How Do You Enjoy Studying For Exams????

stressed out

So I can talk about this now. The exam was yesterday, I’ve had a good night’s sleep and I’m back to being a half normal member of society again! Yesterday I had my Unit 1 case study exam for my WSET Diploma. There’s a coursework bit that I’ve got to bin off over the weekend, but for a few reasons it’s always the exam that bothers me the most. But should I be trying to enjoy it a bit more?

That sounds a bit daft. Being from the UK, our entire education system is about exams. I started taking exams at the age of 7, did two lots a year until I was 24, and by the end of it…well I knew how to pass an exam! That’s what I became pretty good at. I can’t remember much about the subject matter, but it doesn’t seem to have been my primary concern, or that of the school I was at!

Fast forward a few years, and a rather unfortunate dalliance with depression later, and it appears that me and adrenalin aren’t exactly best mates. So sitting exams, which used to be my bread and butter, is now just a painful experience of getting through the days leading up to it without going completely bat-shit crazy.

The wife’s been incredible and pointed out that at this stage you should be enjoying learning about the subject. And that’s the stupid thing. This is the first time in 25 years of exams that I’ve loved the subject matter. The coursework on gin is fantastic fun. The case study, on how the supply chain works in the wine industry was also fascinating (and eye opening, you guys in the US, what on earth is going on with that ridiculous state system?!?!).

But could I love it enough to ignore the fact I’m sweating beads in the days leading up to the exam?

Well I’m still here aren’t I? I’ll call that a mini victory!



6 thoughts on “How Do You Enjoy Studying For Exams????”

  1. Thanks for putting into words exactly what I’ve been going through the past few weeks. I never got this amped up for exams in HS or college, or even graduate school. But yesterday as the Unit One exam began I could barely write a legible word, and I don’t write that legibly to begin with. And the test left me confused and just as anxious: was it really that straight-forward? Did I leave something out? I wrote steadily the entire time. I have no idea if I passed or failed. And that is something I’m going to have to let go of. There is other work to be done and life to be lived. Let the chips fall where they may. And, yes, what a blessing to have a supportive and understanding wife! Great post!

    1. Heya Tom, another message of support – Unit 1 is tough. So much to say, so little time and always second guessing whether you are getting the right points across.
      My advice, as someone who was there this time last year (and from a diligent class with a 50% failure rate, albeit in Australia which does seem to put us at a small disadvantage – so isolated) is, if you don’t get through, a remark is worth paying for. That happened with a few members of my class with positive results.

  2. You said something so interesting here Mike “and by the end of it…well I knew how to pass an exam! That’s what I became pretty good at.” This is exactly the whinge I have with WSET. I feel like we are learning how to sit exams their way rather than necessarily being assessed on the knowledge we have gained.
    I think the course is excellent, I love the knowledge but I walk out of every single exam feeling disappointed that all I have really shown is my ability to write bloody quickly, not the depth of my knowledge.

    I suspect this might be the English system. All my education up to this point in Australia (school and a bachelor degree in Pharmacy) has been so completely different.

    Regardless, well done. Unit 1 is tough. I have had a last few weeks much like yours, gearing up for Sparkling. The time pressure meant silly mistakes and incomplete answers despite a really thorough knowledge of the subject… fingers crossed.

    1. I’ve heard that by MW you have an oral examination infront of a panel. Not sure if that’s true, but I think a chat about the issues is so much a better barometer of whether you understand what you’re on about than banging it all out on paper in an hour!

      But the I think we had about 100 Diploma students doing Unit 1 on Wednesday, can appreciate that’s not 100% practical

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