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Studying For Finals by Snively '11

Study study study study study

May 17, 2008

This is it, finals are in two days. One of the things that scared me most about MIT were MIT Finals. I’ve already been through one round of them (though that didn’t really count because it was P/NR and I got an average final grade of 17%) and am about to be thrown into another.

Finals at MIT are just like finals anywhere else, cumulative and difficult. How does one go about studying? The general recipe is to just lock yourself in a nice room and do nothing but work. That’s my plan for the day, studying 2.001 for my final on Tuesday.

For that final we get 4 pages of notes, front and back (it really doesn’t help as much as you think it might, it’s a problem solving course) and have 5 (or is it 6?) questions to answer in three hours. Goodie! I’ve decided to catalogue my studying experience for you today so that you can get a sense of what you may get to go through exactly one year from now. That’s what the blogs are for, right? A real look into student life? Well, here’s my “real look” at this moment in time:

12:00 PM –> Food Break!

2:10 PM –> Statically indeterminate structures and projection! I really don’t like this stuff, I can never figure out when I should use small angle approximation or when I actually need to use trig.

My study strategy at this point is to just copy example problems out of my notes and try to solve them instead of copying the solutions, that way I have something to look at if I get stuck. This is what my copying looks like now:

2:49 PM: Current Music: The Ghost of Stephen Foster by the Squirrel Nut Zippers

4:13 PM
Alright, I can’t do this anymore. I’m heading back to the dorm.

I’ll be updating throughout the course of the day so come check in on me and see how I’m doing.

66 responses to “Studying For Finals”

  1. First?!

    Have a great day studying, Mr. Snively.
    Today is the big push.
    Oh – and stay off the Internet – no surfing, right?

    (is this First thing stupid, or what?)

  2. Yuzhi '12 says:

    Good Luck!!
    Looking forward to read about the rest of your day.

    Btw, where are you studying from?

  3. Snively says:

    I’m studying from the student center reading room

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shame on you, no food allowed in there…

  5. Snively says:

    I ate in Cambridge Grill!

  6. Shamarah says:

    yummm cambridge grill. i miss the grilled cheese -_-

  7. Becca says:

    What classes are you taking this semester?

  8. Isshak says:

    Good luck with your finals ! I have the french baccalaureat coming soon…
    Btwm jsut as a random note, you are starting to interest me in being course 2, thanks a lot ! Now I really don’t know what to major in…^^’

  9. Snively says:

    @Becca
    18.03 — DiffEQ
    8.02 — Physics E&M
    2.001 — Introduction to Mechanics and Materials
    2.00b — Toy Product Design
    MAS.111 — Introduction to doing research in Media Arts and Sciences

  10. Oasis '11 says:

    So today is my “studying day” too, except I just woke up and half of my day’s gone. harhar.

  11. Becca says:

    The Squirrel Nut Zippers are amazing. I always wanted to play the chandelier along with my bari.

    Did you take both chem and bio last semester, or are you taking one late, or did you get credit for it?

  12. Snively says:

    @Becca
    I’m thinking of taking Bio first semester of junior year. I just took 3.091 last semester.

  13. Shamarah says:

    wait, you took 3.091?
    what’s that like? i’m not sure if i should do it, but i want to major in materials sci so it would make sense, right? :D

  14. Bethan says:

    Aha, Squirrel Nut Zippers are amazing, they were my study music of choice for physics today. ^^

    Good luck with the studying, Snively!

  15. Piper says:

    Shamarah – if you want to major in something like 3 or 6 or something not really chem/bio related, then 3.091 is fine. People run into trouble when they try to go into 5/7/10/20 with 3.091 – still doable, but 5.11x would be better.

  16. las1 says:

    LOVE Squirrel Nut Zippers…have a couple of their CD’s! Good luck studying! smile

  17. Danny '12 says:

    Good luck dude. Seriously, good luck.

