Saturday, December 10, 2005

Three down; Two to go

I hate finals.

Here's what stresses me out about them: Finals in law school (and med school, fyi) are graded to a curve. I don't mean the way they do in undergrad, where if nobody gets above, say, 80% correct, then they adjust what an "A" score would be to somewhere in the 70s, and a "B" score to somewhere below that, etc. I mean that they take a bell curve, and throw us into it. If there are 100 people in the class, then maybe 3 to 5 are going to get an A.

So let's say you have a multiple choice test with 100 questions. In all of my past school experience, that would mean that the questions were worth 1 point a piece and you could miss 10 and get an A. So it would apply here, too, right? Not so, my friend! Your ability to get an A depends not on a quantitative score based only on how many you got correct, but rather on your ability to do better than 95 other students. If EVERYONE got 90 questions right, everyone is still not getting an A. And that means on an easy exam, the number of questions that separates an A from a C is not all that much. Because maybe an A will be in the 98-100 range, and an A- will be in the 96-97, a B+ from 93-90, a B from 85-90, and so on. Of course, I can't imagine an exam being so easy that you'd get that many right, but I have had exams that were easy enough that a few questions was all that separated the grade you wanted from the average grade (my school grades to a B curve, so most students get a B).

And to make it worse, potential employers look almost exclusively at grades, or at the very least, they weigh them heavily. So there's that added pressure.

So pretty much all the time, you have to worry about outdoing your classmates. That's difficult when the subject matter is, oh, I don't know, let's say Federal Income Tax, and, hypothetically, you've spent every class reading recaps of The Apprentice on Television Without Pity instead of paying attention. Just hypothetically. The hypothetical me would be hypothetically freaking out right about now about the exam she has on Monday and kicking herself for not trying harder to understand what they heck the professor was talking about even though she'd done all the reading but still, what is he going on about, our reading wasn't about corporate tax so why are we talking about dividends and pass-through taxation?

So sorry I haven't blogged lately. I'm too busy stress eating. I mean, hypothetically.

P.S. Because it really is just a sight to behold, I'm sharing with you my "study outfit" for the day, starting with my feet and on up: white socks and bright green flip-flops, very wrinkled black yoga pants that are too big for me and thus drag the ground, a powder blue long sleeve v-neck ribbed knit shirt, a long, dark blue-red "professor sweater"/cardigan (I call it that because it's what a stereotypical English professor wears in movies, really long with pockets in the front near the bottom; all that's missing is a pipe) with two missing buttons, an orange-red shawl from Ecuador, and, last but not least, a turquoise hankerchief on my head. I so clash. I think if you look directly at me, it could cause seizures. But man, am I comfortable.


Deals On Wheels said...

Well, at least, you are more than half way done with your exams (here's to looking for the bright side of things).

I always knew I chose the subject of "history" for graduate school for a reason. We hardly ever had tests. Instead, our entire grade hinged upon one major, primary-source research paper. I mean, really - if you don't know about something after four months of writing a 50 page paper about it, than you really don't deserve to pass.

Although, we did have this nasty little Comp Exam at the end of the program. That was a booger...

Ben said...

Glad I am done with school...


I feel for ya.

Amstaff Mom said...

AHA HA HA HA. AHA HA HA HA!! I LOVED the outfit description. Sherlock Holmes has met his match indeed. Thanks for sharing, JLR.