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Testing Wow I suck at exams

  1. Apr 23, 2007 #1
    I'm serious, I think I'm a "dumb" person. You see, I am genuinely interested in math and I plan ahead when I study for the exams. I do problem after problem. I should at least pass the damn exam. I see the problem on the test and I kinda know how to prove it but I then bs some crap. I can't think right when taking a high profile exam. How is it that I see someone finish the exam in 20 minutes and I just sit there staring the problem dumbfounded like a retard. I'm just pissed off that I work my ass off and get no results. Is my mentality that screwed up?
    Then you hear a guy saying "awww that was so easy" and you get back to your dorm and take a nap and eat cheese pizza.

    But seriously...to all you smart people out there...what's your secret to doing well in math tests? I do problem after problem but I just don't know why I do so bad.

    Any suggestions.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2007 #2


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    I think you need to chill a bit before and when you get into the exam room.

    If you can do the work at home then you should be able to do it in the exam -- but you have to relax!

    Also, don't worry about people finishing early -- it's not a race, or a competition. Plus, ime, people who brag about how easy the exam usually only end up with a very average grade.
  4. Apr 23, 2007 #3
    Yeah. Just chill a bit before your exam. Start writing. And dont stress yourself during the exam. Just think its a cakewalk.
  5. Apr 23, 2007 #4


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    Homework Helper
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    Also, remember that leaving an exam early does not mean they did well on it!!! They could have gave up!
  6. Apr 23, 2007 #5
    hah yah during a final of mine a kid was there for 10 mins and the teacher looked like he just sh*t his pants when he handed in the exam :P
  7. Apr 23, 2007 #6


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    Yes, from plenty of experience I can assure you that the students who leave an exam after 20/30 minutes are doing so because they've given up, have no clue whatever, and not because they've already finished the exams.

    Also, as been said, those that brag about how easy an exam were usually only do average at best. The clever or hard working one don't brag about it even if they did find an exam easy.
  8. Apr 23, 2007 #7
    It depends what your problem is. Is it that you haven't seen the content in the questions before? Make silly mistakes?

    I find that the biggest source of my downfall in exams tends to be rushing or not thoroughly checking my answers. It's sometimes best to ensure that you make sure the questions you know how to do are done properly before moving on. That said, time management is also a big issue in exams.

    To try and eliminate problems I've had in exams - for every one I've taken in University so far (a lot) I take the first 5-10 minutes of the paper filling in my name/department details if I didn't do that already. My next step is to place the answer booklet onto the floor - and bring the question paper to full attention. I find that reading over all of the questions before I start attempting solutions is useful - and I'll always start on the question I feel most confident with.

    Another tip I have is when reading through the questions at the start, write down as many things (on the question paper, if allowed) that come to mind as possible. Stress and anxiety are not good for memory, and as they increase as the exam goes on it's less likely you'll remember that crucial formula. If its a long proof - write a step-list of how to get through it. Filling in the things that you remember at the start helps to build confidence - focus only on the things that you know rather than what you don't (tell yourself it'll come back when you reach that question!) and it's essentially a confidence building exercise.

    Unfortunately, one of the 'problems' about exams is that they don't just require lots of knowledge but also technique and skill. I personally think this isn't something that needs to be eliminated - pressure and deadlines is something that's prominent in real life :smile:
  9. Apr 23, 2007 #8
    Normally, thats the hard part and you've conquered that. Good luck from here!
  10. Apr 23, 2007 #9
    Dude if your too stressed out you have to chill. If this is something that happens frequently your nerves might be doing. Secondly If your textbook doesn't have problems similiar to the test, buy a supplemental problem book with harder problems which fixes that problem.
  11. Apr 23, 2007 #10
    I do not know what your study habits are like or if they are set in stone for you. But, I find that if I do poorly on something I really need to examine how I study not how much. Before you go attacking a ridiculous amount of practice problems, try asking some of your peers (preferably those who are in the top percentile of the class) how they study. Don't be too proud to ask your peers for help, they can offer a lot of insight.
    Secondly, don't be afraid to change your study techniques. If your way is not working, don't try to make the method better, but change it altogether. When you do problems, don't just go through the motions (i.e. plug and chug), but really ask yourself (yes out loud if you need too, I do:rolleyes: ) "What is this problem really asking me?"...."Do I have enough information to answer it?"...."If not....what more do I need?...and do I have enough explicit and/or implicit information to get that?"
    This method has worked miracles for me. It might sound a little vague, but I do not know how else to explain it. Try it and see if it works for you. If not, DON"T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE YOUR METHODS!!
    Good Luck,
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