  18. Zaira '11 says:

    @ Samarah
    You should definitely take 3.091. It’s probably one of the coolest classes I took this year. I learned a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. It’s very interesting, especially if you’re into material science or engineering in general.

  19. Becca says:

    Is it unusual to split up those GIRs? Is there any help before picking classes for freshman year?

  20. '11 says:

    Sometimes taking biology your freshman year can be a good thing, even if you’re not planning to major in 7/10B/20. I’ll be honest with you, I never liked biology in high school. I decided to take 7.013 this semester just to get that GIR out of the way. Funny thing is, I love it now. Yes, I love biology. It totally changed my perspective, and now I’m even planning to minor in 20.

    You never know. You might end up finding your passion in a GIR.

  21. Tanmay '12 says:

    I spent 20 hours in the examination hall for my high school finals, which continued for 18 days. I hate finals for their length…

    And I often wonder who was the first person on MIT blogs to say “First”… the answer is hidden somewhere in those archives. smile

  22. Paul says:

    @Becca: Not taking biology freshman year is very common (unless you’re going to be something like Course 7 – biology; Course 10B – biochemical engineering; or Course 20 – bioengineering)

    I plan on writing a “A Guide to the GIRs,” and perhaps some of my fellow bloggers have similar plans. You can also get plenty of help from other students, from publications like How to Get Around MIT, and from your freshman advisor.

  23. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Paul –

    IMO, you should write your “Guide to Residences” first. haha.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a post deleted from the home page. What happened to the Ring Committee post?

  25. Anonymous says:

    and I’ve visited the blogs for more than 3 years.

  26. Ben says:

    @ Anonymous

    I asked Snively to remove it until we’d had a chance to talk about it, and he graciously agreed to do so. The problem with the post was that it was undoubtedly going to become a heated debate between current students and other current students, and wasn’t really going to serve prospective students, the target audience of this site. I support Snively 100% in wanting to have that discussion, but I just don’t think this is the place to do it, considering the mission of the Admissions blogs.

    -B

  27. Anonymous says:

    do you visit often enough to see every single post before they get deleted?
    Someone probably deleted it for its controversies.

  28. Star says:

    So some of you may have noticed that Snively’s most recent entry was deleted. I’m not going to comment on the contents of the entry, but I do want to mention one thing that I feel really strongly about. In the comments, someone posted that the bloggers shouldn’t be posting negative blogs because they are “getting paid to make MIT look good”. That is so wrong; I don’t even know where to start.

    First of all, I’ve read blogs for other universities that were like that, students saying only amazing things about the school. And guess what. I thought they were the dumbest things I’ve ever read. MIT applicants aren’t stupid. We know that there are times when students hate the university they go to almost as much as they love it. IHTFP, right? So why shield us from that in the blogs? Tell us the truth, and trust us to see the good in the school. Let us really understand what goes on there. Otherwise, don’t blog at all, because I definitely don’t want to be lied to.

    Some of my favourite posts are ones about the negatives at MIT, because it shows what life is really like there. If we don’t see when stuff is wrong, then how are we supposed to understand how amazing it is when it’s right?

    Basically, I think censorship is completely wrong, especially on a site designed to give us accurate information about the place we are going to be spending the next four years at. I know MIT isn’t perfect, no school is, and hearing about the imperfections is not going to make me love MIT any less. Hearing the truth though, hearing about student’s struggles and problems, and about how they solve them, or attempt to solve them, will make me love the school even more.

    So Snively, thanks for giving us the truth through these blogs, and thanks for making so many students fall in love with the school.

  29. Star says:

    Also, good luck studying for finals smile

  30. Oasis '11 says:

    “In the comments, someone posted that the bloggers shouldn’t be posting negative blogs because they are “getting paid to make MIT look good”.”

    I can’t believe someone commented like that. We’re often criticized for the exact opposite – we’re posting TOO MANY positive blogs and not enough negative ones, essentially turning into “MIT cheerleaders,” as one poster on CC had graciously labeled us as.

