Jeremy Côté


Last-Minute Stuffing

Since I just finished up my exams for the semester, I’ve noticed a funny trend that most students seem to engage in. I call it “last-minute stuffing”, and it just refers to the minutes before a test where students quiz themselves and try to remember a bunch of information that they memorized.

At my university, the exams are mostly held in our sports complex, since there’s a bunch of room. Right before the exams, all the students taking the exam are bunched in the hallway outside, and this is where I hear the muttering and recitation going on. I can almost hear the desperation in some of their voices as they try to explain a concept to their friends but can’t quite get it, and how they try to memorize the way to do certain problems.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m faking it to seem more in control than I really am, but this has almost never been something I did. The only time I remember doing this is when I was trying to remember a the different scenarios for trig substitution when I was about to enter a test that wasn’t integral calculus, but differential equations, where it could pop up. The reason I did that was because we never really worked with trig substitution in a while, and I needed to remember at least the first step.

Barring that, I won’t engage in this type of last-minute rush. The reason is simple: it’s not necessary. I reminded my friends of this as they too looked around with me and saw a bunch of people trying to recite things about the test. I said, “What you look at in the next five minutes isn’t going to change your mark to a drastic degree (if at all). The fact is that we’ve looked at the subject for three months, so all the work that we’ve done has prepared us for the test.”

That’s what I find people seem to forget during exam season. Tests aren’t aced by studying a bunch at the last minute (at least, I’d say that this isn’t the case for most people). Rather, it’s through learning and working throughout the semester.

You’ve done the work all semester, so now you just have to show that.