Don’t Cram, Calculate!

23 Aug

Perhaps a multitude of things come to mind when you hear the word “cram.” Maybe you think of Jensen Ackles cramming food in his mouth..
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Or maybe, like most college students, you think of cramming for school — test, quizzes, homework, EVERYTHING.

Honestly, I cannot sit here and say that I am not guilty of cramming myself. It’s almost inevitable in college when you have a million and one things on your plate. However, one sad Thursday last semester, I happened to learn my lesson.

As I said, it was dark, dreary Thursday morning. But, that’s a lie (lol) — it was actually really sunny and a pretty typical day in Tucson. However, it was the day of my second midterm in Finance — a class that was notorious for difficult and most importantly, random exams. In the week leading up to that exam, I must say that I was feeling the pressure. But like most of my classmates, I wasn’t quite sure how I should go about preparing for this exam. A lot of these looks were passed around in class that week:

Anyway, I let other classwork come first and before I knew it — BAM, it was the night before the test. Already the resolve was clear in my mind: Yeah Amna, you’re not getting any sleep tonight. And true to my word (thought?), I did not sleep. I stayed at Eller for most of the night with one of my best friends and finest studying partners, and needless to say, there was a lot of coffee.

I have to say at about 4 in the morning my absolute fear and terror began to disspate. Finally, I was gaining a good understanding of the material. There was a light at the end of the tunnel! By 10am, I was back at Eller and helping other students with problems — and not going to lie, I was feeling pretty prepared for this exam!

As I settled into my seat, I reached into my bag to grab all my necessary tools: pencil, formula sheet, and most importantly, calculator. Suddenly — panic. I couldn’t find my calculator! I kept rifling through my bag and coming up empty! I thought I would faint in that moment.

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Earlier, I had been running through problems with my calculator outside of the auditorium so that must have been where I left it! I booked it out of that auditorium to check my previous spot. It was no where to be seen. I ran down to my professor to see if he had any spares — he didn’t. Maybe one of my classmates had an extra? Nope. I felt like my spine was frozen in place. I was going to have to take this exam without my calculator.

After the exam, I walked out of the room looking like quite the zombie. My best friend ran up to me asking how it went — she looked pretty stressed herself. As I was telling her what happened, one of the students I was helping earlier walked up to me with my calculator in hand. Apparently, in my exhaustion I had left my calculator with him earlier and he placed it in his bag thinking it was his own!

Upon this realization, I have to say I was pretty upset. But after some time (a long time), I realized that it was my fault. I was too tired coming into this exam and was running purely on caffeine. On any other day, there was no way I wouldn’t have triple checked my bag for my calculator before walking into the exam auditorium. I shouldn’t have crammed!!

So yes, after some major reflection I realized I didn’t have anyone to blame beside myself. I couldn’t blame it on the dark, dreary Thursday..

Anyway, here are some tips to avoid being in a situation like mine:

  • Don’t wait until the night before your exam to start preparing. Sometimes it happens, I know, but try to avoid this at all costs!
  • If you’re unsure about how to best prepare for an exam, visit your professor during their office hours.
    • Pro-tip: Sometimes it’s even better to get advice from TAs and preceptors because they very recently went through the same course.
  • Form a study group with the right people. You need to find people that are motivated (just like you!). This way, you can motivate each other to stay on top of your studying.

So good luck this semester, Wildcats! Stay prepared and ahead of your classes and you won’t regret it!

-Amna 🙂

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