Bloodbath Midterm

Let me start by saying that I test very well. I am good enough at taking tests that often I will be able to perform better than I should be able to given my knowledge of the subject being tested. I have, as it were, test skillz.

My Investment Analysis (i.e. “Economics for Engineers”) professor has spent at least a half hour of cumulative class time telling us what a bloodbath the exam is going to be and explaining the reasons why it will be so hard to convince us that he’s not an evil bastard. Ok, actually, I think he describes himself as evil when discussing the exam, but I figure it’s slightly more likely that he’s kidding than not…

Anyway, the midterm is going to be a bloodbath. He assigns grades in the class by class rank, so he needs to be able to tell the top ranking student apart from the second ranking student, etc. This is possible if you don’t have three or four students clustered together with perfect scores on the exam. Therefore, he strives to put the average score at around 50%. The important thing to remember, he says, is that the raw score is only indirectly related to your letter grade. Your class rank is directly related to your letter grade.

And it’s tangent time. Bear with me.

I estimate that while in the Army, I spent about 3 years not dreaming at all. I developed sleep apnea, and I simply wasn’t asleep long enough to enter REM sleep for about three years. It’s been successfully treated, now, with a machine that I strap to my face every night so that I can breathe while I sleep. I dream, these days. However, I don’t remember the dreams very often, and it’s been a long time (before the Army, I believe) since I had a nightmare.

My alarm clock is due to wake me in 10 minutes. However, the nightmare woke me 20 minutes ago. I dreamed that I was taking the exam. Among the many wonderful things I dreamed about the exam were:

  • I had somehow missed hearing the professor tell everyone in the class to get up and move to another classroom. I only realized something was wrong when
  • I realized that instead of working on my exam, I was listening to the audio from a Monty Python sketch. When I rushed to turn off the audio file and pick up where I left off on the exam,
  • I realized that the room was dark and nobody else was there. Finally, in contrast with how most people feel about math problems on exams, I was horrified when I realized that
  • there were almost no math problems on this exam. (What can I say? Math’s what I do.)

I think that the professor has somehow put the fear of exams in me. Or maybe the gods of test-taking finally realized that I’ve been unafraid of tests for over two decades and rebalanced me.

Ah, well. Enough rambling. Time to go turn off my alarm clock and do a little studying for that exam tomorrow.

May 3rd, 2008 11:45

There was lots and lots of math. I got all of the math right. I got an A.

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