Warrior Words: The paper and pencil conundrum

No matter how old or how young you are, I think I speak for the majority of the population when I say that when people hear the word “test” or “quiz” or the newly coined word “quest” (a new fabulous concoction of the two) everyone’s eyes open a little wider, and their hearts beat a little faster. Whether you’re hearing it the day of, when you realize you totally missed the memo for the test that day, or remembering you need to study two chapters the night before because you failed to begin studying a week prior when the test was announced, the fluttering of the heart is in full swing.

Whichever student you are, I think it is safe to say we’ve all been in that situation. We all have our different ways of studying, and we all have different ways of test taking as well.

There’s the students who will use their hair as a way to give them all the answers, somehow believing that twirling and running their hands through their locks will be a direct route to remembering all the definitions and paragraphs that they read or skimmed over the previous day. Then there’s the ones who pull their hair back altogether in a tight, headache-triggering ponytail, believing their hair will be a distraction to them, needing everything out of their face, convinced it will clear their head of everything but what they need to know for this test.

There are also the ones who lay their head on their desk, almost parallel to the test paper, believing that making a comfortable environment for themselves and putting their mind at ease will earn them their desired grade.

My favorite one are the students that stare blankly at the wall after reading a question. You feel certain somewhere in your notes you wrote this, not sure what you jotted down, but you’ve definitely heard the word before. The eyelids narrow and the mouth moves ever so slightly trying to remember at least a few words required to do reasonably well on the ordeal that is the paper in front of you.

There are the ones that finish within 15 to 20 minutes of the exam being handed out, either because they guessed on every single one, or they really knew their stuff. As papers continuously begin to be handed in, there are the students that will look around frantically, they have 10 more minutes to answer five more multiple choice questions, two FRQs, and all the circled questions they said they would go back to.

No matter how old I get and whatever I do in life, I will never forget religiously tying my hair up with a black hair tie prior to a test or quiz, pushing my seat in all the way, holding my head in my left hand while I write with my right, staring at the wall, trying desperately to remember the definition I knew I wrote at the bottom of the second page of my notes, and handing the exam to the teacher promptly as the bell rang, my hand still sore from all the writing, my heart still racing — handing my future, my work, and all my effort to my teacher and walking out, ready to take the next test.

Maya Fazio is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.