  31. Oasis '11 says:

    ps. there should be a “that” before “we’re posting”.

  32. Kelly says:

    Bring back Snively’s last blog!
    I think it does serve a purpose to prospective students like me by giving us a taste of the controversies taking place on MIT’s campus right now.

  33. Ben says:

    @ Star

    I couldn’t agree with you more, which is why in 2500 entries, I’ve never asked anyone to remove a post before.

    This situation was a bit different, however. It’s something that needs to be worked out between current students and then translated to the web (whether positively or negatively), not something that needs to be worked out in real time on the Admissions site. It’s true that we encourage our bloggers to write about the negative along with the positive – it’s what gives us credibility. But allowing the blogs to become a full-on soapbox is a slippery slope, and one that we can’t go down.

    There are places for that sort of thing (and MIT students can have a lot of fun with that stuff! Just ask Snively about some of the dorm list flame wars…) but this site isn’t one of those places. People who don’t yet live/breathe/eat/sleep MIT and its culture don’t have all of the context/perspective needed to process some of what gets said. It has nothing to do with intelligence – of course I know how smart prefrosh are. grin

    Hope I’m making at least some sense, and thanks for your understanding…

  34. Anonymous says:

    I can see why the Admissions Office decided to delete the entry. The whole Ring Committee spam wars are getting quite intense, and some people are just looking for different venues to express their opinion on the subject. It would overflow the blogs with unrelated material.

    @Anonymous2,
    As pathetic as it might sound, I have visited these blogs at least 3 times a day since I was a high school sophomore, and I’m currently a freshman at MIT. I like reading about the MIT experience directly from the students perspective, and not from the campus newspapers. So yeah, I probably visit the site often enough to see most entries a short time after they are posted.

  35. Piper says:

    1) Getting all GIRs done freshman year = awesome. Trust me, you don’t want to be a junior or senior taking… 7.012, 5.111, whatever. You won’t like it and you’ll feel it’s a waste of time since you’re well into your major, and your motivation will be low. (I know a senior in 5.111 and she – while doing perfectly fine – does not like it.)

    2) You can minor in 20?

    3) I have always liked the honesty of the blogs. If they painted sunshine and puppies all the time, it would look like (and be) a load of BS. The fact that they can be *honest* about MIT’s bad sides and STILL love the place makes it worth it.
    3b) Being that the blogs have a history of being honest about all aspects, I don’t see the removable of the blog as any sort of dishonesty. Ben’s right, it was turning into an extension of a flame war for current students, not information for prospective students. I’m sad to the see the entry go down, but I do see good reason.

    4) I love flame wars. Back to email!

  36. Ben says:

    For the record, I didn’t remove the entry – I asked Snively if he would consider doing so. I’d never just cut someone’s post without making the author a part of the decision…

  37. Caroline '11 says:

    ben, i didn’t see the post, but i think removing it WAS a good idea. however, there definitely needs to be a post after it all gets sorted out (and hopefully it will, in a way that almost everyone won’t be unhappy with.)

    snively, i wish i coulda seen it. it’s so awesome to see something i helped start grow to more and more venues… =)
    anyways, good luck with finals.

  38. Caroline '11 says:

    …and holy crap that’s definitely my dad who got first post.

  39. Piper says:

    @Ben – Didn’t mean to imply you had =)

    @Caroline – LOL.

  40. '11 says:

    @ Piper
    Yes, you can minor in 20. You can choose either Biomedical Engineering or Toxicology and Environmental Health.

    Here’s the link. http://web.mit.edu/be/education/ugrad-minor.htm

  41. Random question about 3.091…if I want to major in 8, but I might want to minor in materials science or something like that, should I take it? The stuff in 3.091 seems really interesting, but I don’t really want to sacrifice my chem knowledge since it’s pretty relevant for physics, and I find it interesting…would I still have an ok background in chem if I choose 3.091 instead of 5.111?

