Pallav Bhadauria


Diploma in Financial Strategy


United Kingdom





By Pallav Bhadauria

Exam Fever

It’s four in the morning and I am trying to sleep, but I look at my watch and try to see if I am not sleeping too long – I realise it’s too early. I know that the class and the classroom discussion have fed me enough to get me through the exams but like any other student, I am nervous, I feel the tension of the exam.

The fear of not doing well does not let me feel free, so I decide that I will go through my notes again and read the book. With every second passing I feel more and more nervous, so I leave my bed and jump on to my study table. The moment I hit the table the burst of sleep makes an attempt to take me back to bed. To overcome this I move towards the dosage of caffeine, kettle whistling and dim light, adrenaline bursting, it was getting tense. Caffeine intake tick, back to desk and running through my notes, every word that I read reminds me of discussion in class, and contribution of class. In my head I felt amazing – how I who does not remember anything for long can remember each and every word of this discussion. I must credit the class and the teacher for delivering the topic so effectively. Tick-tock, tick-tock and I am sitting at my desk realising that its 7:30 in the morning. I need to be in university at 8:00. Quick rush and in the next 20 minutes I am dressed sharp, I feel I am looking good but still see sweat on my temple, the more I try to get rid of it the more it surfaces back. I take my bag and jump out of my hotel. While walking I still try to remember what I read through in the morning and all I remember are the discussions of class. I arrive in the school and see others…meeting others eases my adrenaline and the joy of seeing familiar faces again eases the tension. But as always before exams, people discuss things which makes you wonder have you done enough for exams.

Then comes the moment of truth. Sheryn comes in to inform us that we should now be dressed up for exams. For people wondering what dressed up for exam means, Oxford is a place of tradition and every tradition is taken seriously. To elaborate, when you write exams you need to be in black/dark suit, white bow tie and you need to put your sub-fusc on and get your mortar board on your head. People may think well, being so much dressed up, does it not hinder you any way in writing exams? The answer to them is NO. What it gives you is the feel that you are entering a disciplinary zone and you have to be calm, patient and responsible for your own act. It does also give you realisation of where you are and how different this place is from other places. This differentiation does soak up some of the nervousness. But as one great movie said: “With great power comes great responsibility”. This differentiation makes you feel powerful and you need to have a realisation of responsibility on your shoulder. I am enjoying this moment with others taking photos and selfies. While I was in my thought process I get to hear the next announcement that we are ready to go to exam hall –  soon the reality strikes and your mind switches back into exam mode.

You enter the bus and reach the exam hall and formality of entering the hall begins, sweaty palms and nervousness peaks in again. You look at the clock and try to think of what you remember, soon everything goes blank. The announcement, “You may start writing your paper now” comes and you turn your paper. You read the first question and all of sudden every brain cell in your mind starts flashing every single word that you heard and learnt. Two hours of exam time comes and goes, you do what you can do in this time frame. When you attempt the full paper you realise that what was taught was in your head and can never leave your head, it’s just that you need to get in a pressured situation and you will get your brain cells working again. This gives me confidence that when I go back to my work again and would face the pressure of performance to deliver, I would be delivering the goods not just with quality, but with Oxford quality.

Back to top of article

Share this post:

follow us in feedly