Published Sep 22, 2004

Or two weeks, more like — last Monday’s Microeconomics midterm plus yesterday’s Accounting midterm and today’s Strategy final. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s two entire weekends of studying for classes that I’m not sure I really get, plus last night studying for a class that I thought I got real good but maybe I’m not so sure after that final.

Econ wasn’t that bad. I knew I didn’t understand most of what was going on so I kicked my ass studying in a really systematic way:

  • Making a list, and then flash cards, of all the formulae described in the chapters in question
  • Making outlines out of the parts of the chapters in question that I highlighted
  • Doing a few strategic problems and making some graphs

The result? I think I did better than I expected. Not great, but within a standard deviation of the mean.

Accounting was awful. I though I understood it, I’d been giving people advice on it for weeks — good advice too, from what they said — but when I got a copy of last year’s test from the prof, I couldn’t even start to figure out how to do about half of the problems! So I shut myself up for an entire weekend and made ouutlines of every chapter. Then I tried the practice test again; couldn’t start about half of the problems!

So Monday night was pretty stressful, although I managed to keep well short of panic. For a change, I did problems in the book; actually, that worked pretty darned well. After a few hours of that, I was able to begin to approach the practice test. But I was also out of time and had to go to bed. In the morning, I studied the answer key to the practice test, and then took the test itself; not so bad, at the end. I’m not sure how many questions I got right, but I had an idea of how to approach all of them. So, yay partial credit, I hope. Certainly better than I’d hoped.

After Accounting, it was hard to get hyped about Strategy. I’ve been strong in that class so far and didn’t feel worried at all. I read the case, on McDonald’s, and the S&P report on the restaurant industry. I made a five forces model and a value chain for McDonalds. I took notes on the case and reviewed some of the supplemental readings.

And then the test completely threw me for a loop. Multiple choices? Not once during class had we had to make hard, cut-and-dry determinations, so this format was quite a surprise. Other questions were easier to approach but most of them — even the short answers — could have been a full essay. I was fine on all of this section except for one essay, which asked how the four threats to sustainability affected McDonalds. The four threats to whatsit now? I managed to remember two of the threats (slack, hold-up), and made up two more, one of which was half right (the answer is “imitators” and “substitutes”). But I think I did OK in the end.

I’m trying not to worry; you know my new watchword: “within one standard deviation of the mean.”