This week brings with it the first midterm for each of my classes. Bio is Thursday morning, and physics is Friday morning. My organic chemistry exam was tonight. Like most of the exams I had over the summer, I wasn’t sure this afternoon whether I’d prepared enough for it. I had gone over the problems, reread the lecture notes, re-skimmed the book, and everything else, but I had the usual niggling doubts. Did I really cover everything? What if I missed a key point or two that would end up making a big difference? Well, in the past I’d done perfectly well with the same feelings, so I wasn’t very concerned going into the exam.

Holy crap, that was hard. But I’m actually not upset about it.

I won’t be surprised at all to see that I missed some points on the exam, and I expect that it will be much harder for me to earn a high grade in this class. In all honesty, however, I prefer exams that err on the side of being too difficult. This exam asked questions that were not straight out of our notes or homework. Someone with good knowledge of the subject material would be able to solve any of them, but the problems presented were mostly new. Of course, even with proper preparation, some might not be able to put their knowledge to use in the proper way. I much prefer this kind of test to one that simply asks for regurgitated information. It’s simply too easy to give a test in organic chemistry that tests only memorization skills. The real question is whether students can take their memorized information and actually do something “useful” with it, and that’s why I love it when professors come up with difficult tests.

Even if I end up with a big red academic welt on my butt by the time I walk out of there, I like knowing that I really got a chance to exercise what I’ve learned. There’s a sort of competitive edge to it as well, although most of the time I’m just competing against myself. I can’t tell how well I did tonight, but I’ll be comfortable with my score regardless. Hopefully it’s a score that will help to get me into med school.

For now, though, it’s time to sleep. Can you tell I’m drained?

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