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Martin, Engineer
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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I had a dream that I was writing my biology exam, but there

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I had a dream that I was writing my biology exam, but there was a question worth 4 marks that I didn't understand. It seemed to be related to a different topic, something to do with potential or fated lovers. It was an example of a couple and then there was the biology part which I didn't understand. I left it to the end after I finished all the short answer questions, and when i got back to that question worth 4 marks, I kept erasing my answer and re-writing it. I was so anxious and frustrated and worried and for some reason when I looked up and around to think of an answer, I realized I was writing the exam on a bus. On the bus my grade 12 biology teacher was there, and he came over and said "you can do it, you know the answer." I told him I didn't and he came back and whispered to me quietly, but I don't remember what he was saying exactly, but he was giving me hints of what the answer is. I wrote down what he told me but then the answer wasn't complete and I wanted more. I was too embarrassed to ask him though, because I never asked him for help in his class since I was an A student who won the highest biology mark in all of Ontario. So I was too ashamed to tell him that I still didn't know the answer. Everyone was done handing in their exam sheets, and this girl on the opposite side of the bus quietly gave me her paper to copy from, and i hid it under my paper, and started copying her answer. Eventually, a supervisor came to collect the tests, but I hadn't finished copying the answer, so I had no choice but to give her my sheet. I didn't want to get in trouble, so I gave the girl's sheet back to her, behind the supervisor's back.

The girl smiles at me in a friendly way and said I will do great, even though I didn't finish writing down the answer. She introduced me to her brother on the bus, and the next thing I know I'm at their house. We all had 1 shot of alcohol that night, to toast an end to the exams, and they lent me a room to sleep in. So I locked the door and everything. When I woke up, the girl's brother was in my bed, and I had lost my virginity to him. I got really angry and freaked out because I was saving my virginity for marriage.

The girl comes in and starts laughing at me and it was a set up, so they must have put something in my drink before I passed out. I told her that the door was locked, how did they get in, and she took me to her room where her and her brother were sleeping and she went out through the sliding door of the balcony, and apparently it connects to a sliding door of the room i was sleeping in, and she said that it was her idea for her brother to go in through this door. I yelled at her and asked her how she could do this to me without my permission.

The girl's mother came and asked what the problem was, and then the mother was defending her children and said that I shouldn't be upset about losing my virginity and that I shouldn't blame her kids. She even said that I shouldn't have been saving it till marriage. I got angry and said that it's not just about saving it till marriage but saving it for the right person, and her son was not someone I loved. I started to get emotional and I called my mom and started crying when I showed her the sliding doors on the balcony and how I was set up. I told her I felt cheated from the situation because I didn't know about it and my mother yelled at the girl's mother, and they got into a big argument.

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Hello. It look like you used to have control in biology exam before but that because you have more problem with it now it is causing stress. That stress is important enough to have repercussion in your dreams. You need to just let go a bit and understand that failing a test from time to time is not the end of the world. Those that encountered success before failure always suffer more stress than those that encountered failure before success.

Grade are not relevant at all, what you achieve with the knowledge is the important part. You have limited time for grade, you have all your life to achieve something great with your knowledge. So, take your time, progress at your own speed and let the stress go away.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I wasn't really aware of how stressed I am, but I like what I am studying and I want to enjoy that success again. I know that the grading system in university is different than in High school, so I'm aiming much lower which is to at least get 70 or above. Before I was aiming for an 80, but I never achieved that grade so I let go of it and decreased my goal aim. Most of my biology courses are pre-requisites for next term courses, so if I don't get above 63 I can't get into my next courses so I won't have anything to take next term at university.


If I get one more mark below 63, I will be on academic probation. I just want to make sure I'm in the average range. I know it's okay to fail sometimes and that the world isn't going to end. But I feel happy when I'm not in the failing range, so I can't convince myself to be happy with letting go and failing an exam or two. I want to give it my best so I won't have any regrets, and that I will be happy with my effort.


I guess I just can't understand why my studying methods in high school don't work anymore. I guess I just don't understand the university system and maybe that's why I don't have control.


