I just finished the final exam for 6.00x (Intro to CS and Programming), the MITx course I was taking in the fall. I have to admit that my stamina took a nosedive near the end of this course.
It’s really hard to keep up coursework over the holidays, and some hiccups in the course administration — mostly delays in getting new assignments posted — messed up my rhythm. So I put off doing the final problem set and watching the last couple sets of lectures until last week. And I have to admit something possibly scandalous: I didn’t bother finishing the final exam.
- I wasn’t taking this course to prove anything to anyone. I wanted to learn, and I did learn (a lot!). Exams are mainly for checking progress and proving results, and that wasn’t as important to me.
- I already know I will be getting the course certificate. My grades so far have been nearly perfect, and I think I could have even passed without the final exam. As it is, I think I will finish with more than 80%, which is an A for this course. I’m not sure, though, and that isn’t so important to me.
- By skipping the rest of the exam, I have time to go back and work on an optional assignment that I had skipped. I wanted to focus on doing the required work to get me to the exam, but it turns out that I’m less interested in the final grade and more interested in solidifying those concepts we covered near the end of the course.
It’s hard for even me to believe, but I finally got over my “gotta get good grades” syndrome and became a student interested in learning for the sake of learning! Getting good grades was fairly easy for me when I was younger, so I made that a primary measure of how well I did in school. (It wasn’t entirely a bad idea — it does sound good to be able to say that I graduated at the top of my college class!) And if I had a little more free time right now, I might try a little harder for that grade. But if I have to choose between a higher grade and the time to learn the material a little better … I’ll pick learning.
Plus, now I can focus on to the Programming Languages course that just started on Coursera!