Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How a mature student does last minute preparation for an exam!

So yesterday the day that I'd been dreading for months, finally arrived. I woke early with butterflies the size of vultures inside my tummy. I tried to eat breakfast as I knew that it would be difficult to concentrate on an empty stomach. I had to make the journey from Witney, in West Oxfordshire, to Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. As a reluctant, nervous driver, I decided it would be better for me to go by coach. it would take longer but at least it would cut down on my stress levels!
I left the house at 11am to catch the local bus into Oxford where I would board the coach to Milton Keynes. I arrived in time to see the coach departing the bus depot. No problem! I'd aimed for an earlier coach knowing that the next one would still get me there in  time. I filled in the time popping into Debenhams; retail therapy always calms the nerves.

I returned to the bus depot in time to catch the coach that would carry me to one of the most challenging things I'd done in years. I boarded the coach and as we made our way out of the environs of Oxford city centre, I managed to enjoy a prawn mayo sandwich I'd purchased earlier. Now what? I still had at least an hour to kill on the coach. I tried reading a book, but the words just swam before my eyes. I thought about doing some last minute studying, but I'd been cautioned that this wasn't a good idea as it could just confuse me.
Then out of the blue I was struck by the 'creative muse' and decided to write a short story. Well in a way this was a way of preparing as one of the options in the exam was a creative writing option. It was a challenge trying to write on a coach as it twisted and turned it's way across the English countryside, but undeterred and spurred on by the creative juices that were running through my veins, by the time the coach deposited me at the bus stop outside Milton Keynes station, I'd given birth to 270 odd words about why on earth I was here, in Milton Keynes about to sit an exam.

The exam was to take place in a hotel and as I entered the room, there was such a calm, peaceful feeling in the room, that any nerves I'd had seemed to melt away. When the time came for me to turn over the exam paper, I couldn't believe it! 2 of the questions were on subjects that I'd attempted as practise questions in my exam revision. As my third option, there was a creative writing question and still feeling 'under the influence' of the creative muse', I opted to do this as my third and final question. Having spent weeks, if not months dreading this exam, I actually found myself enjoying it!

Now I'm not saying that I think that I've passed with flying colours, I am just so relieved to have produced any answers at all!

I may have reached the age where I enter a room and then exit it again to try to remember why I entered it in the first place. But I'm not completely past it, I have sat an exam and survived. Bring on the next challenge. I think!

Here's the story I wrote on the coach:-

'Mary stared out the window as the coach sped along the motorway carrying her inexorably towards her fate. The butterflies she’d been experiencing earlier had flown away to be replaced by an inexplicable calm. Inexplicable; because she was about to do something that was the stuff of nightmares; her nightmares at least.
Life had been quite pleasant really; watching daytime TV, reading and lunching with friends. She’d learnt a lot from watching TV, especially Eggheads. She was almost as good as Daphne at guessing now.
A change in the motion of the coach alerted her that the coach was stopping. Only one more stop and she would be leaving the comparative safety of the coach.
Just what was it that had made her step out of her comfort zone and launch herself on the path that had led to this moment?
Loose Women! They had a lot to answer for! One stupid little competition! Even if she’d won she couldn’t have taken up the prize. Anyway, why would she want to be on TV at her age!
Well, if nothing else it had made her realise that she wasn’t as happy as she thought she was. Even at her age she still craved excitement. One last chance to feel the buzz of being alive she’d had before ‘life happened’.
Well. She’d certainly done it now! In less than an hour’s time everything that she had been preparing for would finally happen. Weeks of sleepless nights and stressful days would soon bear fruition.
In 3hours, a mere180 minutes, it would all be over. Mary would have sat her first exam in over 30 years.'


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