This past week I just took one of the most brutal midterms of my time in college and while I kind of just wanted to curl up and die afterwards, I think spending some time telling you why tests are so different in college. I don’t know about you, but in high school all of my tests lasted for less than an hour and were similar enough to homework questions that as long as I redid my homeworks I could do a good job on the test. The format was: memorize how to solve these types of problems, learn the steps, and boom you get an A.
Unfortunately, that is not how things work in college (which honestly is probably a good thing). If I just memorized how to solve all the homework problems I would fail every test I take. So much of what I do now is about understanding the processes and what is going on. So getting the framework of what question you could get becomes a little useless. But what’s fun about that is studying no longer becomes plugging and chugging problems. It’s going to office hours and talking through lines of code, or making up your own problems. Most of the time I study going through lecture notes and talking it out with my friends which is way better than what I did in high school. Now the tests are harder and I have to spend way more time learning, but I don’t mind it because the way I have to learn now is fun and engaging. It’s why I love being an engineer.