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
Listen, students, this might sound crazy but it's important: You are not squirrels. You may be hyperactive mammals frantically running around trying to mate, hibernate and look hilariously retarded in online photographs, but there's an important difference:
My INT score is higher than my IQ.
Your head won't absorb knowledge because you built a library on your table. If you find yourself doing this, simply take a deep breath, and tell yourself it's not your fault. You're trying to cram three months worth of information into a brain that stress has tricked into thinking it's being chased be a bear. Hell, you're lucky you're not wearing your socks on your hands right now.
But that doesn't mean you should let yourself off the hook when you notice yourself doing this. In my time working at universities, one thing I noticed without fail was that the terrible students would "study" by piling up work all around them, then sit there wasting time and being miserable until the clock said they were finished. Which is actually brilliant preparation because that's exactly the type of job they'll get.
Instead, try starting with something manageable like reading one book you were supposed to have read. And when you do, keep in mind that ...
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.
If fluorescent pink burned information into brains no one would be against gay marriage.
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.
It's understandable, but it's profoundly stupid. If you notice yourself lighting a textbook up like TRON fanfic, drop the highlighter. Instead, try writing out the key points of your reading material on a separate page you can study easily and anywhere. If that sounds like too much work, well done, you've just found out why people highlight instead.
In times of stress, the Examinated Student
I simply can't study without at least one photogenic minority in shot.
Re-reading your notes does not count as studying, even if it is the easiest way to technically study while watching
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 something, anything, which tests your knowledge or makes you actually think, then
You've surely earned a B.A. in Cracked Appreciation by now.
Fake studying is the worst waste of time since the American pilot of
There is no way to say this without sounding patronizing: If you're preparing to do an exam,
"I wish he'd study a little harder. And not fall asleep during the first question."
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'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
SCENE: Library, two dumbasses.
A: Omigod I'm so screwed for this test!
B: I didn't go to half the lectures!
A: Well I didn't go to any!
B: Well I ran over the professor's wife!
A: Well I'm brain-damaged because I was having sex with her in front of the professor when you hit her!
B: Oh hey, I just realized that there are other college students having sex with each other right now!
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,
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.
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.
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.