How To Pass A Class, Even If You Fail A Test

I thought my first Physics class in high school would be a breeze. My Mom majored in Radiation Physics in college, and always told me I had a knack for the subject. So you can imagine I was surprised when I got my second test of the school year back, and a big, fat “F” graced the top right corner of the page.

At this point, most students would freak out, and fall into a death spiral of fear and confusion over a failed test. But lo and behold, when report cards came out, I had a solid B in my Physics class, which eventually turned into a B+ for the semester.

Many people believe that learning occurs at a smooth and consistent rate, and a student struggling to maintain a C in a class should slowly progress to a B in the class, and eventually an A. But learning is actually a rollercoaster ride of epiphanies and mental blocks. Especially in a math based subject, it can take one person five minutes, and another five hours, to learn the same concept.

However,  as you gain more knowledge in a specific concept, you can apply the strategies that allowed you to learn easy concepts to harder concepts, and over time, lower the time and effort it takes to absorb those more difficult concepts.

When I failed that test, instead of continuing on with a study strategy that obviously didn’t work, I looked at ways I could change my approach to produce a better result. Luckily, I got a B on my first test, so I simply compared my study strategies for the two tests. When I got the B, I spent a large portion of my preparation time doing practice questions. When I failed, I spent the majority of my time studying class notes.

Obviously, doing practice questions was more effective than studying my class notes. So by doing practice questions before each test, I began to get higher grades on my tests.

If you fail a test, know that it’s not the end of the world. Consult your classmates and your teacher. Research study strategies and try different techniques. Find what works for you! Don’t look at a low grade as a reflection of your self-worth, or even your effort. Instead, see it as an opportunity to improve not only your intellectual capabilities, but also your ability to overcome obstacles in all areas of your life.


Dealing With (Stupid, Annoying, Mean, etc) People

It looks like I haven’t posted anything on this blog in three weeks… Boy, am I lazy! But I’m back, and better (actually more tired) than ever! One of the reasons for my absence has been my high school Tennis season, which requires regular travel and 2-3 hours of practice a day, 6-7 days a week. While I train year round, the expectation my school sets takes it to a whole new level. And to top it all off, my coach is a complete jerk!

He gives me a lot of advice that makes no sense, yells at me all the time, and, in my opinion, significantly depresses the potential of our team. Unfortunately, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, since he’s not breaking any actual rules. And when he yells at me, I get a strong urge to give him a piece of my mind! I could easily tear him apart and escalate the situation to it’s breaking point.

But that isn’t the smartest thing to do. You see, when a young man disrespects an authority figure, things end badly for the former, more often than not. So instead, I suck it up and deal with the situation.

When you are dealing with mean people, you begin to look at things through an emotional lens, and start making irrational decisions. You also think that situations and events are worse than they really are. After a confrontation, instead of acting quickly and rashly, take 24 hours to cool down and look at the situation logically. If you are patient, you will likely find solutions to the problem that you didn’t see in your initial haze of anger.

If you have to deal with someone in the long term, learn to work with that person instead of making your relationship with them worse. Be respectful. Find easy things you can do to make them happy. If they’re your boss, do what they tell you to do, or at least make it look like you are doing what you’re supposed to. As the famous saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Have you ever had to deal with someone you couldn’t stand? If so, how did you handle it?