Up One Level - Issue #5
It has come to our attention that the Up One Level issues generally provide information that has little relevance to life in the qualification-obsessed, pragmatic-thinking, value-added society that is Singapore. In order to provide a better service to you, our much appreciated readers, the High Level Project proudly unveils Issue #5 of our much-heralded self-improvement column*:
Surf the Curve
If you are one of the many undergraduates that we believe make up our readership, then this issue will be of much interest.
As you already know by now, NUS, and many other excellent institutions of higher learning, grades its students on a bell curve. In layman's terms, that means that it grades its students on a bell curve. Surf the Curve refers to a HL tactic to ensure that you get a fair grade in whatever class you choose to take in any semester, without worrying about such annoying things like studying, or putting in effort.
The central tenet of Surf the Curve can be elucidated thus:
Never take a class which is attended primarily by the high-flyers (not to be confused with High Levels)
Now fully cognizant to the above, one can understand how such a tactic cannot but ensure a better grade, seeing as to how the bell curve recognizes relative performance rather than the absolute old-school marks=grade system we all love to hate. Be assured, it is neither cheating nor illegal, and at most it can be seen as a little unsportsmanlike, but then again, since when is academics athletics?
The morally-upright and high-flyers among you will protest, no doubt. Well... boo hoo.
We anticipate that the rest of you most likely feel that there are too many difficulties in executing Surf the Curve tactics for it to be a viable option. This next section irons out the most common difficulties, in the order in which one is likely to encounter them:
1:Identifying the high-flyers
Easy. They're the ones not putting in the requisite 4 hours-per-day in the NUS Arts Canteen. Be aware, there are some hustlers who do put in the canteen hours, but in reality, are the types you should avoid like the plague, with regards to class selection. Examples include Tay-Tarik, a self-confessed "shy and retiring type" who nevertheless drops 5 syllable words at the drop of a hat, and in all likelihood will own your ass at Text Twist and Scrabble.
2:Falling behind post-midterms due to overconfidence after succesfully avoiding the high-flyers
A little burst of effort here will suffice. Read the introduction and conclusion of a randomly chosen reading. Buy a pen or two. Find out professor's name. Before you know it, you will feel the exhilaration of riding on the right side of the curve again.
3:Falling even further behind when pt. 2 is discovered to be overrated
Some predatory thinking can do wonders. Volunteer to "help" a high-flyer hand in that 30% term paper. Be creative.
4:Discovering that after missing all your deadlines and failing that midterm, it is now mathematically impossible for you to pass the course.
This is a risk all Curve-Surfers have to take. Surfing is a risky sport, and if one cannot maintain balance, a wipeout will ensue, resulting in ignominous floundering and panicking, and finally resurfacing where one started. Or worse.
*an excellent example of Own Self Say Own Self, discussed earlier