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The Math Test of Horror

You know that math test that everyone says is really hard, and all the upperclassmen say that every year, everyone fails? Yeah, I had it yesterday. (Yesterday meaning Friday, although this post won't be published until Tuesday.)

I arrived a couple minutes late and sat down in my seat, and looked around. Everyone already had their tests, and a few girls were sniffling and wiping their eyes as they stared down at their paper. I swallowed. I had thought the upperclassmen were just trying to freak us out, but now I was starting to get a bit nervous.

My teacher navigated his way through the web of tables and dropped the test in front of me. I took a deep breath and turned it over.

The first page had three problems. I quickly flicked through the rest and saw there were seven in total (I'm in an advanced math class, so seven problems is a lot for an hour). Not too bad, I thought, reading the first problem. I know how to do this.

By the time I finished the second problem, a boy next to me had apparently finished the third and turned to the next page. He froze, his eyes wide, and then started to cry.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat as I started on the third problem. He probably didn't study enough or something. I mean, I studied a lot. I should be fine. But even in my head, the words sounded shaky. I bit the inside of my cheek. Concentrate, Izzy. You can do this. The third problem took longer than the first two, but I finally got it.

I glanced at my watch - about half an hour left, which meant I spent half the time on a little less than half the test. Sweat beaded at my forehead; the problems would only get harder, and I already wasn't doing too well time-wise. Don't panic! I reprimanded myself.

The boy on my other side - a tough, macho boy, I must add - turned the page.

And promptly burst into tears.

I swallowed and, cringing, turned the page. Taking another deep but shaky breath, I read the first question.

A series of expletives ran through my mind. I attempted to do something, but didn't get very far. After staring at it for another couple minutes, I finally decided, Okay, I'll just go back to it. No sense in wasting time on something I can't think of at the moment.

I read the second question.

It wasn't that bad. I mean, it was harder than the first page for sure, but I had a pretty good idea how to go about solving it, so after about five minutes, I had the solution written all nicely in the space provided.

Time for the third question. Don't worry. You have plenty of time, and really only three questions left. It's not that bad. 

"Fifteen minutes left!"

The girl behind me whimpered, "Oh my God." A few guys on the other side of the room (there are four girls, including myself, and eleven guys in my class) began to sob.

And that was when it occurred to me that I was royally screwed. A numb pit formed in my stomach, and I felt dizzy. Focus, focus, focus! You have to do this! You worked so hard for that A, and you're not going to lose it on the last (one-hundred-point) test of the trimester! FOCUS! I read the third problem. Reread it. Read it one more time. And started to solve.

Five minutes later, I realized I made a major, major, MAJOR mistake, as evidenced by the seven paragraphs my solution already was. I crossed it out in a frenzy, and then realized I had two more unanswered questions and only ten more minutes. I drew an arrow to the giant crossed-out mess and scribbled, "Please ignore the fact that this is crossed out. THIS IS MY ANSWER." At least I could attempt to perhaps get a point or two of partial credit.

I then moved on to the last unattempted question, which basically required two steps. The first one was challenging, but I got it with two minutes to go. Some girl started saying, "Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod," without cease for the final 120 seconds.

And how did I spent that time?

I panicked. By this time, Ohmygodohmygodohmygod Girl and I were the only ones not in tears. I stared at my paper until time was up, then handed in my paper and silently left the room. One of my friends came up to me thirty seconds later and said brightly, "So how was your test?"


Rebecca-Books said...

I think I did something like this in the UK (guessing you're from America from the 'situated on the East Coast' in the About Me bit.).
It's like this certificate that only people aged 11-16 can do and you get a Gold, Silver or Bronze if you complete it in a matter of marks. Yeah...I never got any of them.
But still. This description of your test sounds very much like mine. Apart from the big macho guy bursting into tears. Actually our 'macho' guy just sat there with his phone out under the table...
This made me laugh though :)

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