Surviving Exam Week

Andres Palacios
As fall term came to an end, a mix of excitement and nervousness filled the atmosphere. Thanksgiving break seemed so close, yet the hardest week of fall term was quickly approaching: Exam Week. Although I am a Fourth Former (sophomore), this was my first ever exam week, as exams were canceled last year due to COVID.
During six days, Groton students do not have classes and have 5-6 final tests or projects that account for almost a third of their grades in some classes. Upper School students and teachers often talk about this week: the importance of your scores and the difficulty of the exams. Although these claims are true, the anxiety it creates is greater than what an actual exam week looks like.

Balancing studying, taking a two-hour test, and having some downtime on the same day, all while still succeeding in my tests, seemed like an impossible task for a finals-week rookie like me. As the Sunday before finals came around, I started to study for my first, and frankly hardest, testchemistry. Yet I was still able to go on a walk, study with my friends, and even order Chinese food from a nearby restaurant. Although my day was full of studying, I was surprised by how unstressed and happy all my classmates were. 

My next week followed almost the same pattern. Sleeping in, taking a test, then studying with my friends in a classroom, and ordering food became my new schedule for what was supposed to be the most challenging week of school. In addition, I found a lot of help and comfort from my peers, with whom I would laugh and study throughout the whole week.

I soon realized that although studying might feel excessive at times, with the right people and mindset (food helps too) any endeavor can become fun. Ordering pizza and taking a nice study break on the Circle, or taking a post-test walk to the boathouse while blasting music and talking with friends, all contributed to my “survival” of exam week. Needless to say, the tests were hard and the studying overwhelming at times, but with the help of my friends and teachers, the week felt like it was over even before it started.