Learning for the sake of exams
As my finals draw close, I have been forced to change my study habits. Normally I would be learning Chinese to learn the language, to function as a speaker/reader/etc. But with finals coming up, and not much time to study, I have to look at the method which will get me the highest grade on the exams (without cheating).
Note that the computer flash card software I mentioned yesterday is more for me to learn Chinese and Korean long term. Especially Supermemo, which can use multimedia files in addition to text.
Anyhow, during my last three exams for a particular class, the teacher copied problems verbatim from the book that require the student to put sentence fragments in order. If I really wanted to master Chinese, I’d study the meaning and why things should go in a particular order. However, since I am reasonably sure that this problem will be copied verbatim from the book, I can just memorise the order of sentence fragments numerically from each chapter. Just the first few characters, and then the number sequence. Why use my weak Chinese ability when I can use my far superior math set ability instead?
Other types of problems have different shortcuts that don’t rely on strong Chinese knowledge, but knowing how the system works instead.