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From the College of Natural Sciences
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After the Exam

After the Exam

Dear Students,

It’s still exam time.  Some of you have had your first round of tests this year.  For others they will come this week.  Whether they have gone well or are something you are hoping to forget, it is important to take this opportunity to learn.

When the exam grades come out, it is easy to just look up your score and move on.  But whether you aced the exam, bombed it, or ended up somewhere in the middle, you should reflect on what you learned:  not only regarding the subject matter, but about your learning process as well.  Where did you lose points and why?  How did you study for the test?  Were you as prepared as you thought you were? 

Most importantly, you need to focus on yourself.   It’s easy to rationalize why things didn’t end up the way you expected.  “I would have gotten an A if that crazy Dr. Vanden Bout hadn’t asked those random questions.”  “The exam was too tricky.”  “I had three exams that week, so there is no way I could have done well on all of them”  It is not that faculty always give the perfect exam (or give it at the perfect time).  They don’t.  But whether the exam was perfect or not, you are better served by concentrating on the things you can control.  Don’t convince yourself that you actually knew the material if your exam score doesn’t reflect this.

Historian Daniel Boorstin wrote that “the greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.”

So be honest with yourself.  Go back over your exams.  Figure out what you really knew and what you didn’t.  I know it can be painful.  But without the struggle, there can’t be any learning.

Best of all, when you do ace an exam you can revel in the fruits of your hard labor.  You will know that your success is the result of the time and effort that you put into your education.  You will be amazed by how much you will learn 

- Dr. Vanden Bout

P.S. The weekly newsletter link: Sep. 21, 2014 CNS Student Newsletter

P.P.S. There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.

P.P.P.S.  As always, I’m looking for Twitter followers @StudentDeanCNS

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