Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Advice for New and Existing College Students

We've all been stumped on some quiz and exam questions.  Where some of us differ is in whether we answer the question or not.  Regardless of if you are sure of an answer make sure you put something down.  I am not going to lie.  I get confused by some of the questions instructors ask.  I'm the type that is always questioning rather or not the instructor is trying to catch students up on small stuff.  For instance, does the question include words like AND, MOST, ALL, etc.  Because so many instructors have done this in the past I wonder if this is a current method they use to "trick" students.  When I see those words I go into a panic because without them I know the answer (Oh I knows my stuff LOL). However, I immediately begin to think...did the teacher make a mistake (natural human error) or did they mean to include that part.  So...in the past I would erase my original answer (which more often than not turned out to be the correct answer) and put an answer I came up with after using logic that was created while in a panic.  Later I would get my score, look at the answers, and be P!ss (yes, I used a capital P).  To an instructor it looks like I didn't know my ....stuff, but I did.  Anyways, now I don't second guess myself.

I know I'm all off base.  My point is this if it is an essay question include all the points relevant (if there isn't a number of sentences or characters restriction).  I don't make up information but I will tell an instructor all the key points they relayed to the students when teaching the lessons.  I praise God for the memory he has given me.  If it is multiple choice write calm yourself and think about the steps (if it is a timed exam skip that question and keep it to moving.  If you don't you'll be on question number 3 out of 20 and hear the proctor say "5 MINUTES").

A few additional key pointers
  • First decide you want to be an A student and work to achieve that goal (KEEP ON PUSHING because it will get hard). 
  • Write down information as soon as you get your exam/ quiz.  I always go over key equations right before I enter a testing site and when the proctor says, "You may flip your exams/quiz over", I start to writing down everything I think is key.  This included equations, pathways, constants for equation (ie. Avogadro's number), whatever.  
  • Study with other people.  I am probably one of the most timid students known to man.  However, I came out of that box when I decided I wanted to be an A student and gained a little confidence in myself.  There is nothing wrong with being wrong.  You'll find that some of the smartest people you know don't state or get everything correctly.  One of my professor said to us that we should talk things out with other people and you may say things wrong because you are learning it; but, because you tried to explain the concept you will figure out, if someone doesn't point it out to you first, your errors and be able to correct them for a test.  That is unless you just didn't study anything and have ABSOLUTELY no idea what you are talking about. Which leads me to my next point.
  • WATCH OUT FOR PEOPLE THAT HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. lol.  Unfortunately, there are people that want to come off as extremely intelligent and know-it-alls.  But you come to find out that they don't know too much.  While you may want to put this person in their place by NOT telling them they are incorrect, be the bigger person and share your knowledge.  If they reject the info then adopt the OH WELL attitude.  They will probably come around when they see their scores are terrible.
  • Make time for really study.  If your lab ends at 4:30 but you finished your assignment[s] at 3, stick around and master the info.  I followed this bit of advice from one of my friends (Thanks Didi) and rocked out in A&P. 
  • Another important note, don't be a cocky jerk.   I'm sorry but I saw a student, that had probably repeated the class, just completely ruin the confidence of an underclassmen.  The course we were taking was intense.  It was during the summer and the professor didn't play.  The student was concerned about her grades and thought she couldn't do any better.  I was a post-bacc student so I knew how to adjust to the prof's style of teaching; this may be a problem for freshmen and sophomores.  Anyway, the person she was talking to went into brag mode about how exceptionally well he was doing.  The demeanor of the girl just exuded decreasing confidence and worry.  Instead of giving this girl some pointers this guy went into yeah I'm not having that problem because "I'm so smart".  I wanted to crush his ego so bad because I was doing way better than him.  My point is this help people that need assistance because unless you are a natural born genius you may have needed some help as some point or another. 
Good luck to you all!  Keep pushing towards the goal of being one of the best and brightest :)  A special shout out to my little cousins that will be experiencing their first semester of college life this fall (A & L).  They resist it now but I will be pushing for them to become doctors ;)  LOL