Tag Archives: tests

Finals: How Much Prep is Too Much Prep?

Finals. The last obstacle before we can leap into the summer. These famously tricky exams are possibly the most stressful part of the year, maybe even more so than midterms. Some teachers spend weeks preparing their students, while others barely mention them until two days beforehand. The students are quite similar. Some take up hours a day studying, and some study barely fifteen minutes in total. The question is: How much prep is too much prep? Continue reading Finals: How Much Prep is Too Much Prep?

Midterms by Ben Botvinick

–Below is an excerpt from Ben Botvinick’s bendeplume.com

We all have our ways of dealing with an upcoming test. Some people eat. A lot. I have a friend who goes through about five bags of barbecue potato chips by the time he’s finished studying for a quiz. Another guy I know listens to a lot of classical music. He says it’s calming or whatever, I’ve never seen the appeal. Anyway, these are sort of generic strategies, if ya ask me. I go for quite a different approach.

Imagine you have a test coming up, and it’s gonna test you on all of the stuff you’ve learned from September up until June. What do you do? Take a minute to think about it…now stop. Pick up your phone, and text all your friends, and then spend a bit of time on Facebook. And when you’re finished with that, go online, pick any movie star, and do a bit of research on their childhood. For example, Will Ferrell. Apparently, he was a quiet kid and he set some sort of football record for his high school.

Whoa. Now, you’re reading this on a blog, so you don’t know what’s surprising yet, but I just spent…wait for it…half an hour researching Will Ferrell as a kid. And did I forget about my midterms? Sure did. Here’s the thing about tests in middle school: ya don’t really have to study. Well, of course you do, if you’re your average middle schooler, picking your nose and throwing tin foil balls into the trash from across the room. But if you’re paying attention in class and not having a staring contest with a squirrel out the window, who’s also probably on his way to work at the acorn factory or something (have some goddamn respect for the guy. I mean, come on, being late isn’t gonna bring up his average acorns-per-hour count.) Anyway, if you’re not messin’ around with your buddy, there’s no reason to study. And yes, I wrote that sweet, sweet rhyme, and I’ll be here all night.

What happens is that if you’re like me, you become a pro. Every bit of information seeps into your brain, and you’re left a god among mere mortals. And then, in the end, none of those buggers end up studying anyway, so if it’s graded on a curve then you’re fine. The point is, after a five minute glance at my notes before the test, I usually do fine. I’ve never gotten a grade below 45%. Last week, I scored a flaming 73% on a science quiz. Yep, didn’t even look at my books. My parents let me eat ice cream for dinner to celebrate. I told you. I’m a pro.