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Do's and Don'ts: How to fail a course

  1. Enter the course as late as possible.
  2. Do not bother with a textbook.
  3. Put your social life ahead of everything else.
  4. Observe how strange the professor looks and treat him accordingly.
  5. Make yourself comfortable when you study; maybe you can even get in a little nap.
  6. Have friends nearby during the study period so that when the work gets dull, you will have someone to talk to.
  7. If you must study, try to lump it all together and get it over with.
  8. Keep your study table interesting. Place photographs, magazines, games, and other recreational devices around while you study.
  9. Never interrupt your reading by checking on what you have learned. Recitation is not very pleasant anyway.
  10. Avoid bothering with notebooks unless you want to doodle during the lecture.
  11. Remind yourself frequently of how dull the course is.
  12. Stay up all night before important examinations. You can spend the first half of the evening discussing your determination to “cram” and the second half drinking coffee and complaining.
  13. Write your examination paper rapidly. Glance at the questions and then put down your first impression.
  14. When out of class, forget the facts you have learned there. Do not let academic work get mixed up with your daily life.
  15. When in the lab, work hurriedly. Do not waste time worrying about what is going on.
  16. Ignore dictionaries. That’s what spell check is for, write?
  17. Remember that it’s success in life that counts. Never let extraneous matters such as grades interfere with this objective.
  18. By changing your mind about your curriculum after school starts, you should be able to avoid classes until the second or third week.
  19. Never, ever talk to your professor, especially if you don’t understand the material he’s teaching in class. That would make you look stupid.
  20. Do not try to discuss ideas brought up in class with others; they may have a different interpretation and may only confuse you.
  21. If tutors or review sessions are available to you, do not go; you will only be wasting your time.
  22. Do not check test files to see if your professor has any old tests that you can study from. This will only be more work for you.


Fisher, 1990

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