I took my first quiz for Sociology 101 last night. I didn’t learn about the quiz until Tuesday, so I spent the 48 hours between the two classes studying my ass off, trying to get the vocabulary down and remember the accomplishments of the dozen or so sociologists that were mentioned in Chapter 1. I depended on the textbook entirely since I had no notes, as we hadn’t actually had a lecture on sociology yet; all we went over in the first class was the syllabus. I was nervous, naturally, and yesterday I couldn’t wait to just get it over with. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried, because I studied so hard, and I breezed right through the 25 multiple choice questions with no problem.
Just kidding. I needn’t have worried, and I shouldn’t have stressed myself studying so hard, because I had no chance of passing that quiz anyway.
We took our quizzes online, in the computer lab. When she gave us the go-ahead, I braced myself and opened up the quiz session.
The first question stumped me. It didn’t have any resemblance to anything that I had read in Chapter 1. I breathed deeply and immediately skipped it, deciding to go back later.
The second question stumped me. It named people that I had not heard of and referenced studies that I had not read about. I looked around the room quickly, glancing at my classmate’s faces. Everyone looked calm, no one seemed to be as taken aback as I was. I started to wonder if I had the wrong edition of the textbook or if I had studied the wrong chapter.
And so the quiz went. Out of 25 questions, I only truly knew the answers to less than 5 of them. The rest were educated guesses based on my powers of deduction and completely wild eeny-meeny-miney-mo guesses.
The man to my right finished his quiz in less than ten minutes. The woman to my left finished a minute later. I took almost twenty minutes to complete mine, struggling to deduce the best possible answers for all of the questions that I didn’t know. I was one of the last to finish, and I wondered if my classmates had done theirs so quickly because they knew all the answers (but how? why didn’t I know the answers??), or because they’d given up.
Shortly before we were told to go back to the classroom, I made eye contact with the woman next to me and mouthed, What the fuck? Her eyes widened and she shook her head slightly. I don’t know.
A couple of students took another ten or so minutes to finish up, so the rest of my classmates and I spent that time in the classroom (the professor was in the lab with the other students) wondering aloud what the fuck had just happened. As it turns out, everyone had finished so quickly because they just gave up and guessed randomly at each question.
When Professor G returned to the classroom, she started to set up the projector, which happened to be right in front of my desk. With her back to me, she asked the class, “Can anyone tell me what sociology is?”
With my head in my hand and without missing a beat, I said (in the most dejected deadpan voice ever), “The systematic study of the relationship between the individual and society and the consequences of difference.”
Professor G asked, “Did you just read that out of the book?” as she turned around to face me. When she saw that, no, I actually had memorized the definition since it was the first vocabulary word in the first chapter of the text (and the title of the fucking class), she looked pleasantly surprised, applauded me a little, and told me, “Good job!”
“Yeah, that wasn’t on the quiz,” I quipped. The class laughed. The professor went back to her projector and her slideshow, oblivious.
Nobody said anything to Professor G about the quiz, at least not during class. I emailed her this morning asking her what exactly I should be studying and how I can better prepare for the next quiz. I mentioned that the majority of the questions on the quiz were not in the text (at least, not in Chapter 1). She hasn’t responded yet but I hope that she does.
If every quiz and test is going to be like this, I am not going to pass this class. And failing a 101 level Sociology class is really not how I wanted to start my new scholastic career. Hopefully, after grading and realizing that everyone failed horribly, she’ll be more clear in the future about what her expectations are and what materials we should be focusing on.