Jeremy Côté


Jagged Edges

As a student, you’re responsible for a fair amount of material from the various classes you’re taking. Whether that’s a bunch of facts concerning a part of world history or the way to prove the equivalent capacitance of capacitors arranged in series and parallel, it can be difficult to keep all of it in one’s mind while tests loom ever closer.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there comes moments where a small piece of information is presented and simply makes little sense. When this happens, it’s certainly tempting to let the detail slip away into the ether of your mind. It’s easy to convince oneself that the piece of information is of little consequence, and that practically speaking, there is a small chance this detail will be on the test. One will then forget about this detail, deeming it unimportant.

However, this is not a wise decision to take. Personally, I’ve done this many times and have usually paid the price on my exams. Discarding a detail is usually not the best course of action to take. Instead, one needs to take the time to address the confusion.

If it’s a small detail, asking the teacher during the class is a good idea. This can clear up any issue immediately and allow you to mentally be back in sync with the class lecture. I recommend this course of action first.

I know that this isn’t always possible (perhaps you don’t want to interrupt the entire class for your question), so the next thing to do is to figure out a way to ask the teacher about it later. This can be after class or during office hours, but the important step in this option is to write your problem down. The reason I want you to write down your issue is that I want you to detail exactly what doesn’t make sense to you. By doing this, you’re ensuring that you can accurately describe your confusion to your teacher at a later time. Additionally, this list of ideas that don’t make sense or don’t quite jive can be used as study guides for exams. By looking at these, one can virtually guarantee that these issues won’t be present in a test.

The best way to avoid jagged edges in one’s knowledge is to embrace them, and then work to improve them. It can be difficult to understand a lot of the content in classes, but by keeping a running list of what doesn’t make sense in a class, you’re creating a systematic way to tackle those issues.

No more getting caught in a test by the one thing you didn’t look at for the test.