you’re stuck inside, revising for exams. The library is packed, you’re exhausted, you’ve probably had one Domino’s too many and you can’t wait for the summer to begin and for that long-awaited post-exam freedom.
There’s something about exams which makes some people act really weirdly. Whether it’s bringing in ridiculous lucky mascots, entire meals, or answering the entirely wrong questions, there’s always a story to tell once they’re finally over.
Thankfully, however, whatever happens in your exams, it can’t be as bad as some of these exam disasters which students have suffered from. I’ve compiled a list of the worst ever exam disasters to cheer you up.
1. Rudolph the red-faced student
Clare Foyle, a statistician at the University of Derby, told The Guardian about her friend David’s festive finals disaster at the University of Sheffield:
‘David had run out of socks – a result of revision-induced laundry avoidance. He thought no harm would come of wearing his comedy Christmas pair.
‘Halfway through the exam, a muffled, musical rendition of “Rudolph” emerged from his shoes. He was forced to hand his socks over to an angry invigilator mid-exam.’
2. Err, which questions again?
It can be tricky deciding which question to do in an exam. Hannah Robinson, a finalist in Experimental Psychology at Oxford decided instead to answer the wrong set of questions during her GCSE history mock.
‘At school I was a very ‘last-minute’ person and so when my GCSE mocks came around, there were some topics I hadn’t revised. For History, we were supposed to answer questions related to 20th Century Russia, but I quickly realised my knowledge of Stalin’s 5 year plans was woefully inadequate. I took my chances instead with the causes of World War Two.
‘My teacher generously went out of his way to find the other mark scheme and grade my answer, but did use me as an example of what not to do in front of the whole class.’
3. Bonjour failure, ça va?
Exams can be such a drain, we all know it. After you’ve finished a paper, you just want to go home and nap for days. Unfortunately for Paul Jackson, now a Mechanical Engineering student at Sheffield, he forgot to wait until the exam was over.
‘It was 9am and my GCSE French listening exam had just started. Our teacher had put the CD on and the soothing, deep French accents had just begun to describe their favourite hobbies.
‘It was too much for my teenage sleep-deprived state and I fell asleep for almost the whole thing. By the time I woke up, there were only ten minutes left, and I had to guess the rest of the answers. Thankfully I didn’t snore, apparently.’
4. It’s a knock-out!
Another, truly bizarre exam story which has been making the rounds is about a girl at Bangor University who sneezed during her undergraduate exams, apparently hitting her head on the desk so hard that it actually knocked her unconscious. Who’d have thought summer hay fever could be so dangerous?
Finally, as we’ve seen, medical issues are a common source of exam-disaster. You might think the safest place to pass out would be actually <i>during</i> an undergraduate medical exam. Kitty Acton, a third-year Medical Student at St Andrews University told us about an incident during one of her exams last year:
‘Someone actually fainted in our exam and we all just sat and started, despite the fact that it was a room full of medics. One girl got up as if to help, but just moved places because it was too distracting!’
So there you have it: students do very peculiar things in exam season. If you’re about to do exams at the moment, don’t worry. It’ll all be over soon though, and think of the summer to come!
By Georgia Tindale