Tell me how you left your final early...

Earlier today I left my calculus final 30 minutes before everyone else. I wasn’t 100% positive I’d answered all the questions correctly, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have anything else to add. And I did answer all the questions.

I haven’t missed more than one or two points off any exam in that class, and I’m very confident about some of the problems. Some of the most recent stuff though…thank the (non)deity of your choice for partial credit.

I’m generally pretty smart, but I’m having the college-student freakout.

So, tell me about walking out early and acing it. Tell me that I’m statistically likely to have done well considering my record. Hell, tell me anything.

(I did remember the chain rule, and I did remember that xy needs the product rule to differentiate. Integral calc is next quarter.)

I generally leave my finals earlier than everyone else, too. Either I know the information or I don’t, staring at it isn’t going to make it pop into my brain suddenly, eh?

And yes, I’ve done very well on all of them, and so did you! :slight_smile:

Generally – unless you’re completely clueless (and it sounds like you aren’t !:cool: ) – if you feel good about your exam, then you probably did well on it.

Sounds like this is your first term at college? I’m sure by the end of next term you’ll be a lot more self-confident, after you ace several courses this term :). And – good luck with your education.

I only did it once, and it was a survey course on behavioral biology that I was taking pass/fail. The material was stuff that I’d been learning and loving ever since I was a pre-schooler (I was a PBS nature show junkie), plus the final was almost entirely multiple choice. I made sure I hadn’t missed a page somewhere, gave my answers a once over, and handed it in about one hour into the three-hour exam period. My roommate (who was similarly unstressed) and I were the first two to finish.

Every other time I was a nervous wreck and triple-checked everything I did (if there was even any time left) until the exam period was over.

Don’t forget that exam timings are set such that you should have at least 15 mins either side to read and check your work. If, like me, you just dive straight in without reading every last word on the exam script, you’re likely to finish with plenty of time in hand.

I know they allow reading and checking time, but usually if you’ve done practice papers and you know the layout of the exam (eg, answer one question from this section, two from another section etc) then you only have to have a quick look through to decide which ones are the best for you to answer.

Sadly I never had the option of leaving early because in our exams you couldn’t leave within the first or last half-hour although you could run out screaming at any point in between!

I’m sure you did fine though, and you’re just worrying over nothing.

I almost never left an exam before everyone else. I frequently was person number 2 through 6. You know, part of the group that went from carefully double checking the work to just kind of staring at it waiting for someone ELSE to be the first person to leave. And usually, I did quite well on my exams.

Two stories to relate. On the first, I finished my exam quickly and went over my work. I started second guessing myself and changed a few things. Changed a few things from the right answer to the wrong. I would have been better off to just leave.

The second one, I finished a 2 hr exam in about 35 min. I was paranoid that I did something wrong since there was no way the exam could be as easy as I perceived it to be. I sat there for about another 15 min, hoping someone else would get up and turn in their exam before me. I finally just got up, turned it in, and left. The funny part was that as I was walking out of the door, I noticed about half the class getting up and heading to the front. I guess everyone just didn’t want to be the first.

So, my point is, you should leave when you finish your exam and do at least one check of your work. There’s no point waiting around after that.

When I take multiple choice tests in a class I’m doing well in, I am usually one of the first to leave. In my abnormal psych class last semester, the tests were 50 multiple choice and I usually left in 15 minutes. And I checked over my answers. Some tests are just easy. I either know the answers or I don’t, I don’t like to sit there forever stressing over questions. And abnormal was an easy A class, she had great notes and even gave us a study guide with page numbers from the text for the questions she asked…I mean, come on. But sometimes I feel nervous when I finish and exam really quick and no one else has left yet.

I don’t think I ever took the full allotted time to write an exam. it did vary, though. In a multiple choice or something similar, I would usually blow through it with one third to half of the time remaining. Short answer questions were pretty quick too, since you really only need as many bullet points of information as there are points for the question, generally. It sucked up a bit of time if I had to put the bullet points into complete sentences, but not too much. I usually even had enough time to write little stupid little sly comments in the margins, or preface my answers with responses to the test instructions. (“Correctly answer the following questions:” “Easy for you to say, you’ve got the key!”) But then, I was kind of a jackass.

Essay tests were obviously the most time-consuming, but I was still usually among the first three people finished, usually with at least 20 minutes to spare. I’m not that quick at writing large amounts of text by hand, either.

