Six ways to distress during the exam season [HUMOR]

If you’ve gone into exam season with a spring in your step, follow these 6 steps to ground yourself in a more real, authentic high school experience. Clip your wings and enjoy falling into the depths of despair! Take a chance to distress as we ruin your attempts to destress. Have fun!

Tanvi Pedireddi and Elijah Tillemann

If you’ve gone into exam season with a spring in your step, follow these 6 steps to ground yourself in a more real, authentic high school experience. Clip your wings and enjoy falling into the depths of despair! Take a chance to distress as we ruin your attempts to destress. Have fun!

Elijah Tillemann, Staff Writer

With exam season in full swing, you may find yourself busier than ever. For those of you struggling to deal with exam stress, this article is not addressed to you. You have already accomplished everything we’re going to be covering today. Today, I’d like to speak to the poor souls who have artfully planned their perfect gradebooks and studied with enough care to avoid any and all stress during the exam season. While such studying is an impressive academic achievement, it robs you of the authentic feeling of high school panic. Today I’ve decided to help all the stress-free planners at TJ regain this feeling. To help you pivot from destressing to distressing, here is a helpful 6-step field guide to maximizing your pain during exam season.


STEP 1) Take every AP.

It’s never too early to start preparing for your exams. Ideally, preparation should begin the year before as you choose the most advanced and painful classes possible. These classes will be harder to understand, forcing you to work harder and wear yourself out over the course of the year. 

Think of yourself as a car tire: A full schedule of advanced classes will act as a spike trap that will leave you shredded and deflated, preparing you for the maximum pain possible when the time comes to take the exams. 

AP classes are especially useful for this because AP exams happen earlier in the year than finals, which gives you less time to study the material than in a standard class. The combination of advanced difficulty and a shorter study year can be absolutely crushing. In other words, it’s exactly what we want to accomplish.


STEP 2) Gamble on the grades.

While this may sound counterintuitive, you have to work hard in school to achieve the maximum amount of distress and failure possible. It’s important to carefully keep your grades high—but not too high— to maximize exam season panic. 

A perfectly stressed student will have grades around an A-: high enough that a final exam can’t bring it up much, but low enough that a failure on the exam will result in an extremely disappointing final letter mark.

A 90 is the perfect grade for maximum distress. A final exam valued at 20% can only bring a 90 up to a maximum of 92, but can drop it down to the disappointingly low mark of 82. You’ll have nothing to gain, but everything to lose. 

Gambling on grades leaves you tired and worn out. The constant effort to maintain high grades will exhaust even the strongest among you. Like a delicious souffle, you must be thoroughly beaten before reaching your final form: a fluffy, stress-filled bubble of misery, ready to be eaten alive during exam season.


STEP 3) Avoid scheduling at all costs.

If you are to do well on exams, a carefully planned study schedule is a necessity. This is why we will ignore schedules, and maximize distress through procrastination. Procrastination is your friend, and good friends you must become. Practice procrastination throughout the year. 

During the year you must study and avoid allowing yourself to become apathetic. Treat assignments like an objective to be accomplished during the eleventh hour for dramatic purposes. 

To achieve maximum panic during the 24 hours before the exam, be sure to spend the weeks before the exam avoiding any form of study or planning. Under no circumstances are you to study until 24 hours before the exam. Once that 24 hours kicks in, your plan must shift.


STEP 4) Pull some all-nighters.

Who needs sleep? You do, which is why you must avoid it. Like a master chef preparing an overcomplicated soup, you must allow your stress to simmer for an unholy amount of time for it to reach full potency. 

Study all day and all night. The rotation of the earth is irrelevant compared to the sheer focus and will you must put into studying during the last 24 hours before your exams. 

Coffee and caffeine are both useful during all-nighters. If you have dietary or religious reasons for avoiding those, we recommend a massive pile of gummy worms, to be eaten once a minute from 8 pm to 6 am. This allows for a total consumption of 600 worms at a rate that doesn’t feel indulgent but does make you feel like you’ve eaten tapeworms instead of gummy worms. 

Be sure to make your caffeine or worms the focus of your study. It is important you do not distract yourself and actually learn something. Reread the chapters of your textbook until you can recite them by heart, but don’t learn any of the nomenclature; avoid understanding the material. 

In an ideal situation, you will be so tired by morning that you fall asleep on the way to school and miss the first half of the test. We have now created the perfect storm, and all that remains is the test itself. 


STEP 5) Either watch the clock intently or don’t at all.

If we are to assume you’ve slept through half the test, time will logically become a concern. As you sit in your cold plastic chair, nervously tapping away with your pencil, you must calm yourself and make a decision: Do you focus on the clock or not? 

A reasonable test taker will check the clock every once and a while to make sure they stay on pace. To maximize distress we must act as unreasonably as possible, so you must ignore the advice above and select an extreme. The most important thing is that you are either all too aware of the time slipping through your fingers, or not aware at all. 

Either check the clock incessantly, or take two hours on the first question. We all must succumb to time eventually, but the goal here is to give time an open spot between your shoulder blades to stab you in the back. 

This will be the final blow for test score, and cause the maximum misery during your final testaking moments as you are made painfully aware of your impending doom. All that is left is to stress forever after, as detailed in step 6.


STEP 6) Never forget, always repeat.

Like most things, tests end eventually. Unlike most things, tests are easy to remember forever. Take that terrible final mark you’ve earned by following steps 1-5 and tape it to your wall. 

Remind yourself every time you have a test what happened last time. Spend hours focusing on the terrible calamity of it all. Sink into a sea of inaction and self loathing as you think about what happened during that fateful test, and convince yourself of the vital importance of avoiding that result next time. 

It is important to avoid deviation from the steps listed above during this step. Do not allow yourself to use this as an excuse to grow or learn, as that will defeat the purpose and potentially lead to more confidence and higher test scores. Character arcs are to be avoided at all costs, along with self actualization, a full night’s sleep, good natured chuckling, and little kittens wearing tiny boots. 

This final step will ensure that, for the rest of your teenage years, you will be able to partake in the most distressing of stressing tests, receiving the most distressing of stressing grades.

If you feel that you are already adept at achieving the authentic sensation of high school panic, we recommend that you shake things up a bit and perhaps try to destress to avoid distress. If, however, you are a talented youth who has never had to pull an all-nighter and always gone into exam season with a spring in your step and a smile on your face, allow these steps to become your compass, and you will reach heights of despair that few could ever dream of. When that is done, we encourage you to look back at where you’ve come from and ponder your journey.


STEP 7: Ignore everything in this article. 

This is satire. Do not attempt to accomplish any of these suggested steps. They are terrible ideas. The sheer depravity and idiocy that went into some parts of this guide calls into question both the sanity of the author and the values of a society that would inspire such a list.