When I read the Harry Potter books I didn't understand why the characters were lamenting so much about exams (granted there was usually some dark wizard running around and disturbing revising but that's besides the point). Even when I arrived in England I didn't understand the look of serious concern which flitted across people's faces when exams were mentioned. Now I think I get it. In many cases the end of year exam is the ONLY exam for the course. Some classes have an end-of-term exam but not all. There are also only an average of 4 multi-part questions on an exam of which you answer three. You have to sit in the exam and weigh out which questions you think you can get the most marks out of in the time allotted. In the US my finals often had 200 possible points. These exams have 40-60 marks.
Luckily I'm such an overachiever that I've been pretty prepared for all of my exams but if I miss a section that shows out on the exam there could be serious trouble. Finals are weighted much heavier here than at RPI and while I haven't had any that are 100% of my grade, they do exist. I cannot wait for these last three exams to be over. I am lucky enough to have about two weeks off in between the two halves of my exams (that's right I have 7 exams) and will be escaping to Paris for a while and then doing some exploring in London. I am so sick of revising but I'll plug through the last three so I don't have to deal with Lord Voldemort at the registrar's office when I get back.