Two days ago, upon the completion of my second test in Intro Psychology, I was completely inflated with a combination of rage and righteous anger. Our professor, though disorganized, had made it a point to give us a study guide and practice questions before the first test that were a pretty accurate reflection of what could be expected on the exam. And when I say accurate, I mean that she gave us the same test questions, verbatim, on the practice and on the graded test. She did the same thing for the second test, giving us a study guide and practice questions. HOWEVER, on the second test, there was very little correlation between the practice and the test. Now, you could argue that she doesn’t owe it to us to give us the exact material on the test before the actual test, but she did condition us to expect that, given her behavior on the first test. Further, she verbally emphasized that we should ONLY study information mentioned in the study guide, and that if we studied other material, we would be wasting our time. But on this test, she gave us questions on information NOT MENTIONED on her study guide. She picked out, it seemed, that most obscure facts and theories for the test, rather than selecting material we covered more thoroughly. I was sure I missed points all over the place, particularly in the multiple choice section. I was worried
But when she returned the tests today and I received a 96%, I felt completely deflated. I feel like my high pass was a product of luck (guessing on multiple choice), intuition (I’m a naturally good test-taker), prior knowledge (much of this class is, after all, common sense), and osmosis (a joke, by which I mean that I absorbed some information unconsciously by reading it once, as opposed to thoroughly studying it). I still feel like the test was unfair, and that she set us up to fail by her shift in expectations from the first to the second test. But I feel like my right to complain has been taken away, because I miraculously performed well. Had I gotten a C or below, I could somehow “prove” that the test was flawed.
That’s why I feel deflated… I am frustrated because test expectations are now completely unclear to me. Another specific instance angered me. She has a bonus question on a motivation theory that some people claimed wasn’t covered in class. To prove a point, she brought up the PowerPoint slide where it was covered. I do consent that she talked about it briefly, but I spoke up with the comment that she “hadn’t talked about it extensively.” To this, she responded by practically chewing my head off, insisting that this was a critical theory in Psychology, and of COURSE she emphasized it. But a quick survey of the other students in class confirms that none of us picked up on that point. Whether or not is important, it is clear to me that she did NOT point that out to us. But she’s so sure that she’s right, it’s pointless to argue with her. Only ONE person in a 40 person class answered the question correctly: doesn’t that say something?
This class and this professor are completely opposite from my Biology class, which is highly organized and has clear objectives and expectations. My biology professor is always willing to address questions, see new perspectives, and tell us how to correctly prepare for tests. What has really become clear to me is that my mind works in such a orderly and logical way that I can’t follow the “soft science” format. What I am learning from this Psychology course, I am only learning because I approach it systematically and scientifically, despite the way she teaches. Here’s hoping the majority of the Nursing degree is taught from a scientific perspective, rather than from a social perspective.