Chapter 15:

Volume 2, Chapter 2-2: Preparing For Math Finals II

Heroes of the Past

Autumn Quarter 2015 Finals Week TuesdayBookmark here

Tess lied. She did not come at nine but arrived at seven. I was still sleeping when I heard the vibration of my phone. My eyes still not open fully, I checked my alarm clock. It flashed 7:05 AM and I sighed. Unlocking my phone, I saw a message from Tess. Wait, I swore I told her nine. Did I misremember because of all the studying?Bookmark here

“Tess, are you here already?” I asked, my voice still groggy.Bookmark here

“Yes, I’m outside. Please open the door. I brought my breakfast with me seeing as you were concerned with my diet yesterday,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

Yawning, I changed out of my sleeping clothes and walked downstairs. Walking to the bathroom, I splashed water on my face for a minute. God, what had I done? I should have told Tess a later time. Wait, were my parents still home?Bookmark here

I checked their room, but saw no one inside. Well at least Tess arrived at a time where she didn’t disturb them. I peeked through the blinds and saw Tess’ car outside. But Tess was nowhere in sight like yesterday. I then walked over to the window facing my backyard. I checked but saw no one there either.Bookmark here

“Damn it, Tess, where are you?” I asked myself.Bookmark here

“Good morning, Tomo. You still seem sleepy,” Tess greeted.Bookmark here

“You’re already inside?”I exclaimed, turning around and seeing Tess.Bookmark here

Tess, a silver spoon in her left hand, looked at me with her usual expression. You know what, I shouldn’t even question this anymore. I give up. Sighing, I walked upstairs with Tess behind me.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I’ve been wondering about something. How early do you wake up?” Tess asked as she scooped food into her mouth.Bookmark here

“Uh, usually around nine. I don’t have classes until eleven this quarter,” I replied, unsure about the relevance of the question.Bookmark here

“I arrived here earlier than the promised meeting time. I apologize for that, but I thought it would be better for you to start early,” Tess explained.Bookmark here

I glanced over at Tess’ food and blinked. Wait, was she eating cereal plain without anything? Not to mention, I didn’t even recognize the brand of cereal.Bookmark here

“So, where should we start?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Hmm, I think it’s a good idea to start from the beginning. Reviewing the recent material is good but you still want to make sure you have a good grasp of stuff from the beginning,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry but what are you eating?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Hmm, it’s cereal. Nothing too fancy. Start from page 17 and do the practice problems there,” Tess answered.Bookmark here

“No, I meant what kind of cereal?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I don’t know. I just grabbed whatever there was in the cupboard,” Tess replied, showing me her food.Bookmark here

I looked at the cereal. It appeared generic with an array of different shapes. There were squares, triangles, circles, and even a pentagon. Wait, these were just geometric shapes. I never saw cereal like this before. I grabbed my phone and searched for the product. Of course there were no results. Just focus on math, nothing else matters.Bookmark here

“Ah, I recall now. It was homemade. My parents tried making cereal and it ended up like this,” Tess exclaimed.Bookmark here

“Your parents tried making cereal? Well, good for you I guess,” I said, starting my work on the practice problems.Bookmark here

When it was afternoon, I stopped for a short break. I glanced over at Tess who just stared back at me. Was I distracting her from preparing for any other finals she had?Bookmark here

“Tess, do you have something else to do?” I asked, looking over at her.Bookmark here

“No, not really. Keep going. Oh, you made a mistake there,” she pointed out.Bookmark here

I looked down at my paper and saw the mistake. Tess’ fingers tapped her cellphone. Okay, maybe this time, I could see what was on her screen. I was curious about the contents.Bookmark here

“Tomo, you made a sign error. It should be positive,” Tess circled my answer, putting her phone down, denying me the chance.Bookmark here

“Oh, you’re right. I should be more careful about things like that,” I said.Bookmark here

Four hours passed and I sighed. I was tired of seeing numbers and I wanted the exam to be over with already. Tess kept a close eye on my work the entire time and pointed out several mistakes.Bookmark here

“Thanks so much for the help, Tess. I really appreciate it,” I said.Bookmark here

“There’s no need for that. Get at least a 95 and I’ll be okay,” Tess said.Bookmark here

Uh, Tess, your expectations are too high. I would be happy scraping by with a 60 or hell even a 50. According to Zhuyu, the averages for the final were around 50 most of the time. To get a 95 would be crazy especially with only two days of studying.Bookmark here

“Um, Tess, what did you get on the final?” I asked, curious.Bookmark here

“I think I got a 99. I missed one point because of a sign error. You should be careful about those,” Tess warned.Bookmark here

Alright, I think Tess was just a little bit too out of my league in terms of math. Time to try a different question.Bookmark here

“What about Zhuyu or Kisai?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Kisai skipped this class because he got credit for it on a placement test. Zhuyu, I think got a 64,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

“I think his score is more manageable for me. I’ll try for that, Tess. How about that?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Based on what I’ve seen, you can pull off a 95. I don’t see why there would be any difficulties,” Tess countered.Bookmark here

“Well, Tess, you might be right if it was you. But I still missed weeks of class so that is crazy,” I disagreed.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Tomo, I believe in you. Remember, 95 or above. I would be quite happy if you managed to beat my score. Sign errors are killers,” Tess reassured me.Bookmark here

“Alright, Tess, you know what? I’ll try for you but there’s no way I can do it. Actually, was your score the highest that year?” I questioned.Bookmark here

“No it was not. Someone got a 100. That’s why I reminded you about sign errors. Don’t repeat my mistakes. However, I do believe that my scores were the most consistent out of all the students that year,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

“Tess, if I need help again, I’ll be in touch,” I said, standing up from my chair.Bookmark here

“Of course, I’m ready to help you anytime. I always expect Fel to score in the 90’s but she never does. I wonder why? She understands the material,” Tess remarked.Bookmark here

“Your expectations are too high,” I said.Bookmark here

“Really? I think that they’re fair. Hmm, I’ll consider what you said today,” Tess nodded.Bookmark here

Tess left and I stared at the study material she left behind. How much did Tess study and what was the secret to her success? I hoped I would do well. I sighed and went to sleep early.Bookmark here

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