The 10 commandments of exam week

Steps to success during hell week

Illustration by Caroline Norman

1. Thou shalt not leave studying to the last minute.

Although getting a good sleep is better for your memory than an all-night cram session, neither is going to do you any good if you don’t know the material. It’s a simple concept – make studying a priority earlier than you think you need to, and reduce your stress on the big day.

2. Thou shalt not dress to impress.

Whether you have one exam or 20, if you show up looking like Beyoncé on the red carpet, you’re going to get a lot of evil stares. Exam week means a week of late nights partying studying, and if you really have the time to curl your hair and wear a fashion-week-worthy outfit, are you truly partying studying enough?

3. Thou shalt not make exam number comparisons.

“I have four exams to write.”

“I only have three, but they’re back-to-back over two days.”

“I have one exam, but I work all week and have three assignments due, and no time to study.”

Don’t. Just don’t. We’re all students here.

4. Thou shalt take a break once in a while.

As important as these grades are, your friends and family are important too. A little relaxation time might make the studying go even easier. If you really can’t take a break, try to plan a study group with like-minded individuals and take solace in the saying “misery loves company.”

5. Though shalt not study drunk.

I don’t care how many people say this works for them. Alcohol inhibits your long-term memory. Period.

6. Though shalt not study high.

Marijuana, on the other hand, interferes with your short-term memory. Not too helpful when you’re trying to load up your brain with last-minute facts and figures. See commandment three.

7. Thou shalt stock thou’s pantry and fridge with delicious study snacks.

Study snacks are truly the best part of studying. They are called Smarties for a reason, you know.

8. Thou shalt not wear perfume/cologne in the exam room.

Yeah, there is such a thing as a perfume allergy. But not everyone is interested in smelling wafts of Purr. Or Seduction in Black. That being said, please take a shower the morning of.

9. Thou shalt not ask “clarification questions” during the exam. 

If you really need “clarification,” you probably haven’t studied enough. It’s super annoying to everyone around you who thinks you’re getting all the answers, and it’s not like the profs can give you the solutions anyways.

10. Thou shalt wait until thou leaves exam room before jumping for joy and singing after thou’s last exam. Thou shalt also plan for an exciting end-of-exams celebration to mark this wonderful occasion. 

Congrats! Hell week is over! Of course you have reason to celebrate. But unless you want that dreaded evil eye from everyone who still has an exam on Dec. 23, save your celebrating for after you’ve left the Brown Gym. Have a little respect for those of us whose winter break is a full week shorter than yours because of exam scheduling.