The Bright Side of Exams-Tom

Exams. They are something all of us as students have to deal with, and something most of us never like to do. They are a lot of work and a lot of stress, mostly because they are often a huge percentage of our final grades. And of course, we normally have to take them back-to-back, which only makes the whole experience that much worse.

As some of you may know, as part of my independent, I am working through an online class on game theory. The class is a collection of taped lectures of a real game theory class at Yale. This week I have my midterm exam coming up. Since it is still close to Thanksgiving, I decided to look on the bright side. I am thankful that I don’t need to take midterm during Westtown’s exam week, when I would have to study for it along with five other exams. Instead, I get to study during my first week back from a break, when my classes are less intense because they are slowly starting to ramp back into full speed.

Another plus is that I have actually been taking copious amounts of notes for once. Who would have guessed that thorough note taking would be quite helpful in knowing how every concept works both backwards and forwards? And that’s not a joke; I actually need to be able to work backwards with most of the game theory concepts I have learned. But, studying has also given me the chance for reflection, and it’s nice to realize the broad scope of new topics I’ve learned in just a few months.

But, even though I am being positive about my midterm, I still need to deal with the nerves of the whole thing, which is often the worst part. Over the break, I was watching lectures that are actually after the midterm, so that I could work ahead. The professor mentioned the mean of the class was 62 points of out the maximum 75. So the average in a class of Yale students was an 82%, which is a really reassuring thought. Hearing this makes me want to do well on the exam because it would be a bit of an ego boost if I end up outperforming the average Yale student.  And who doesn’t like a small self-esteem bump every once in awhile?

Anyway, I should be taking the exam sometime shortly after posting this blog. Hopefully it will go well. Soon I’ll have the relief of finishing it, mixed with a bit of dread until I finish grading it. But, on the bright side, all the studying just helped further my understanding of Nash Equilibrium, mixed strategies, and evolutionary stability.

Thanks for reading.


For anyone who wants to follow their own interest in game theory, here are a few resources:

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8 thoughts on “The Bright Side of Exams-Tom

  1. tkbarnet Post author

    Thanks. It mainly is a combination of I did a lot of work over break since I knew I would have stuff once school started and putting in time during the weekends to get ahead for the upcoming week.

  2. yanwenxu

    It’s really a boost to see your post about the “bright side” of exams before all mid-term exams, exploring the different side that students don’t usually pay attention to. Hope you do great on your exams and this year’s study. > <

  3. riadas99

    It’s great that you have a positive mindset going into exams, but I am curious, what is it about looking at the positive side of exams and having a more positive outlook that is related to game theory specifically?

  4. dexcoengilbert

    Are there any interesting games or matrices that have been set up revolving exam taking strategies? That seems like something that could be fascinating to look at.

  5. margaretjhaviland

    I am interested in Dex’s question. Given that you are moving into a study of multiple outcomes in Game Theory and the matrix question of an entire class of Yale students taking an exam, what is the best possible choice for a student taking a Yale exam? Is it to kill themselves studying for an A or is it in everyone’s interest to work hard enough for a B and then let the curve take care of the rest?

    1. tkbarnet Post author

      The correct answer would be to have everyone kill themselves studying for A, since that would be the Nash Equilibrium, since if people relied on the curve, then it would always be better to study more then everyone else.

  6. kevinwang11

    Hi Tom, very interesting reply to Dex’s and T. Margaret’s question. I would never have linked game theory to exam-taking strategies. Would game theory apply to exam-MAKING? If so, how?

    Hope you did well on the exam!


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