However, I don't live with my family. They are overseas. So it was a bit of a shock to see my mother in my dream and that she was there for me when I tried to explain to her how I got cheated out of the situation. She's the kind of person who hates seeing me stressed, and always tells me to quit when things are too hard on me. But I'm not a quitter when it comes to things I enjoy, except for calculus. I did so well at it in High school, but the fact that I failed it in university doesn't bother me one bit. I'm just upset that I have to take it again to graduate.


I also don't understand why the mother of those two kids took their sides when she knew the truth, and she tried to change my values to the point that it made me cry. Because I felt that an authoritative figure like her agrees with what her children did, rather than to justify her children's actions. I guess I just felt cheated from the rules of authority.

The amount of information at university you need to absorb is many order of magnitude larger than at high school. I can give you the simple trick that saved me a lot of stress when studying electrical engineering. Read in advance all the book chapters related to the next class. That will allow you to ask questions instead of taking notes madly and allow you to concentrate on the things you struggle with. The more you read in advance, the more your subconscious will be able to work for you and pre-masticate the information for you.

Another trick (especially for calculus) is to take everything from the start even if you think you learned it right. Many time something very early where you did not get fully skilled impair us for all subsequent progress. Also, when you notice you are doing automatic operation without knowing why you do them, go back and don't be shy to ask why to the teachers. It is lot easier to remember why (the logic) of doing something than a dumb procedural sequence of things that can always be forgot with a small amount of stress. Sometime a book lack a little something to make you understand something, don't fear to buy another book on calculus that may give you a better angle at the problem. Many are easy to get, like this one:
I personally liked the very graphic approach of Earl W. Swokowski Calculus book (the one i learned from).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, when it comes to calculus, I do require more than one textbook to understand the concept rather than just memorize it. I have a 4 year high school background in getting good grades for biology and mathematics/calculus, so it's really hard to figure out what skill I missed earlier in order to help me progress now. But I will take your advice for calculus, since I am not very happy with my textbook by Thomas. I am taking Calculus for the Life Sciences, where the material is much more condensed compared to other calculus courses offered.


As for biology, especially for genetics, it requires more than just reading and understanding, because there is a lot of information to process, and such details that dig deep into the core of DNA. Even the naming is based on codes that can overlap with other DNA processes, so if I'm not paying attention I could misread a gene transcription code, etc... It is a very competitive field, and I have to choose my words carefully for the short answer questions because they are compared with everyone else's answers to see whether we understand or if we're using the wrong word choice. So we can't always re-phrase or put the definitions in our own words. It almost feels like I'm studying how to write my answer, rather than actually writing down how I really understand something.


But anyway, I have been writing down questions formulated after reading a slide in the powerpoint lecture, or a page in the textbook just so I can tackle the answer in more than 1 way. I also stick with my T.As rather than the professors, since they are more experienced with common mistakes that students make. They are also more familiar with the kind of questions that will be asked, so I do depend on their advice. All this has only lead me to scoring between 65 and 70s, and I do see some slight improvements, but it's been two years, and no 80's yet.


I will keep trying different methods, so I'll see where it gets me, because I have no problem in understanding the material, it's just a matter of knowing how to present it. Maybe that's why I stress out a lot, because I feel like my effort and understanding is not being reflected in my marks. When I get a bad mark, I don't feel depressed or doubt myself for not knowing any better, I just get upset with how future employers, and other people will look at the marks and not feel the same. I have enough hands-on experience in the field, I just need to prove myself through my marks and that is what I am still trying to figure out.

If you want to be able to get better grade you can take less courses at a time. I personally reduced from 5 at a time to 4 because i needed to work at the same time and the courses including laboratory reports caused me a big cut in my sleep time. That simple thing improved my grades a lot and i was able to start working full time at the same date i planned anyway while taking the last courses that remained part time.
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4922
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
Martin and 30 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I decided to only take three courses this term but each course comes with a 3 hour tutorial and 2 hour practical. So it filled up my entire schedule. Next term I have 4 courses, but no tutorials or practicals, So I would only have to concentrate on lecture material and the textbook. Hopefully the content will be much more condensed.


Thank you for your help, and time.

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