Dealing with an Impossibly Difficult Test
Some faculty take perverse pleasure in giving tests that are impossible for all, but a few students. In most cases, you will know if a teacher gives impossible tests by looking at RateMyProfessor.com or MyEdu.com. Whenever possible, you should try to avoid these teachers.
What do you if you can’t avoid such a teacher? Here are some things you can do:
- See if you can find any old tests of this teacher. Look for trends in the tests. See if you can find any patterns that could help you prepare for the tests.
- Also look at how the grading was done on the test. Where were the most points lost? What was awarded the most points. Try to do whatever you can to maximize the partial credit you receive.
- You know the test is impossible so don’t panic. What you need to do is perform well in relation to your classmates.
- Try to respond to every question in some manner
- For problem questions show the setup of the problem, but don’t carry through with the calculations until you have some answer for every question on the test.
- For true/false and multiple choice questions, fill in an answer for every question even if you don’t have time to read the question. Generally choices b or c are best on multiple choice tests and false is best on true/false tests.
- For essay questions, answer every question with at least some facts that are relevant.
In most cases, teachers who give tests that are impossible also have a generous curve. In some cases, there may be opportunities to earn back points. The key to succeeding in these classes is to be better than the average student in the class..