Tough Course upcoming! Any advice?

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#1 13 April, 2018 - 06:07
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Joined: 6 days 12 hours ago

Tough Course upcoming! Any advice?


Hi Everybody,

I've been lurking around here for a few months and had a few questions for you all. I'll be taking a course in a few months that is one of the most intense my career field offers. Knocking it out of the park will mean great things for my career.

Tests during the course on "samples of behavior" (or SOB) of which there might be 100 in a block of ten hours of lecture. A sample of behavior might be "define basics of X" "identify difference between X and Y" "describe X Y and Z and how they are related" etc. Each SOB may have one definition, it may have three definitions, it may be something more exquisite. I saw one SOB had a 30 part table of information

Here is what I mean by intense.
8:00am to 6:00pm Lecture
7:00am to 8:00am next day - Test on Previous day's Samples of Behavior
8:00am to 6:00pm New Lectures
7:00am to 8:00am next day - Test

There are times where there could be two days of lecture followed by a test.

Tests are a short answer format, so if the SOB is "define basics of X" you literally have to do that. Additionally there are occiasional "Stand Up" days where you have to stand up in front of an instructor and they will quiz you randomly on SOBs (and will especially quiz you on areas you may have missed on the test). This is to prevent a "cram then dump" mentality.

Why this is considered intense in my opinion: there could be up to 300 unique pieces of information given to you in a day, which you are tested on the next day. The tests, being typically an hour long, can only cover so much, so you have to remember everything. The answers don't have to be exact, but the more conceptually correct, the higher the score. They give you the SOBs up front as part of the initial lecture.

I've spoken with many individuals who have taken the course. Typically what ends up happening is they first write out each SOB and the answer. Then they write it again. From here I've heard some people write it out a third time then begin quizzing themselves (like a flash card set). I've also heard, write out twice and then quiz. Finally, most students who have taken the class have stated they only have time to write and review only enough until you can recall an answer once without aid.

The biggest challenge they continually list is TIME. When you are done with class at 6pm, you have to eat food which might take 30 min. Then you head straight to studying. From what I hear, if you've taken great notes, you might have only a couple SOBs left to write out; it's apparently difficult to keep up with all of them during lecture. So you may spend another 30 writing SOBs 'flash cards' from course material. By then it's 7pm and you've got work to do. I've talked to a few folks who averaged 4 hours of sleep per night! Studying from 7pm-11pm then waking up at 3am to study until the test (8hrs of study). I personally want to sleep more than that. If I got 6 hours of sleep, that would be enough.

For what it's worth, I think nobody I've talked to know memory techniques used in this forum.

Part of this post is cathartic, I need to talk about it and writing helps relieve some of the stress. The other part is I want you all to tell me I have a good strategy going into this. So here it is.

(1) Write out the SOBs, ensuring each SOB has defined imagery. (1a) If it's a list of a number of items, attach my corresponding Major System image with the list. I think this will take a majority of my time, maybe half my time or more. (2) Study each SOB's imagery, mainly using the story method to make the image as "sticky" as possible. (3) Test each SOB, bring the story to life.

Art of Memory techniques used to enhance the above: (A) Major System for memorizing numbers and List lengths (already accomplished!), (B) Memory Palaces for lists, (C) Stressed syllable emphasis for words/terms I am unfamiliar with, (D) Story method for most facts

Success in this course will have open incredible opportunities in my career, those that have graduated with distinction become the top of the top. I can't wait to get started and have two months left to prepare. Do you all have any tips that might make this easier on me? Any critiques? Should I practice any techniques in particular to have a greater effect?

One of my largest concerns is this turns into a Cramming session rinse and repeat; and that I may give up on all the memory techniques I've practiced in the past three months. Any advice for sticking to the techniques? Finally, there will be LOTS of acronyms thrown at me in this course, any tips for memorizing acronyms?

13 April, 2018 - 12:28
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Joined: 2 years 8 months ago

Could you give us an example of a SOB and the "basics of x"?

14 April, 2018 - 11:24
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Joined: 6 days 12 hours ago

Yes definitely, here are a few examples from a similar course.

SOB: Identify the difference between decibels and traditional numbers
Answer: A decibel is a logarithmic unit of measurement expressing the magnitude of a physical quantity and substitutes small numbers for large. Traditional numbers are linear.

SOB: Explain how decibel math simplifies power calculations
Answer: Decibel math allows the use of addition and subtraction instead of multiplication and division.

SOB: Describe antenna gain, beamwidth and antenna efficiency
Answer: Antenna gain is the ability of an antenna to concentrate its radiated power. Beamwidth is the angular width of a beam. Antenna efficiency is the ratio of the total radiated power to the total input power.

SOB: Describe sources of noise, signal attenuation, and space loss
Answer: Noise can be any undesired disturbance within a frequency band of interest: antenna equipment, antenna temperature, noise from nature, noise from the Sun, earth thermal noise, noise from precipitation. Signal attenuation is caused by rainfade, ions in the tropospher, and foliage; the rate of attenuation depends on the frequency. Space loss comes from the length of space between two antennas

As you can see, some are simple, some less so...

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