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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Life + Arts

A simple guide to the cramming life

As mid-term exams are quickly approaching, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared enough to make the A. Of course, mid-terms come after you can get your money back, so you don’t have much of a choice outside of working hard to earn good marks on a test that’s worth 40 percent of your grade.

For some students, this causes little reason to worry because they’ve been in class every day, taking detailed notes and reading through all the required material on time, every time.

On the other end of that are the students who have fallen behind and let their schoolwork take the back seat. For these students, this means an all-night cramming session fueled by Red Bull, multiple cups of coffee and frantically searching through poorly-taken notes in an effort to learn about six weeks of information in 12 hours.

The first order of business lies in trying to decipher what little notes you may have. If you’re one to doodle, your notebooks might look more like a sketchpad than a collection of notes. You might try hard to take good notes, but instead, you’re left with seven pages of drawings of Spider-Man — a superhero who has little to do with Intro to Nutrition, but does manage to swing from page to page.

Connect the dots

Now it’s a night or two before the test — and you’ve got to decipher your notes somehow. The trick is to look for some resemblance between your doodles and lecture material. If you drew something closely related to lecture material — or better yet, if you stopped mid-doodle to write something down — that means the professor spent enough time on it during class time to catch your attention. In this instance, there’s a good chance it will be on the test, so it would be beneficial to read further about that subject.

For the students whose notebooks look more like flipbook animations, it would also be a good idea to find a classmate that’s willing to share their notes with those that are less focused.

The art of the flirt

The need to borrow someone’s notes can be all about the art of the flirt; for some, this concept might be easier than others. The trick is in establishing communication with the attractive classmate that sits next to you early in the semester so that when the test comes up, it won’t be so awkward to propose a study date or ask for the notes.

If you bat your eyelashes and smile enough, getting the notes and scheduling a time to study together won’t be difficult at all. If you play your cards right, you have the potential to gain reliable notes and a companion for the rest of the semester.

Some might think doing this makes you a bad person. Even if it does, you’re just a bad person who knows what’s going to be on the mid-term — it evens out.

How to spot the know-it-all

As a general rule, the closer a person sits to the professor, the better his or her notes are. However, don’t be fooled by the person who sits directly next to the podium and asks 20 questions each time class meets. More often than not, this person’s notes will be as confusing to you as the material is to him or her.

Another trick is to look for the student who has a book that’s been used. If you can see breaks in the spine or highlight marks and annotations, you’re likely able to trust this person’s notes. Look for laptops too, because a simple e-mail can solve your note-taking (or lack thereof) woes.

Now, once you’ve collected notes from another student (and hopefully made a study date in the process) it’s time to get busy. Making flashcards is a quick and easy way to learn material before the test. It’s also important to know the key terms — you can almost never go wrong if you know at least the key terms. Even if you’ve waited until the very last minute to study (as many of us so often do), you’ll thank yourself for staying up all night when you get your exam scores back with a grade that is better than expected.

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