English Journal Entry

Thursday, 11 March, 2010

The English course I am taking, a 101 hybrid-learning course, has a very interesting professor.  Professor Meyers likes us to keep up our writing by doing six journal entries per bi-weekly module.  I think this is a splendid idea, myself, and I have written a couple interesting ones.

I don’t know what ever possessed me to post a homework assignment, but here is one I rather like, it’s a journal entry on test taking:

When tackling big issues, I am someone who doesn’t have a problem.  Given the correct preparation, which usually includes time I need to think about how to tackle said problem, I can usually jump right into it.  Though it might take a couple false-starts (like trial and error, I suppose) I can usually succeed in taking care of whatever it is.

Taking an in-class exam, though, is a bit of an issue for me.  Sure, I can look at it as a big problem that has to be tackled.  I can take all the same steps I would normally take when trying to solve something else.  Where my problem lies is preparation which, in the case of an exam, usually means studying.

I am not trying to say that I don’t study, I do.  I can sit down with a text or with notes and read them to my heart’s delight.  I can recite the notes backward and forward by the time I am done studying them as well.  In all accounts, I should know any answer that is thrown my way on the test.

The minute the blank test paper is there on my desk, however, I run into my problem.  I can’t remember a thing that I studied! The time comes to recall the information, and it seems to have deserted my brain, leaving me high and dry.  Though I like to think of it more as the fact that the information is there, it’s just hiding away.  I don’t know what to attribute this problem to.  I just call myself a terrible test-taker, if anyone asks.

I can work around this problem, but it might sound just a bit silly.  I read through the test questions slowly, and try to intuit the answers.  This is especially helpful when the test is multiple-choice.  A slow read through of each question usually coaxes some of the answers out of their hiding spaces, wherever those spaces may be.

If intuition fails, the best I can do is make a sort of educated guess.  Some questions allow you a way to derive the answers, based upon how the question itself is worded.  If I am not faced with that kind of question, I just answer with the answer that seems to fit the best.

What if the test I am taking isn’t multiple-choice, you ask.  Well, I haven’t run across many short-answer questions in my college career.  At least, I haven’t yet.  I think I may have a few on the test I am about to take.  I guess I will have an answer after that.  I certainly can’t intuit one.