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american education

I was in a training class for work a few months ago. The goal was to train employees to the point where we could all get a professional certification (so that our department could say "95% of my employees are certified dillweeds... etc..). Anyway, we had hit a point in the course where the instructors were trying to teach us something that defied common sense. Half the class was getting agitated, the other half was asleep.

We had established that this was a confusing point, but to my mind, this was irrelevant. So I said "How do we have to do it for the certification exam?". And one of my fellow corporate dillweeds said "Hah! Look at this american education. Just want to know the answer and not understand why!".

This guy really pissed me off, for two reasons:
1) I have had a much better education (american and other) than most people
2) This training class was already ridiculous. Continuing to judge it at a rational level was worthless so we might as well get what we came for.

but today, I found myself taking another exam, again for work training. And something shocking happened. I failed the first attempt with a 76%.. the pass rate was 80%. Two things to note:
1) I probably wasn't taking it too seriously. I didn't even check my answers before submitting them.
2) there is no good second item to note. I was screwing around and relying on my excellent (usually) short term memory to carry me through the multiple choice exam.

For a moment, I wasn't really sure what to do. I had spent about 6 hours on the exam material and sure as hell wasn't going back through it all. So instead, I reviewed the chapter quizes. i noticed a few things I had gotten wrong, and then half way through, I QUIT REVIEWING.

you know why? I got 24% incorrect on the exam. I assumed an even distribution of incorrectness through the material and figured that reviewing halfway would net me enough improvement to pass the exam. I immediately retook the exam. and you know what happened?

I made an 88%. I passed. I was rewarded for my less than completely edifying approach to the course material. Thinking on this, I realized that this approach has worked for me through the past few years of my life. and do you know when this started?

After I graduated with my bachelor's degree and got a "real job"! And learned just like everyone else that none of the material you covered in college was applicable. That when your professors told you that the real lesson was to "learn how to learn", they were right.

Well, I guess what I learned is that exams are for dillweeds... or something...

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 19, 2007 10:39 PM.

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