I am not sure how many people know about this – but exam questions are set somewhere during the 3rd week of the semester. That means the lecturers/professors are obliged to teach a particular set of materials for the entire 13 weeks of semester.

However, this is always an estimation and some lecturers may:

  1. have been too enthusiastic about an earlier chapter
  2. realise that he missed some concept chapters
  3. have to answer more questions than required
  4. have to spend more time getting students to understand some fundamentals
  5. realise at a much later date that the students may not understand enough to answer the exam questions he set earlier

In addition, each class is different from the previous and he may have one class which was stronger in one area while the class before strong in another area. So, what happens at the end of the day?

  1. They drop hints during lectures
  2. They start to rush through some chapters just to “cover” them towards the end of the semester
  3. They start explaining some concepts during “revision week”
  4. They keep saying that certain chapters are important

Well, for a start, here are somethings that you should take note of:

  1. Most sections that the lecturers say are important, are really important.
  2. Theories that the lecturers explain again during “revision week” is usually somewhat important – good enough for you to pass, may not be good enough for that A-, A or A+
  3. Most sections that the lecturers say you just have to read it through usually means that it’s good to know – you may not have to study for it, but probably just know it

Of course, no lecturers want to fail their students. If you attempt an exam, then you’d have a chance at passing (or aceing) it. Conversely, if you don’t then your assignments probably can’t help you pass it either.

Speaking of assignments, do spend some time doing it – at least putting in a conscientious effort in completing it. It usually weights between 15% to 40% of the overall marks – depending on the performance of the students for that year. The reason why the lecturers do not want to fix a percentage is so that, in a low-performing year, they have the liberty to give more weightage to the assignments so as to bring everyone up. This beats having to moderate marks because moderation is a very tough process in that they have to consider the amount to moderate.

Lastly, do not hand in a blank answer for a question – scribble, draw, doodle – do anything, you might just get a mark or 2; and in doubt during an exam, ask. The invigilator/your lecturer might just enlighten you enough for you to move on. =)

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