The Modern Art of Brain Puking

Photo by Collin Harvey
Photo by Collin Harvey

‘Nona Miss’, Guest Writer

   I am in class, and the teacher tells me to log into moodle and find the quiz. I open it up and see that all of the questions are matching. Perfect.

   I had just read the chapter before class. I hadn’t even had time to study the terms much–But I already knew I was going to ace this quiz. How did I know? Because I had become a master of the technique commonly known as “brain puking.”

   The idea behind “brain puking” is simple. All you have to do is learn a vast amount of data and remember it for a short time and then forget it immediately after you are tested to make room for the new stuff. I had perfected it in highschool, and so far it has been incredibly helpful in college.

   But there is a problem. I had grown up hearing that college was supposed to be where you actually learn stuff, not just hold it for a few days and then spew it over a quiz, test or paper. But, so far, I have not seen much of that in the case of myself or my classmates. Sure, there are the few odd courses where, by their nature, you can’t really “brain puke,” where you actually are doing stuff. But aside from that, every other class has a really handy way of judging your brain puking skills: testing.

    I am not talking about seeing whether your work is adequate. I am talking about the multiple choice, matching, short and long answer question tests. While not everybody has perfected “brain puking,” the teachers are certainly training us to get better at it. And I realize that the temptations for teachers are immense. Short answer questions are some of the easiest things to grade on earth. Multiple choice and true-false questions takes that ease to a new level. And with technology contributing, these questions are increasingly becoming more and more frequent on tests. One perfect example is scantron which grades tests and quizzes nearly instantly. But it only works if the answers are in a multiple choice format.

   So what does this mean for us students? School becomes easier in some ways because we are having to do less critical thinking and more logic thinking. On tests we don’t have to know why an answer is right; we just need to know which answer is right. But what does that mean for the graduates? It means that the real world will be a very different place from college, and I am not talking about the cafeteria food. In the real world, the answers are not given to us. We will have to figure out the answers and why the answers are correct ourselves. We may still be given questions about which answer is best, but more often than not we will be asked to come up with the correct answer, not choose it.

   So keep working hard in the classes that build your critical thinking skills, otherwise the real world is going to be a really hard place. Now if you will excuse me, I need to gorge on a chapter and then puke all over a quiz.