I've noticed that there are some basics that even the brightest students sometimes overlook. Here are the key ones:
- Failing to read the course requirements. [Obviously a wise move but perhaps not that obvious.]
- Failing to read the test questions. [This is so common I wonder how often in my own school days I missed the aim of the question.]
- Padding essays. [That is hard to miss when the same concept has been reworded three times.]
- Failing to ask questions. [Believe me, most professors are thrilled when a student shows enough interest to ask a question. The best students ask the most questions.]
- Applying their own rules to the subject. [You may feel that the French have been mispronouncing a word for years or that a law should have been written a certain way but unfortunately your interpretation is not on the exam.]
Now, in all fairness, let's look at the mistakes that teachers make:
- Using arcane exam questions that are more likely to trap or embarrass students than to test actual knowledge of the subject.
- Failing to give extensions on assignment deadlines.
- Failing to provide jargon-free explanations in plain language.
- Automatically assuming that if a student doesn't do well on an exam then the fault must be the student's.
- Forgetting that the teacher's job is to convey knowledge and not go through the motions of conveying knowledge.
- Failing to acquire decent presentation skills.
- Turning what could be an interesting subject into a recital of boring material.