What it always came down to for me was that if I knew the material, I knew it cold, and if I didn’t, I was well aware that I didn’t, and there was no point agonizing about it at test time. On the rare occasion where I was totally blindsided by an exam, I just wrote what I did know, took my best guess at what I didn’t, and left it at that. FTR, I never failed an exam. My gut feeling on finishing exams was also pretty spot-on, with the only surprises being pleasant ones (Prof sez: “Since only three people passed the exam as written, I’ve decided to curve the grades…” Ah, my first 110%! :smiley: )

I can only recall once or twice when I saw someone else getting up from an exam before me and thought “How can he/she possibly be done so early?!”, and in one of those cases I found out later that it was because she hadn’t studied at all and had just given up after staring at the exam paper for twenty minutes.

I also was generally among the first done on tests.

The incident I remember most was not a final but the bar exam. I was married and my wife and I graduated law school at the same time, so we took the test sitting (alphabetically) next to each other. One day of the 2-day test was multiple choice - a long section in the morning, and a section the same length in the afternoon. You know the feeling when you read a question, understand what it is asking, know the answer, and look down the list and see the answer you know to be correct? I kept track and in the morning’s section of maybe 150 questions, that occurred exactly 3 times! Furthermore, I was seated so close to my wife that it was easy to compare our answers - and there was little to no correlation between our answers.

I guess I should admit that I have an unfavorable attitude towards the bar test, considering it somewhat of an archaic fraternal hazing ritual with no practical impact on one’s ability to practice law. But the morning’s experience kinda drove me over the edge. For the afternoon session I determined to simply scan the questions and mark the answer reflecting my first instinct, counting on my subconscious to take me through. I finished in less than half the allotted time - but they wouldn’t let folks leave the room until the entire time had expired. I guess they thought I was going to transmit my answers to a satellite system that would broadcast them to folks still taking the test or somesuch nonsense. As I said, I consider the bar pretty silly.

So I sat in the room for another hour or so, kicking back, reading the newspaper. My wife almost killed me after the test was done!

I often used to finish exams before the allotted time.

The time that sticks in my mind was in my college Classical Logic class. The professor neglected to give a midterm exam, so the entire grade depended on the final.

I was done in about 40 minutes (out of two hours). Also, some of the questions were from the midterm, requiring certain logic principles. However, we not only learned those, but had also learned other, more advanced ways of doing the proofs. So it was a simple matter to check the work using the more advanced methods.

I handed in the test in less than an hour and go an A.

Answering all the questions, giving your exam a once over and then getting up and walking out is always a good sign that you did well.

The only time I had to stay until the bitter end was on a probability exam. I just sat and stared at one of the problems with no idea how I was supposed to work it. I even tried brute force but knew that that wasn’t what the prof was looking for. Two years later, sitting at my desk at work, the solution hit me out of the blue. Better late than never I suppose. Damn Pascal and his stupid triangle.

As a kid, I was always being told that I had to revise more, that I shouldn’t hand things in so fast, blahblahblah yaddah yaddah yaddah.

I would explain that if I revised, the answer I changed usually ended up having been right the first time (we barely never had multiple choice, it was always essays). I’d even show them, “see, this one with all the red? That’s the one I redid!” Some teachers would believe me, most didn’t.

So one day in 11th grade I decide that ok, for once in my life, Mz Lightnin’ is not going to be the first to hand English in. Those exams were ten sentences in Spanish, to be translated into English. Father would hand them around, then read them out loud; we could start writing right away or listen to him. By the time he was on sentence #5, I was done, as usual. But I waited. And waited. And after 45’ dangit, I needed to pee! So I stood up.

And so did the other 39 students in the class :smack: Hands on hips, I turned around looking at all my suddenly-sheepish classmates with a glower that said “you COWARDS” in Vegas-Strip neon signs… then I handed my test in and ranoutcosIneededtogonoooooow!

None of my teachers in that school gave me crap about handing things in too fast ever again.

In college 4th year, electronics class: 3 partials, plus lab, plus a final which in theory you didn’t need to take if your partials plus lab averaged a “pass”… in theory because it was about 1 student in every 400 passed on partials. We always had to go review the exam with the teachers. I go to do this and the professor asks me “do you think it was too hard?” “well, sir, I don’t know about too, this being a hard course, but it was the first time in my life I’ve run out of time for an exam.” Having received similar responses from others (and yes, I’d re-earned my Ms. Lightning nick), he decided to do a “curving” of sorts.

College 1st year, Crystallography. To me, the definition of “symmetry axis” begins with “a line…”; to the teacher, with “a matrix…” First partial, 20%. Second partial, 60%. I asked for permission to do the third partial (where I would have needed a 100% in order to get a pass average), because I thought I’d finally figured out how to translate my lines into his matrices, but was told no.
The final had theory (2 hours), followed by exercises (3 hours, 4 exercises). Three of the exercises were reasonable, but the 3rd one was humongous, it would have taken me days to really “indicate the symmetry relationships between each of the 48 atoms in the cell you drew for exercise 1”. So I did 1, 2 and 4 in their entirety and then for 3 I wrote one example of every kind of relationship, indicated that those were all the available types, and left in time to take the 13:23 train home (the next train with open seats was two days later).


