Is a student who doesn't get A's an A student if they understand the material at an A level?

Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 01:25 pm
So I'm taking level 2 calculus at my university. I understand just about everything the professor teaches. I'm usually the first the give the correct answer. Right before exams, we get a practice exam with an answer key. Whenever I test myself, I get a solid A. However, when it comes time to take the actual exam, everything goes awry. I make a lot of careless mistakes and have several freezes, resulting in me getting a B or C on the exam, even though I understand about 96% of the material. Would you still consider me an A student?
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Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 02:11 pm
I think you have test anxiety, it's very common. If you can self test at an A level, anxiety is preventing you from receiving A's that are actually included in your records.

I had a professor years ago that suggested that when taking a timed test, avoid making mistakes by first going thru and answering all the questions/problems you are sure of. Don't spend anytime on something you're uncertain about. After you finish the items you are sure of, go back to the ones not completed. Repeat this process and and sometimes (quite often) the ones that gave you trouble, you will be more comfortable answering. Don't worry about being the last to finish, just use all the time to answer and then review. By that time you should have improved your chances of acting the test.

I think you probably are an A level, but it doesn't count unless you actually get the A. Once you can figure out how to relax you will do much better. Good luck.
Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 03:06 pm
Great advice.
Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 06:22 pm
Thank you Ragman
Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 06:24 pm
the word was supposed to be aceing not acting. i hate spellcheck.
Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 06:32 pm
I agree with you too. I probably heard that advice before that or did it naturally at least somewhat, but when I was studying for what were then national boards, I was in a general lowish level of panic over some months. Panic is probably the wrong word - I really mean a period of long weeks of tension, always a sliver of it there. The info to all of us attending a few sessions on how to handle the testing was just as you explained, and worked.
Snort... I later ended up being a grader for those tests for a few years.

Oh, and breathing while test taking is a good idea too.
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Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 09:32 pm
Thank you. Time isn't issue. He gives us the whole class-period, which is more than enough time.
Reply Sun 10 May, 2015 10:54 pm
You're choking, you need to figure out how to relax while you're taking the test.
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Reply Mon 11 May, 2015 08:20 am
Even so you appear to have test anxiety. My daughter often times gets like this - you describe her perfectly.

glitterbag gave great advice - whether the test is timed or not. Focus on the questions you know best first. This will relax you so you can tackle the next ones. Also, if the test is not timed - you can go back and double check those typical mistakes you make -- the simple things.

Another thought - go and meet with your teacher and explain how you get stressed during the test - depending on the teacher, they may have some suggestions to help ease you. You could also see if there is some sort of guidance or other counselors available at your school - they may be able to help with test anxiety.

And to answer your direct question - you do need to earn the A to be called an A student. Best to tackle and learn how to deal with your anxiety so it does not hold you back.
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Reply Mon 11 May, 2015 08:31 am
grilledthomas wrote:

Would you still consider me an A student?

If you were my student, I would not consider you to be an A-student. You seem to collapse under the pressures of taking a written examination.

In some US colleges, such students would do well to take the course on a pass-fail basis. At some high -level US colleges, a professor may be willing to give a student an oral exam in place of a written one.

If you have emotional problems taking a written exam, how well do you think you could perform taking an oral exam?
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