You’re an average student. That’s okay! On average, people are average. But having a curved class changes everything.
That dreaded bell curve makes the classroom a competition; the average grade becomes a ‘C’ whether that score is 73, 43, or even 93. And while ‘C’s may get degrees, they also mean Fry Cook #3 at your local McDonalds.
So how can you make sure your grade is one of the best?
Tip #1: Study Hard
On the surface, this sounds like the best idea. But while it is great, it’s no sure-fire solution.
What if everyone is studying hard? Instead of your studying carrying you to the top of the class, it’s just raising the average score. And with a bell curve, that’s still a ‘C’.
Studying, as a tactic, should be implemented late in the game when you realize it may be your final solution. So put your books aside and start focusing on the people in your class.
Tip #2: Form a Study Group
Attend study groups solely to receive help and feign ignorance when asked to reciprocate. You want to raise your score without raising anyone else’s.
People enjoy helping others that do not fully understand concepts. They may even be aware that they are losing their own valuable study time, but they feel better at night knowing they did not ignore someone struggling. Whether you know the material or not, be the most struggling classmate and brighten their day while stealing their time for academics.
If they are struggling, start repeating what they are saying about the problem and occasionally say “so…” while allowing them to finish your sentence with the real information. This way, they feel like you both worked out the solution, and they’ll be more motivated to help you in the future.
Tip #3: Coddle the Failures
After the first midterm, many students who scored below average will be tempted to drop the course. Don’t let them! This is absolutely the most important class subgroup.
Reassure them that things will be okay, that they will pass the class (they won’t); do whatever needs to be done to ensure they remain in the class.
These are no longer classmates—they are friends. Have them take you out to dinner or buy you a drink for helping them out with homework (Whoops! Were those answers wrong?!).
Tip #4: Terrorize the Smart Kids
There is always that one student that does way better than everyone else. He probably doesn’t go to your study group, might not even go to lecture. He was born with all the necessary knowledge.
Get him out! Tell him he is too good for this class, he should petition to skip directly to the PhD program.
Didn’t work? No problem! Become buddies with his next door neighbors. Arrange bands to play at their house on weeknights, throw huge parties. Enlist your failure friends to participate in these parties since they aren’t studying anyway. Make sure the only time he has available to sleep is during the exam itself.
Be ruthless! THIS IS YOUR CURVE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT! Order him a pizza delivery for every five minutes the night before a test. Call pretending to be the hospital saying his dad had a heart attack.
Are there two smart kids? Convince one to kill the other then have the murderer arrested.
You can do this.
Tip #5: Always Be Vigilant
The bell-curved class is a dog-eat-dog world. All your average classmates are doing the same things. Sound proof your room, double check that you locked the door, and always sleep with one eye open.
Surviving a bell curved class is a psychological war, so you can’t afford to let your guard down.