The Wrong Way We Learn

During the week, I spoke with someone who said he had to leave his house, lodge in a hotel for 2 weeks so he could study for his Masters exams in UNILAG.

And for the first time, despite the fact that this is what the educational system has taught us to do, I realized that there is no way anyone can learn that way.

The way learning works is that throughout the 4 months of a semester that you are a taking a course, you should know enough to pass tests and then the final exam. From attending the classes, taking notes, doing assignments, getting involved in practicals and group discussion, you should have immersed yourself enough that you would not need to go to SLT all-night for 3 days prior to your exams.

And the evidence that we do not learn the way we have been told to learn shows immediately the exam is over. Despite reading for most of the 72 hours prior to an exam, a mere 72 hours after and you’d fail if you write the exam again.

Even worse, the way exams are conducted imply that people would not learn that way. Experienced exam takers know exactly how to pass exams.

And it’s a simple formula: Study the lecturer. Learn where his bias tilt towards. If he’s been taking that course longer than 5 years, then a tried and tested method of passing even if you have only 24 hours to the exam is to take his past exam questions and study them like your life depends on them. There is not a single lecturer I know of who has been taking a course for that long who doesn’t regurgitate questions.

But that’s not how to learn. A student in 2050 cannot wish to learn about COVID-19 of 2020 and rely on only lecture notes and past questions of a professor. Really learning about it entails reading varied books written about this virus from China. Unfortunately, if that student does that in any school in the world, he is likely sure not to get the top scores because if his professor is a Trump or Xi fan, giving the lecturer a holistic view of what happened instead of a narrowly-defined viewpoint the lecturer wants will not give him the full marks.

Unfortunately, grades is how students are judged, not their understanding of the subject. The person who will understand a subject would therefore have to learn outside of the school system and allow the real world test his understanding through market feedbacks.

The interesting dimensional twist to this is that once a person hacks the system to get great grades without really understanding the subject, the world overwhelmingly presents the person with opportunities in the market to then actually understand the subject.

Haha…the way of the world.




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'Tosin Adeoti

'Tosin Adeoti

Reader. Thinker. Entrepreneur (Founder at Email:

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