I have had exams. I’m putting this here because people know that I’ve had exams and will ask how they went and I’d rather not have to rehash it too many times over. The short answer is horrendously badly.
The one small positive is that it was through no fault of my own. I am supposed to have 25% extra time in exams, because I write slowly and because it takes me longer to process what a question is asking, thank you Asperger brain. I have a student support agreement which says that I need the extra time. In all of the class tests I’ve had this year I’ve had extra time. In a 2-hour exam, 25% is half an hour. Half an hour is quite a long time. When I started the last question of my Chemistry paper yesterday, I should have had 40 minutes to do it in. The invigilator told me I had ten minutes. When I protested (as quietly as I could, there were other people doing exams in the same room) that I had extra time, he brought me his sheet of adjustments, which said that I didn’t need any adjustments apart from a separate room. At this point I started to panic. There was no way that I could finish the question because I’d timed myself based on the knowledge that I had 2 and a half hours. I’m a perfectionist. I’m an aspie. I really don’t do well with sudden unexpected changes.
Rather than upend the desk and tear the paper to shreds as Robin of a few years ago would have done, I left the room. It was only once I was outside the room that I threw my water bottle at the wall and went into a total meltdown. The invigilator came out and told me he’d phone the exams office. Apparently they didn’t think I had extra time either. At this point I went to pieces. I managed to go into the room and pick up my coat and my bag, I didn’t even consider my ID card or my calculator. I left the room and as soon as I was outside the Nuffield I screamed. When I have a meltdown I feel like I am going to literally explode. Like there is an unstoppable force beneath my skin and if I don’t let it out it will tear me to pieces. So I, someone who finds it difficult to even speak to people I don’t know most days, screamed as loud as I possibly could in front of anyone who happened to be passing by. I’m not in control once I reach that point.
After almost half an hour of trying to calm down my breathing and shaking enough to text, I got hold of my mentor to explain what had happened. She got in touch with the exams office. It turns out they had an out of date copy of my SSA. From when I started the university. In 2011. Initially it was suggested that I resit. Until my mentor pointed out that this would be penalising me for the university’s mistake. So they will mark my paper on the questions I did and adjust the marks accordingly.
It seems that the university are under the impression that students just want to cheat. Yes. I have spent the last 22 years cultivating this persona of someone who has Aspergers and struggles with anxiety for the sole purpose of cheating in my Second Year Biochemistry exams. That meltdown I had was just a ploy to cover the fact I haven’t worked hard enough. I can’t believe you saw through my ruse!
I should be sitting another exam tomorrow. I’m deferring it until August along with the three I’d already deferred because I’m exhausted, meltdowns do that. I haven’t been able to do any studying or preparation today and I don’t think I could go into the exam room without freaking out again.
Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I’ll get over it. I’m just tired of having to fight for things that should already be in place.