Sup slackers… uh, I mean students!
Welcome back to GGAL
So, I’ve just had my first exam for the term and the good news is I’m relieved to have it done. The bad news, however, is I’ve still got 3 more next week… sigh (duck). At this point I can still pretty safely assume that the vast majority of the people who read this know me personally and do it out of pity/ bribes. But it’s quite possible that exams are something that you, dear reader, are struggling with as well (and if not, you can read this full of regret over your past failures).
Now to give a bit of background, I have always been a bad student. That doesn’t mean that I’m stupid, I could well be, but that’s not what I’m saying. It also doesn’t mean that I dislike learning, in fact that’s probably the most enjoyable part of the education system. No, I just always hated the grunt work, the late nights studying and the “hustle” for you Vayner-freaks (sorry Gary, I’m a big fan, please read my work). I will admit it, I’m lazy. Yup. Or more specifically, I’m lazy about studying. But there was hope for me. And if what I just described sounded anything like you, then there’s hope for you too. You see, us lazy people have a power that few other mortals can comprehend; our creativity in finding ways to avoid hard work. But before we get into that, I want to take you on a little side quest.
Probably reading the latest GGAL
I want you to think back a couple of console generations, before battle royales, before microtransactions, heck, even before shooting undead fascists was all the rage. We’re going back to the golden age of platformers. Life was so simple back then, whether you played as a stereotyped plumber, purple dragon or as a weird limbless whatever Rayman was, this was a beautiful time for gaming. But were not doing this just for some fond memories, were here to work! You see the answer to acing your exams lie here in these pixeled, platforming paradises (try to fail me now Set 5 remedial English!). What was so brilliant about these games was their carefully designed progression systems. They would always start with the basics, whether that was taking out goombas, flaming gnorcs or even learning how to jump. But what’s really clever is how new challenges would be integrated. The game would always clearly highlight that the new challenge was important, either through a cut scene, boss battle or whatever, but they’d make sure that you as the player understand that it was crucial to progress in the game. Next you be bombarded with this new challenge to really drill it into your understanding, so perhaps the whole level revolved around Sly Cooper’s newfound stealth mechanic or around Spyro’s gliding. Whatever the new mechanic may be, the game ensures that you need to understand it to move on.
The graphics are as good as I remember…
Now here’s the important part, the new game mechanic that you have now proudly mastered, is found sporadically through the rest of the play through, usually not that often, but just regularly enough that you don’t forget it. By the time you’ve reached the final boss and are expected to use all the different skills you picked up throughout your journey, you’re a pro! You kick Ripto’s ass and bring peace to the dragon realms (did I mention I liked Spyro). To bring everything full circle, this is very similar to an extremely important study tactic called spaced repetition. The concept here is almost identical to the progression systems that were just described; learn a new concept, study is in detail at first, but then gradually study it less, only bringing it up just before you’ve forgotten it. This takes advantage of something called the spacing effect, which says, boring story short; the longer the intervals between study, the better the retention. It’s particularly useful when you need to learn a large number of details, e.g. for a showdown with bowser test. And just like the platformers of old, once you get to the final boss/exam; you’re ready to dominate!
Ok, everyone with me so far? Were almost done I promise! So how, as a humble student, do I take advantage of such a technique? Well, in short: flash cards. In a bit less short: the Leitner System of flash card boxes. If your curious about how to use it, then you should definitely look it up, but because I think boxes are tedious and Leitner is a stupid name, I prefer to just have technology do the heavy lifting for me. So I just created my flashcards on an app called Tinycards. I picked this one cause its very smartphone friendly and I thought it had a cute interface, but there are other sites and apps that I’m sure work well too such as Anki or Quizlet. And for all you “pics or it didn’t happen people” …
If your curious you can even check the deck I made for my Entrepreneurial Finance exam, not sure why you’d want to but here you go…
For my exam prep, I made flash cards for all the things I needed to study for my exam and then I let Tinycards do it’s magic. It’s learning tool cleverly utilises the ideas of spaced repetition to ensure that I was constantly keeping my understanding of the material sharp.
Well that’s pretty much all for today, if you do indeed have exams, hopefully this helped, if not then I’m amazed you made it this far. Any who, back to crying studying, and by the time the next article is out, I will have finished my last ever exam (academically at least)!
So, until next time, GL and of course…