How to study for exams when you've skipped all your lectures

Everyone knows being academically responsible is lame. Why study when you could just, like, not?

Time is precious — that’s why I don’t go to class. I’m not paying tons of money for university to look like a major nerd. 

Unfortunately, this means that when a test comes, I have to swiftly learn the material I missed so UBC doesn’t kick me out. Lucky for you, I’ve decided to document my process today.

My PHIL 102 exam is at 5 p.m. and I skipped the last three weeks of classes.

Nine lecture recordings, eleven hours, one Brita full to the brim with water. 

Let’s go.

6:00 a.m. — Wake up

My alarm goes off. As Tim Ferris says, you need four hours to do a week’s worth of work, and I have to do three, so I’m already running late. 

I turn off my alarm and immediately fall back asleep.

10:36 a.m. — Start the day

I get out of bed and go through my morning activities — brush my teeth, wash my face and stare at a blank wall for 30 minutes. My mind becomes totally empty, ready to soak up the knowledge like a piece of bread in a hearty, wet stew. 

11:19 a.m. — Calculate the schedule

If there are 9 50-minute recordings and I watch them at double speed, then it should only take 3.75 hours. Wow, I should have majored in math with a minor in exceptional time management!

11:22 a.m. — Take a break

It’s been an eternity since I woke up, so I think I’ll just scroll through TikTok to settle my brain. Being a soldier of the mind is all about balance, you know? Rest is best — that’s what my mattress salesman always says.

12:13 p.m. — Watch a lecture

Finally, the preparations are complete for me to get my learn on. Now, I just sit back and watch the knowledge happen.

12:17 p.m. — Stop watching the lecture

No, no, no! It’s so boring! 

I need to refocus by relaxing with a few more TikToks — that’s just science.

12:40 p.m. — Lunch

Grrrrrrrrrr. I’m so mad. I brood over my cauliflower soup and try to come up with alternatives. 

I could ask for someone else’s notes? Ew, that would mean interacting with some loser who took notes in class. There has to be another way to get this done, one that doesn’t involve “learning the material” or “integrity.”

Maybe if I give the professor money they’ll pass me? Yeah, that sounds reasonable.

1:30 p.m. — Enter Buchanan Tower

Their office is locked, but I hear voices inside. Shoot! There’s only one other way in.

1:59 p.m. — Scale Buchanan Tower

I grab my grappling hook and shoot up to the top. When I reach the fifth floor, I look inside the window and see that their office is empty. Darn! I grapple down.

2:10 p.m. — Regroup

Time is crunching. I can’t fail this exam, but what is there to do? How can I know the opinions of all these dead people without watching my lectures?

I spot a candle on my desk. 

Of course.

3:15 p.m. — Seance

I light the candle and do a little chant I found online. I read off the names from my syllabus and a group of ghosts appear in front of me.

John Stuart Mill approaches first. I ask him about philosophy and he says something about “opium.” I wave away his apparition.

John Locke is next. He’s all like “Oh life, liberty and property are such a slay. The government should totally protect these things.” (Direct quote.) Gross. And your name is John? Embarrassing.

Voltaire floats over, but Rousseau clocks him in the jaw before he can start talking.

One by one, they all give me the bullet points. It’s actually kind of … interesting. 

Wait, do I actually like philosophy? 

No, I think I just enjoy seances.

5:00 p.m. — Exam time

I zoom through the exam. The words fly from my pen like babies from a T-shirt cannon. I recall everything those people told me. Every hot take, every wacky thought, every out-of-pocket statement. 

I am a, no, the master of philosophy.


In the end, it was really easy. This goes to show that you can do anything if you don’t care about it.

I ended up getting a 107% on that final. The extra seven per cent was for naming intimate personal details about every philosopher and including a 12 page Hobbes x Locke enemies to lovers fic at the end.

Go forth and follow my example. It has worked 3 out of 17 times for me, so pretty promising stuff overall. You’re welcome.

I’m off to binge the first season of Cheers and eat a whole cake instead of studying for my ENGL 110 final, which is tomorrow.