# How to deal with failing a class?

//Sorry if this sounds a little ranty, but I feel like I have to get this off my chest.

Pretty sure I failed my Experimental Design midterm exam, like maybe low 30s. The homework was always calculation and some concept based questions with the occasional proof. However, the midterm that I had yesterday was entirely proof based and tested the most abstract details of what we learned. I feel like it was more memorization of formulas/proofs rather than testing us how to analyze the ANOVAs and think about the data that we have.

I remember one question on replicated Latin Square designs where we were asked to state the cases of how it can be replicated and generate an ANOVA table for one of those cases, which is essentially memorizing how the ANOVA table changes when you replicate the design. One question on constructing a BIBD design and testing if it exists. Another was a proof of the pairwise comparisons confidence interval for the difference of two means. A 4th was proving that Mean Square Error in an unbiased estimator of sigma-squared-tau in the random factor model. The last was a proof of something relating to orthogonal contrasts and Scheffe’s method, I forget.

This is in grad school, so I understand that we are expected to be mathematically mature and at a higher level of educational rigor, but testing on just some abstract details doesn’t help anyone. Make the test balanced so that people that aren’t good at proofs can at least pass the class with a C or something. We have students from many disciplines, including Biology, Environmental Science, Math, Statistics, etc… It’s not fair to assume that we’re all very good at mathematics. I feel like the professor will quietly judge/shame me for getting a low score once we get our scores next week.

I pretty much studied 2hrs/day, more on the weekends for the past 2 weeks just to prepare for this exam. I feel like shit knowing that I studied so much and the end result is still potential failure. Makes me wonder what other people are doing to prepare and study. Maybe I’m not focusing enough on the mathematical technicalities, idk.

But yeah, that’s my major concern, that the educational system prevents people from advancing in life because some professors are focused on making very difficult tests. Maybe I’m just dumb and don’t belong in grad school.

submitted by Nevin Manimala Nevin Manimala /u/brotherazrael