We are midway through our 3rd module and starting on the 4th. Weekly PCQs (pre-class quizzes) and TMAs (tutor-marked assignments) fill our schedules besides attending weekly 3-hour seminars for each module.

It is easy to underrate them, particularly the PCQs, because they are not exams. But here is the catch: THEY ALL COUNT TOWARDS GETTING THAT 3.5GPA. Do not treat them lightly, my friends.

So it is best to try and ace at least the PCQs and TMAs to lessen the stress of the final exams hopefully! My classmates and I did a calculation – if we can do reasonably well in our PCQs (full marks) and TMAs (at least 65), there is really less pressure on having to ace the final exams. In other words, you buy yourself some leeway. This is important because if you are like me, exams are especially stressful given the need to think and answer within the allocated time.

Take PCQs for instance. There are are 5 questions each time and you are assigned a random set with each try. Essentially, the odds of you being to ace it within three attempts, on your own, is fairly low. Each of us have tried the quiz at least once on our own – our best individual score was 4/5 with most averaging 3/5.

The same goes for TMAs. If you attempt to do it all alone, your ability to deconstruct the ask of each TMA is unlikely to be as strong as if you were able to discuss and share your analysis with your peers. And trust me, each TMA is not easy because there is no right or wrong answer, only logical ones reasoned sensibly within 1,000 words.

Today, I’ll like to share a little hack my classmates and I employ – it is extremely handy. See, there is power in numbers.

There are some 15 of us with 3 individual tries for each PCQ. That is at least a good body of some 225 questions and answers. When you pool the collective wisdom, suddenly the odds of you being able to secure 5/5 increases considerably.

We come together with our laptops and we do our quizzes together. And we discover that we are better able to ace our PCQs whilst learning too! Because we will all have to help each other answer the questions even if they weren’t ours. This meant we actually got to do more than the 15 questions and learn from all of them! And of course, we enjoy the camaraderie and appreciate that we are all in this together. Trust me, it feels great.

We do the same with our TMAs – not the writing – but the debate and the checking of our own analysis and interpretations. We commit to a weekly 3-hour zoom call where different people take turns to lead and others take notes. We come prepared, of course, having read the assigned case and the TMA and our answers. We then share the discussion in a shared Google drive. Afterwards, we check in on each other’s spelling, grammar and citations before the submission – why lose precious marks on unforced errors?

We are each other’s motivation and each other’s source of strength.

Of course, this approach may not work for everyone. Some simply prefer learning in solitude. But for adult learners, myself in particular having not mugged for the last 2 decades, collective strength and wisdom is invaluable. And it gives me confidence, knowing my classmates are but an ask away.

Like what my partner-in-crime, Daryl, says, we’ll never walk alone (sorry, Kunhe who is not a Liverpool fan)

Onwards and upwards,