by Jonathan Weinblatt
Final essay exams or final papers
Everyone knows that bullshitting is an extremely valuable skill in situations that call for large amounts of writing. Unfortunately, I can’t teach you this skill, because I’d just be bullshitting my way through teaching you and you wouldn’t learn anything. A more transmittable skill that is at least as useful is coming up with a fantastic title for your paper or essay. Nothing says “I knew all along what my main point would ultimately be” like a snappy title. Content is overrated. Professors highly value organization, so show how organized you are by putting your entire work into 5 words or less. The fewer words you use, the better. For example, a C paper about Marxism might have the title “The Proletariat Will Soon Succeed,” a B paper would be “Capitalism Hates You,” and an A paper might be called “Opiate.” Note: this same tactic works well when deciding on a name for your rock band. The inverse is true if you start an emo band. And if you get a C on your final, you may want to think about starting an emo band.
Cramming for a final exam totally works. Nothing you need to know will be of any use as soon as the exam is over. You can’t go wrong with cramming for a final exam. It’s science … or criminology, whatever floats your boat. Cramming for a midterm exam, however, is a risky endeavor. It usually works, but with one small caveat that I unfortunately failed to anticipate this semester: this is a terrible strategy when the final is cumulative. If you cram for a midterm, you will be unable to cram for a final. You will have to learn 4 months information in one night instead of only learning 2 months information in one night. And by definition, cramming over two nights is impossible. That would be called “studying.” I hate to break it to you, but if you try and pack a whole semester into one night you will learn nothing … nothing besides learning that you will fail the next day. This is the precise reason why I have time to write this column now.
The most important thing to do during reading week and finals week is to eat well, get a good night’s sleep and exercise, right? Wrong. The most important thing to do is study. Once again, I know from experience, and experience doesn’t lie. If you’re reading my column, then you’ve already proven that you know how to eat and sleep well enough to survive and hence well enough to take a final. And what about exercise, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. When was the last time that the most fit person in your class did the best on an exam? I bet never. Enough said. All you have to remember is to study at all costs. And as for the two of you reading this column, in the words of Leslie Nielsen, “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.”
Tune in next week for how to write a snappy final sentence in a paper. (Hint: it must be very snappy, but not too snappy, lest it detract from the snappiness of the title)