  42. DanN says:

    Do you know that the name of the band “Squirrel Nut Zippers” has Cambridge roots? An MIT neighbor.

  43. Zaira '11 says:

    3.091 IS a chemistry class. Half of the concepts it covers are the same as 5.111. It just focuses more on the application of these concepts on actual solid-state materials.

    3.091 must cover the principles of chemistry to satisfy the GIR in chemistry.

  44. '11 says:

    @ Judith:

    In the long run, it probably wouldn’t matter, because 3.091 just touches upon some materials topics, and a good portion of the course is indeed focused on chemistry. Thus, if you minor in course 3, you probably won’t miss out on much. However, taking 3.091 *may* help you decide if you like materials science or not. I would even say that course 3 has more relevant topics to physics than course 5. There’s a reason why Materials Science is called Applied Physics in other schools.

    Still, taking 5.111 just because you’re planning to major in course 8 is something I haven’t heard of before. So far, I haven’t had to recall much chem knowledge for physics aside from going like, “Wave equation? Hey, that was mentioned in 3.091 once!” and the such. The physics classes themselves should be quite good (unless you’re unlucky and stuck with a bad prof, which I’m fairly certain will not be the case for at least 8.012 and 8.022).

    Bottom line is, don’t worry about “sacrificing your chem knowledge” for physics. Take whichever class interests you more.

  45. Haha ok thanks Zaira and ’11, that makes sense, I was just thinking about it since I didn’t know how much chem 3.091 focused on. I guess since it’s a GIR though, they can’t really skip much stuff raspberry
    I think I’ll take 3.091 since the topics covered seem pretty fun…

  46. Piper says:

    OH, BME. OK, life makes sense again =D

  47. @ freshman ’12
    You can pretty much get most of your GIRs done by the end of freshman year. Your advisor will work with you to figure that out. However, don’t feel pressured to finish everything as soon as possible. If you don’t have a strong background in calculus, you might have to take 18.01 in the fall and 18.02 in the spring, leaving 18.03 for your sophomore year. Unless you want to double up 18.02 and 18.03 at the same time, which is fine, but, seriously, TWO math classes!?

    If you have really strong background in any subject, you might consider testing out. However, I must warn you that these tests are extremely difficult and only a handful of students pass them.

    Also, there is no way you can finish your HASS-D requirements your freshman year. You are required to complete 3 HASS-D classes, and I believe you won’t get credit for these classes until you 1) pass the FEE, or 2)pass a CI-HW class. I believe that’s how it works, but I’m not completely sure. The HASS system remains to be a mystery to most MIT freshmen.

    The schedule that you showed on your post looks a lot like mine, so it should work out. Remember, though, that you should keep your options open. MIT offers many really cool classes that you might want to take instead of a GIR that is not required for your major. Explore.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I think Snively’s deleted post had a good point about a problem that could arise at any school…

    (btw, if you didn’t see it, it happens to be cached in a google search…)

  49. Anonymous says:

    Better yet, go to Snively’s blogspot.

  50. Anonymous says:

    @ Ben,
    I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean any disrespect with my comment. I do understand your motivation in asking Snively to remove the post, but I also understand his motivation in posting. I do get that we don’t know everything though, and it is up to you guys to decide what is appropriate for this kind of a website.

    Honestly, I wrote my comment as a response to the other post, specifically the comment I mentioned, and when the post was removed I felt like the comment was important so I reposted it here.

  51. nakoruru says:

    1.) First off, I want to say, “Congrats Snively!” You are the first one ever to have a post deleted! WOOT FIRST!

    2.) I noticed your schedule included 2 Course 2 classes. Are you planning on declaring Mech.E as your major?

    3.) For those who asked about how to finish GIRs your freshman year, one thing you can do is this…

    Boston University has a summer term, where you can take 2 college credit classes. It’s pricey ($2K/class), but distinctly a way for you to transfer credits into MIT before you even start your Freshman year, or the summer after your freshman year (Hence, 2 summers of courses before you hit your sophomore year at MIT). Harvard University also offers a summer term.

