这是我在2003年2月份初春的同济西北五楼的寒冷的被窝中瑟瑟发抖中写的一篇小文章。那个寒假我没有回家，呆在上海准备GRE考试，期间为了参加著名的S.t. Gallen Symposium
The Philosophy of Crammers
By Tinglong Dai
Before we discuss this topic, I should say, I’m not among "crammers"(Note: those who study hastily for an imminent examination). In reality, I’m something of a pedant in their eyes. Still, I have full reason to claim that what they think and do, even though can hardly be said as perfect, still has something worth thinking about. Forgive me to name it "philosophy".
In most of universities and colleges in China, a student’s score of a certain subject largely depends upon his performance in the so-called "final examination", which is generally held in the end of every semester. To prepare for the test, some students are soaked in the library everyday, learning day and night. Some other students, however, almost never appear in the classroom or library. They just count on the last two weeks before the "final trial". We call them "crammers".
"Crammers" can still be classified into two groups, according to their performance in the test: overwhelming success or total failure.
Li, one of my intimates, is undoubtedly a "successful crammer". As an outstanding footballer in the university team, he almost never touches his textbooks unless a miracle happens. And the very miracle is: the final exam is coming two weeks off. On the other hand, his performance in every final exam invokes envies from everybody: always Top 5.
Wang, who is my roommate, does almost the same things as Li on the surface, yet gets nearly the opposite outcome. He has failed in so many subjects that whether he can complete his undergraduate study in due time is still a doubt.
What makes the difference?
As Wang’s roommate, I know clearly what he is doing. Concerning Li, he is always unwilling to reveal his ideas in terms with study. Luckily, I have been able to find out something by deciphering the enigma of his successes.
Tips 1# avoid discouraging plans which seem to be productive.
Those crammers of failure type "try something new" everyday. Correspondingly, they have timetables in which every minute is
filled learning, learning and still learning. They never let their brain be free from seemingly unending information for even a second.
They do everything to fulfill their plans; still, each time before they go to bed, they find regretfully that only a slight part of their plan
has been accomplished. They’re trapped at the bottom of deeply incised canyons of disappointments, carved by plans that they can never get any satisfaction from.
What about successful crammers? "To prepare for a hard test in two weeks is always an exciting experience for me," said Li, "every minute is utilized to crack my most serious weaknesses. Through the battle with my weakness, I become more and more powerful."
Yes, Li might even have no written plans, but he knows clearly what is the most important —- his own weaknesses. As he have a clear concept of himself, in the whole process, he never feels disappointed until he finds on the day before the examination that he can hardly find his own "weakness" unless he redefines the term.
But how can one analyze his own "weaknesses"? The first thing to do is:
Tip 2# treasure your weaknesses.
For those crammers, a test two weeks off of subject about which they almost know nothing is no less than a fatal crisis. Some can lose the basic ability of judgment and rush to do useless work. While in fact, their crisis is not their unpredictable performance in the test, but their ignorance of their own actual state. They’re pressed by this kind of ignorance.
Is it possible that they really know nothing about their own situations? Perhaps not. Nonetheless, the person who knows one best is oneself. The problem lies in that most people fear to see their weakness unmasked in the sun.
Based on how Li and some other "successful crammers" tackle the "crisis", It can be seen that they never fear their weaknesses and are always pursuing the most serious one. "Weaknesses are none such things as terrible. Instead, it gives me a feeling of achievement to fight with them in every means." said Li.
Tip 3# never cheat yourself.
A successful crammer has the intention to try to determine his coordination in the axis that leads to his goal. He asks himself three
"Who am I?"
"What am I doing?"
"What do I have to do?"
He is not born clear about these "simple" questions. But he knows the essence of how to do things well and thus keeps trying to resolve these questions. This is not to say, they’re inured to finding fault with themselves; rather, in these inquiries, they keep track of themselves.
Tip 4# cheating can destroy your confidence
Some might think that since crammers take a more or less "cheating" attitude toward study, then their being self-discipline in the
examination seems to be unimaginable. Surprisingly, most of "successful crammers" never cheat in their exam.
Li describes one’s cheating in the exam as "skepticism toward one’s own hard work and intelligence." If a student cheats in the exam
without being caught, the next time he prepares for the test, he would assume that he has more "alternatives". A harmful attitude, the outgrowth of that kind of illusion, tends to prevent him from having an overall review of his classes.
So, the best thing to do is: remove the word "cheat" from your dictionary.
Li has read this article (Beforehand I’ve told him that I’ve no intention of singing high praise of him). His commented on this article was "just dogma".
Maybe he was right.