The following is by one of the current undergraduate tutors for MAM1000W, Nthabiseng Machethe, who has been providing me with extremely useful feedback and her thoughts on the course from the perspective of a recent student of it. She wrote this to me after a lot of students were disappointed with their marks from the last test.
This is based on my perspective as a student. I always plan to attend lectures, however as the work load increases and exhaustion kicks in, it is difficult to keep up with the plan.
It is easy to think of the things one may want (like excelling in MAM1000W) but realistically, it is hard to achieve them. In most instances, you find that students are studying a certain concept with a short term vision (passing a test), which can give one instant gratification but may not sustain in the long run (exam). Hence, one tends to quarrel about the time spent studying for the test not equating to the marks. Of which if less time is spent, the marks will not improve in any way.
The best way to learn is through struggle. One gets to learn a lot of things in life through the hardship experienced. Same analogy applies in studies as well. Failing to answer difficult questions shows one the area of improvement. If one does not do well in a test, s/he has to learn what needs to be done to pass, e.g. collecting the test scripts and working through the problems all over again. The problem comes when one does not learn the importance of attending lectures and solving more problems after realizing the lack of skills required to pass.
Time might be raised as an issue, but contemplating about the difficulty of a test consumes as equal time as attending lectures and doing the tutorials. The only difference is that one is better than the other. At the end of the day, it does not matter the time it takes one to complete a particular problem but rather qualities that are learnt. In some cases, students are more focused on completing to study for a test rather than learning.
At the end of the day is all about determination of which “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink it”. Working hard is the key.