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Old 12-10-2018, 10:28 PM #1
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Default Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

Ok so I am wondering if my issue is all that uncommon.


I'm enrolled in a community college studying web development.


When it comes to testing, I find that if I have to do your standard multiple choice or vocabulary test I don't do too well. On average I get a C or a high D on a test like that. Give me hands on test and I excel. For example, in many of my coding classes, each test is divided into 2 parts; a multiple choice part and a coding part. The multiple choice part is pretty self explanatory where as the coding part involves actually writing code to solve a problem for each question. I always screw up the multiple choice questions but I almost always get an A on the coding tests.


So if I take a class where a big part of the class is dependent on test grades, I outright struggle but I do well on more hands on type classes.


Anybody else have this issue? I am the only one in my classes that seems to do this poorly on tests.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:15 AM #2
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

I'm sorry you're struggling, DarknessIsMyFriend I think it's perfectly normal for someone to be better at certain aspects than others in their fields. Many of my ex-classmates were better at coding than anything else. So you're definitely not alone on this. I actually think coding may be more important in this case. I think you just need to work a bit on your other skills and you should be fine. Don't give up! I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:22 AM #3
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

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Originally Posted by MickeyCheeky View Post
I'm sorry you're struggling, DarknessIsMyFriend I think it's perfectly normal for someone to be better at certain aspects than others in their fields. Many of my ex-classmates were better at coding than anything else. So you're definitely not alone on this. I actually think coding may be more important in this case. I think you just need to work a bit on your other skills and you should be fine. Don't give up! I'm so sorry you have to deal with this

Ya like memorizing a bunch of meaningless terms is going to make me a better web developer lol.


Still though, schools put such a large emphasis on tests rather than practical stuff. Been thinking that college isn't for me at this point. Might just finish 4 more classes for the certificate and be done with this community college instead of sticking around for 1-2 more years for a degree.
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Old 12-17-2018, 01:34 AM #4
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

I agree with you, darkness, on the emphasis on testing. I get that there has to be a way to assess knowledge, but I think there are better ways than multiple choice exams.

I do very poorly on multiple choice as well. I find the wording is often vague and confusing and feel like I am being set up to fail. In my mid-term in psych in October, I got 42% on the exam which was all multiple choice. The class average was 48%. I am overall an A student with a 3.5 GPA. Unfortunately most profs like multiple choice because they are super easy and fast to mark - they just have to feed the form into the computer and it marks it for them.

I would do some more digging if you can. I would find out what the class average is on those multiple choice exams and see where you compare - if the whole class is getting marks around where you are, chances are it's not you. If the rest of the class is getting As, and you're pulling in a D, then you might need to look at some alternate study skills.

Sadly I don't think multiple choice is going to go away any time soon. It's a thorn in all our sides....
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Old 12-17-2018, 01:46 AM #5
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

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I would do some more digging if you can. I would find out what the class average is on those multiple choice exams and see where you compare - if the whole class is getting marks around where you are, chances are it's not you. If the rest of the class is getting As, and you're pulling in a D, then you might need to look at some alternate study skills.

Sadly I don't think multiple choice is going to go away any time soon. It's a thorn in all our sides....

I compared grades with some other students on a couple of the tests and I am below average on the test scores. Most people that I've talked to scored at least 1-2 full letter grades above me.


I know that difficulties concentrating has been a constant issue for me, especially on stuff that I find to be boring or pointless. This has been a big enough issue that I am considering the possibility that I have an undisclosed ADHD issue. Might go to a public mental health center and see about getting diagnosed.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:37 AM #6
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

What this is showing is that you do better when you are actually problem solving and engaging. That is how your mind functions best and in all honesty, that is something a lot of people do better at because we learn best by "doing". The whole reason for "homework" is meant to spend some time taking something a teacher is explaining to us and actually doing it on our own. Our brain is set up to navigate, it's something we are genetically designed for and are born with. A very young child who doesn't know how to walk yet can see others around him walking but doesn't really master it until he slowly tries to do it himself. Just seeing others doing it doesn't provide his own ability to conquer it. When we first look at a formula, the best way to memorize it is by actually applying it. The fact that you do well when it comes to actually applying learned skills is a plus as some people can memorize but genuinely can't apply and do themselves.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:50 AM #7
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

