To ace exams, get better at the easy questions

Close-up of a gold medal from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, showing a ridge-textured golden surface upon which the Olympic rings are set.
A gold medal from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Just like common advice on staying in shape like “try to exercise at least twice a week” won’t get an athlete to an Olympic gold medal, common test-taking advice is similarly insufficient for getting a perfect score on an exam. The advice is directionally correct but not useful: Olympic athletes definitely exercise at least twice a week, but that’s not the key to winning gold. Photo credit: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service, CC BY-SA 2.0

Math Kangaroo

Growing up, I took part in competitions in many subjects, but math and programming were my favorites. Between 3rd grade and senior year of high school, I literally competed in every math competition my parents and I managed to find.

Test of speed or test of knowledge?

Almost everyone treated Math Kangaroo as a test of knowledge, when in fact beyond a certain level it became mostly a test of speed. The “master the easy problems” strategy is perfect for tests of speed, and completely useless for tests of knowledge. Before you get a perfect score on an exam, you must learn to tell the difference and adjust your approach accordingly.

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Predrag Gruevski

Predrag Gruevski

Principal Eng @Kensho // Querying (almost) everything // GraphQL compiler author // @MIT alum // rocket nerd, hockey player, not from around here 🇲🇰