Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Flunking Exams Is Actually a Good Thing

By BENEDICT CAREY • SEPT 4, 2014  •  The New York Times Magazine

Imagine that on Day 1 of a difficult course, before you studied a single thing, you got hold of the final exam.  The motherlode itself, full text, right there in your email inbox — attached mistakenly by the teacher, perhaps, or poached by a campus hacker.  No answer key, no notes or guidelines. Just the questions.

Would that help you study more effectively?  Of course it would.  You would read the questions carefully.  You would know exactly what to focus on in your notes.  Your ears would perk up anytime the teacher mentioned something relevant to a specific question.  You would search the textbook for its discussion of each question.  If you were thorough, you would have memorized the answer to every item before the course ended. On the day of that final, you would be the first to finish, sauntering out with an A+ in your pocket. And you would be cheating.  Read more . . .