Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Andrew shares how he prepares for exams!

An Eskimo riding a bicycle, smoking a cigar, that’s one of the scenarios I currently have running in my mind in an attempt to memorize a collection of related facts for an upcoming exam. The Eskimo is not a lone cyclist however, on the contrary it’s a surreal merry little party up there right now, Mickey Mouse, Marry Poppins and Denzel Washington (don’t ask) to name but a few are also performing various tasks in the vain attempt to relate the sometimes obscure information in a temporary but cohesive manner. They perform their function for just enough time for me to hopefully click the correct answer and then they are unceremoniously expelled. Any proof that they ever existed is the percentage value on a screen that ultimately results.

We harbor these characters (or at least I do) within our minds along with a colorful collection of acronyms, mnemonics and whatever else we care to create to aid us in memorization. They all provide us with a softer way to consume the large amounts information we are subjected to. A word, half a word even will trigger our thought process to navigate swiftly though the tunnels of our mind to a pre-prepared treasure trove of viable information. An unraveled acronym or mnemonic will provide at worst a clue and at best the key to the hidden answer. I am sure it would be considered cheating if the process could be externally observed.

However perhaps we should take heed, be aware that in time, acronyms become jumbled, mnemonics less melodic and the neuronal tracks that lead us to our other creations faded. The friendly smiling face of Mickey Mouse who helps me today may well have a sinister grin tomorrow, for the answer should not based on ‘because my Disney friend said so’ but rather based on a profound understanding of fundamental facts and their application to the question in hand. Of course where’s the fun in that?

Best of luck to all in the exams, whichever way you navigate to your answers.       

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