    As an example, I am going to be taking BU’s CAS LJ 111 and 112 (Japanese I and II) this summer, to transfer to effectively replace MIT’s 21F.501 and 21F.502.

    Harvard’s multivariable calculus class MATH S-21a can be used to replace MIT’s 18.02 requirement (I having checked with the Course 18 department’s transfer-credit coordinator).

    I kind of give up my summers, but hey, I like the idea of graduating faster. I suppose some people could use the summers to allow themselves lighter loads over the normal semesters (taking maybe 36 units, rather than the usual 48 – 54).

    Before enrolling in college classes at other schools, do check with the appropriate MIT department regarding possibility of credit transfer. MIT’s Course 8 (Physics) department, for example, does not accept transfer credit from other schools.

    But, if you want to try to finish your GIRs quick, classes over the summer can help fill that bill.

  52. '11 says:

    1.) I find these blogs to be slightly rainbow-y but whatever… the truth of the matter is these blogs were desined to “sell” the school to prospectives.

    2.) 3.091 is a horrible idea if you’re planning on majoring in anything related to chem. i’m taking 5.12 (orgo 1) and at the beginning of term, i found that the students who took 3.091 were definitely at a disadvantage when compared to those who took 5.111/5.112.

  53. Star says:

    Sorry, Anonymous above was me…

  54. Dorothy says:

    Otter and Beaver part ways at the level of their Order: otter is Carnivora and beaver is Rodentia
    But they are both cute smile

  55. Sam says:

    FOR THE RECORD, Snivs is not the first censored entry. One time I made Ben Jones remove an entry that showed someone inside the Tim The Beaver costume without the head on, because I was afraid that it would ruin the illusion of Tim The Beaver and traumatize little children. Also because deep down in my heart, I still believe that Tim The Beaver is an actual beaver. And that he knows my name.

  56. Anonymous says:

    @nakoruru
    Snively already declared 2A, Mech E. with emphasis on some thing like product management.

  57. Snively says:

    *breaks from studying*
    Yeah, I declared a little less than a month ago. I’m doing 2A, Mechanical Engineering with Product Development.

    As for this whole ring committee mess, it’ll hopefully be sorted out on Thursday afternoon. I’m going to stay off these blogs until then and let some heat die down. I’ll be posting to my personal blog in the meantime:

    http://snively.blogspot.com

  58. Isshak says:

    Wait, Tim is not an actual beaver ? Noooooooooo! Tell me you’re joking Sam! It’s a nightmare and I am going to wake up!!! Tiiiiiim!

  59. Piper says:

    What’s the difference between a beaver and an otter?

    My brain dies at 4am.

  60. Piper says:

    The tail, I bet it’s the tail.

  61. Lauren '12 says:

    Wow Snively! First blogger to have an entry removed! You should get a cookie or a star or something tongue laugh

  62. freshman '12 says:

    well putting aside the whole deleted post thing, i was wondering if someone could tell me how you get all your GIRs done your freshman year
    is it like
    sem1: physics, chemistry, math, english
    and
    sem2: physics, biology, math, english (or hass-d or whatever)

  63. Judy '12 says:

    @ Piper

    I think it’s both the tail and the facial features or something. Besides, some otters can live in the bay. Beavers only live in freshwater territory smile

    and OMG… Tim got “de-heade” OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    *traumatized for life* XD

  64. (in response to your entry…)
    Wow, someone seems a bit bitter and jaded. At least it’s all over now, no?
    …all part of the process of shedding one’s froshliness..

  65. Krishanu says:

    Hello!!! It’s Krishanu from India and I really wanted to speak to someone from mit. Hopefully u r one I want to know everything from how do u get admission and fees and financial aid if provided and how is ur study routines and how to prepare for admission tests and a whole bunch of things How cool is life there? If u get time after ur studies please post me without much ado. My love and best wishes for the finals!