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Exam Season: Expectations vs Reality

By Aris Cao, Arts/Law III

As Week 13 wreaks havoc upon us, there’s no use denying it anymore: finals are here. Our exam timetables are out, our Moodle forums are more active than our Instagram feeds and we’ve all checked the penalty for dropping a course two weeks from the final (repeat after me: it’s not worth it). Even after two and a half years of law school, the study skills I’ve acquired remain lacklustre at best and I write this whilst procrastinating multiple weeks of administrative law readings. So in honour of procrastiblogging and sheer denial about the amount of work that has yet to be completed, here is a small compilation of the expectations of exam season, and the rather more grim (and calorie-laden) reality.

Expectation #1: I’ll have completed all my assigned readings by Week 13 and made comprehensive notes that outline the issue, ratio, reasoning and significant obiter of each case.

Reality: You find yourself regretting your past life decisions due to the number of documents that contain only the topic of the lecture and the solitary dot point of ‘do this later.’ Unfortunately,  ‘later’ has yet to come even though your exam is a week away.


Expectation #2: I’ll give myself the Friday of Week 13 off and be ready to study bright and early on Saturday morning.

Reality: Somehow you’ve woken up at midday on a Sunday with nothing to show for your weekend aside from a headache, sore throat and an overwhelming sense of despair. You’ll then console yourself that Monday is technically the start of the Stuvac as you curl back into bed and the next episode of House of Cards begins streaming on Netflix.


Expectation #3: I’ll eat healthily and find time to exercise during the study break.

Reality: You find yourself in the confectionary aisle at Coles, pondering the merits of Lindt vs Cadbury and the only exercise you complete that day is lugging a kilogram of chocolate back to your bedroom. Incidentally, Stuvac is also the time to discover your Masterchef-worthy ability to find ingenious yet artery-clogging food combinations (peanut butter French toast anyone?)

chicken nuggets

Expectation #4: I’ll limit myself from using Instagram, Facebook and all forms of social media until exams are over.

Reality: Over the course of Stuvac you’ll find yourself increasingly well-acquainted with the plethora of memes the Internet has to offer and in your newfound role as a meme connoisseur, you’ll begin tagging your friends relentlessly because everything is just too relevant. Furthermore as a result of procrastination, your social media stalking skills will also soar to new heights and you’ll find yourself genuinely invested in the engagement party of your Year 3 teacher’s second cousin.


Expectation #5: I’ll colour code my notes, organise them in a logical and coherent manner and then complete all the relevant past papers before the exam.

Reality: Colour coding has become synonymous with “random scrawls of highlighter over the page” and the only things holding your haphazardly organised notes together are fifty paper clips and your sheer will. On the plus side, reading a past paper and answering it in your head definitely counts as substantive work (even if it was for five minutes).


Expectation #6: I’ll get a great night’s sleep before my exam and wake up refreshed and energised.

Reality: Your alarm goes off and just for one blissful moment, you forget what day it is. Then reality hits, and you realise that you have to be at the racecourse in 2 hours, ready to face your impending doom and the ever present scent of horse manure.


We can do this team! Exams are a part of law school life and before you know it they’ll be over. So… just. keep.going!

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