The 7 Dumbest Things Students Do When Cramming for Exams
Each year before the holidays, college students find themselves staring down the barrel of exam week. Fortunately, they're totally serious about learning the information and they aren't getting up from this desk until they do! Unfortunately, desperation can only be directly converted into high scores on reality TV. But this crawling panic and insane workload is a great learning experience. College is all about preparing for the real world, and this is one of life's favorite lessons to teach: You've screwed up badly and there will soon be a reckoning. How do you deal with that?
The first and most important thing is to
Osmosis Doesn't Work
Listen, students, this might sound crazy but it's important:
My INT score is higher than my IQ.
Highlighters Aren't Magic
If you've ever been to college, or a coffee shop within two miles of one, you've seen a student painting their notes like a My Little Pony in drag. In Thailand. We shouldn't have to explain that highlighter pens aren't like supermarket scanners -- they might drag bright lights over things but they don't instantly upload data.
Again, this is just your brain flipping out. People having nervous breakdowns revert back to infancy and start flinging their poop around. You're having 40 percent of a nervous breakdown, and reverting to preschool logic.
If fluorescent pink burned information into brains no one would be against gay marriage.
Stop Nest Building
In times of stress, the Examinated Student (Stressus Procrastinatus) can spend over an hour crafting the perfect study nest to defend itself from guilt. It all has to be just right, from lighting to coffee, because every single thing that needs to be fixed is another reason not to actually study yet. Some students spend longer trying to reach the perfect setup than Buddhist Monks spend trying to reach Nirvana, and with less tangible results.
I simply can't study without at least one photogenic minority in shot.
If You're Re-Reading, You're Probably Not Really Studying
Re-reading your notes does not count as studying, even if it is the easiest way to technically study while watching Mad Men. Also, you're ruining Mad Men. Watch Mad Men, and then set aside time to actually engage with the material. If you're in science or engineering, do problems. If you're in history, write out key elements of a period in a paragraph, or try to teach the chapters you've read to your lazy roommate who didn't read them, and have him try to teach you the ones he read. If you're in English lit, put down the play you already read, and write a one page essay discussing how Hamlet was the greatest pussy of all time. Do
Fake studying is the worst waste of time since the American pilot of
You've surely earned a B.A. in Cracked Appreciation by now.
Do Exam Problems
There is no way to say this without sounding patronizing: If you're preparing to do an exam,
Odds are your course wasn't created this term. They've been asking the same questions for years, and the only reason they even pretend to change the wording is because they'll lose their accreditation if they don't. Exam banks, older students, just Googling your course code and the word "exam," there's no excuse for not practicing what you actually have to do. Many students think of preparing for exams like
"I wish he'd study a little harder. And not fall asleep during the first question."
Skip the "I'm So Screwed" Competitions
"I'm so screwed!" The attention-seeking cry of the idiot, one who knows they desperately need to fix themselves but would rather have attention for being useless instead. It's the
Don't Complain That the Lectures Didn't Prepare You for the Exam
Complaining that the exam was unfair is generally the best way to go through the uncomfortable process of failing a class, while not learning that any of the above strategies are bullshit.The most common post-exam complaint is, "Why didn't the lectures just teach us how to do the exam?" For the same reason sex isn't just wetting a condom and throwing it in the toilet. Your professors are
Now that higher education isn't just for nobility we can't do it that way. Hundreds of thousands of people get into higher education. This is progress. But it's not going to be a perfect system.You're in college to learn how to think and do things. Exams are an extremely small part of that. If you treat the only minor obstacles in four years of opportunity unmatched in the entire history of human civilization as a huge hassle to be avoided, you're right when you say the educational system isn't working for you. But it's not the educational system's fault. For more emergency exam advice you can read 11 Exam Study Tips For The Completely Screwed, or review The 6 Best College Majors (For Filling You With Regret).
I'm sorry, but here at The Real World Incorporated there's no multiple choice section. You actually have to know what the fuck you're talking about.
Luke McKinney has three degrees and has therefore undergone more examinations than Moon rocks. This scientific background lends an air of professionalism to his complaints about Modern Warfare 3 players. He also tumbles and has a website.