Wow, you guys all have easy freaking tests. Only in my freshman classes did I ever regularly have enough time to finish the test, check my answers, and still walk out early.

I occasionally see people walking out of tests early now in junior year, but they’re usually handing in blank paper. A professor occasionally screws up and gives us an easy one, but in general, you’re lucky if you get to all the problems (forget about checking anything), and an A means “80% or above”. Sometimes a lot lower.

My experience was a midterm, not a final. Close enough.

The course was computer security, in grad school. The first half of the course covered cryptography and cryptanalaysis (and more math than the MBA students ever wanted to see :wink: ); the second half of the course addressed the care and feeding of cryptosystems.

The midterm was five problems, we have to answer our choice of four of them using pencil & paper, no calculators allowed as I recall. The exam time was 3 hours. Some of the problems were:

  • Given this Affine map, encrypt and decrypt this phrase. Show all steps.
  • Given these two-digit numbers as keys for RSA encryption, encrypt and decrypt this word. Show all steps.
  • Decrypt this 30-ish character phrase. (Yep, that’s all that the problem said.)

I picked my four problems and worked through them. When I was done, only about an hour had passed, and nobody had left yet. So I double-checked my work. Then triple-checked my work. Still only up to 1 and a half hours, and still nobody had left yet. So I proceeded with the other problem, the pure decrypt that I mentioned above. I got locked up for a while on the decrypt, resolved the dead-end I was in, and finished the decrypt in under 30 minutes. Then I decided enough was enough, and was the first person out of the room.

I aced the exam, of course. :smiley:

My exams were usually essay exams. In high school I’d participated in roughly a million essay competitions, so I was used to churning out essays within a certain amount of time. I’d usually be among the first to leave. The only exams where I stayed till the last minute were the identification ones (where you get several short passages that you have to identify by title and author and then write a short analysis) but no one left early for those.

I had a geology final once that I didn’t leave early, way too many essay questions on that one and I had the material down cold so over-explained everything. And a trig final that didn’t go so well, went down a couple blind alleys and burned too much time.

Besides those, I’m usually 2nd or 3rd out. About half the time the first person done acts like it was a race, the other half they kind of slink out like they’re afraid they screwed up, I usually think “Damn it, I could have been first!”
I do go over the test but only to check for obvious errors and/or missed questions, held about a 3.5 average so it worked ok for me - my weaknesses wouldn’t have been fixed by taking longer to do the test and, as some have mentioned, the longer I look at it the more likely I am to change something.

Metro State isn’t MIT, so Absolute’s mileage may vary

I always finished early, and generally did well on tests (homework was another story). Once I was taking a 1 hour test on RPG (the computer language). It was a real bear and required you to essentially write a program from scratch with no reference materials. After about 20 minutes obe person turned in his exam, then every few minutes someone else got up. At the end of the hour it was still not done and there were only 1 or 2 other people left.

I was really worried for a week, and was surprised when I got an A on the test. Turns out the instructor knew that there was too much there to finish in an hour, but just wanted to see how much we could get right. The people that left early had just given up.

Soon after, I got a job that used RPG. For my first assignment I was given a program that produced a report the customer thought was “off”. I found a subtle bug that had been randomly deleting records for several years. They did not believe me at first (I was a complete newbie , but were soon convinced. My instructor had obviously done a great job.

Not neccessarily. As an undergraduate engineering student, it is true that many of my exams were given by professors who didn’t feel that it was desirable to grade us on how quickly we could solve the problems, preferring to focus on how well we understood the material. And so, we often had tests scheduled so that officially we had 2 or 3 hours to take them, but we would be permitted to stay longer than that if neccessary. (Sometimes there was a time limit of 5 or 6 hours, under the guise of a mercy killing).

In such cases, many of us finished up short of the two hour mark, and most people finished inside 3 hours. ( or so I recall, it has been a few years since my undergraduate days).

But length of time required to take a test is not the only measure of how easy the test is. Especially exams which had a closed book portion and an open book portion. (I’m reminded of my friend’s exam on the Bible. I don’t know the exact nature of the course, just that the final was “Open Bible”, and they all had a standardized study Bible to use. Some students started looking up answers during the T/F and Multiple choice questions. It’s no wonder that they didn’t finish in the length of time allotted. One can make an argument that the professor made too much test for the time permitted, but if you are looking every question up from scratch, you aren’t showing much mastery of the material.)