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Originally Posted by Open Eyes View Post
What this is showing is that you do better when you are actually problem solving and engaging. That is how your mind functions best and in all honesty, that is something a lot of people do better at because we learn best by "doing". The whole reason for "homework" is meant to spend some time taking something a teacher is explaining to us and actually doing it on our own. Our brain is set up to navigate, it's something we are genetically designed for and are born with. A very young child who doesn't know how to walk yet can see others around him walking but doesn't really master it until he slowly tries to do it himself. Just seeing others doing it doesn't provide his own ability to conquer it. When we first look at a formula, the best way to memorize it is by actually applying it. The fact that you do well when it comes to actually applying learned skills is a plus as some people can memorize but genuinely can't apply and do themselves.

The homework in most of my classes is hands on stuff which I generally do well in. I'm good both at following a set of directions to finish a project and outright figuring things out myself.


Give me a test though, and I outright struggle. Aside from reasons mentioned above, I have testing anxiety issues. I become nervous and afraid of failing the test. Failing classes have potential to hurt me pretty bad since I currently am completely dependent on financial aid to pay my living expenses (all though I'm working on some things so that hopefully changes soon). Still though, being homeless in the winter because I failed a stupid pointless test is a thought that kinda scares me and further hinders my performance on tests.


I'm just not somebody who is good at working under pressure.
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Old 12-17-2018, 06:01 PM #8
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

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Originally Posted by DarknessIsMyFriend View Post
Anybody else have this issue? I am the only one in my classes that seems to do this poorly on tests.
Absolutely. I will never do truly well on anything if it requires "standardized" testing. Which is in no way a measure of my intelligence or capability to do the work.

Multi choice exams themselves have a cheat. Typically they have two answers that are correct and close to each other and YOU have to guess what the tester wants of you. This off the top typically makes a few questions you could mess up even though you know the material. I have always though they are a way of evening the playing field.

I would say though that as I went on in school to college and grad school the more classes did not rely on standardized testing. Such as take home exams, presentations or essay exams. But you never truly are going to be able to escape such things. My certification exam for my profession was 50% multi choice and 50% essay.

I also don't like memorization but I did find a method that worked for me after a while. I don't seem to pick up material via reading it and trying to memorize it from the page. I seem to need to write it down. So for my years in school, I would do these index cards and just do them anytime I had a free minute. This also helped me not take visual cues from the book or outline and "purely" knew the material. The process of writing down the things on an index card more fully put them in my head.

Most of this information did come back to help me at some point so it was worth it.
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Old 12-18-2018, 12:53 AM #9
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

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Originally Posted by Emily Fox Seaton View Post
I also don't like memorization but I did find a method that worked for me after a while. I don't seem to pick up material via reading it and trying to memorize it from the page. I seem to need to write it down. So for my years in school, I would do these index cards and just do them anytime I had a free minute. This also helped me not take visual cues from the book or outline and "purely" knew the material. The process of writing down the things on an index card more fully put them in my head.

I tried writing stuff down and making flash cards at one point. Found they helped me very little so decided they aren't worth my time.


I just need to accept that my brain isn't wired for any kind of college. I'll most likely just get a web design certificate from this school and be done with college for good.


After all, why waste my time when I can learn all this stuff for free on Lynda.com since I get it for free from my local library.
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Old 12-18-2018, 01:43 PM #10
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Default Re: Bad at memorizing but good at hands on stuff

Well, on a bright note, grades just posted and the one class that was giving me the most trouble because of how confusing the tests were, I got an A in. I actually did better in my hard class than my easy classes since I got Bs in them.


Not bad I guess lol
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