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Knowledge Drop

While stealing material from hard-working GTAs and lecturers is pathetic enough, this is not my biggest problem with A Plus Review. It is just the reason I paid attention to them in the first place. However, the more I looked into their website, their reviews and their methods, the more I realized that they are undermining the very education process that I hold so dear.

Throughout his website and his reviews, Mike takes every opportunity to promote this 'us versus them' mentality when it comes to the relationship between student and professor. Professors are evil despots trying to make you fail! (Because, you know, we have to meet some absurd quota that doesn't actually exist.) We're holding back vital information and easier methods so that we can go back to our offices and plot further ways to subjugate you and your fellow neon-clad youth. I imagine that I have a fluffy white cat in my office that I stroke while laughing maniacally and plotting your doom. (Inspector Gadget reference, anyone?) And you students have but one ally in the battle against these oppressors, Mike with his super slimy super duper slam cram review sessions! 

I would think that no student would really believe this steaming pile of horse manure. But since they have students working for them to steal material, I have to believe that some have bought into this very transparent propaganda (or are just soulless money-grubbers much like Mike). For those of you not yet indoctrinated into this supremely incorrect view, please realize that this 'professors are big fat meanies' tagline only benefits them. Whether it's in an effort to scare you into thinking you need their crap (which is just your professors crap repackaged in larger font) or to make you feel like it's OK to skirt around academic dishonesty issues by having them 'help' you with a project or assignment. 

I've actually seen documents where they've told students not to worry about failing a class that they've reviewed: "Worst Case scenario: take **** this Summer, go to class the first day and for the three exams. Go to A+. It will be a painless B or A." 

Seriously, not only did they have these students pay them $200+ over the first semester without anything to show for it but a failing grade, but then they asked those same students to pay them AGAIN! Not to mention the tuition fees these students would have to pay for summer session! Even more laughable to me is the fact that they tried to guarantee students would pay them again by telling them not to go to class. 

Don't get me wrong, I was once just like many of you - a young undergraduate looking to do the least amount of work to get through my classes (GEs or otherwise). I even considered myself somewhat of a all-nighter savant - able to learn OChem and watch an entire season of Sex & The City in a single night! But in nine years of post-secondary education, I have learned a couple things:
  • Classes are actually easier if you go to them. Most learning styles are conducive to listening to, watching and taking notes based on a lecture. And being introduced to new topics throughout the semester is where the 'learning' takes place, as opposed to rote memorization.
    • If the person telling you not to go to class is also selling a review session, you should consider if they really have your best interest in mind or if they are just thinking about their own wallet.
  • Getting by without learning anything is generally a bad idea. Turns out that a lot of the material you cover in the first semester of OChem, you need in the second semester! I can still remember the night I starting studying for my first midterm of Chem 140B at UCSD only to realize that I would have to learn all of 140A to be able to THEN study the new material. Turns out that C wasn't as awesome as I thought it was when I saw my grades. 
    • The classes A Plus covers are all lower-level core classes in the College of Business. If you choose to get by using their 'dumb'ed down methods, you will only find your subsequent tests in that class more difficult because you didn't truly learn the concepts. Again, this puts your money in their pocket when you're confused before the next test! And then in your future classes when these concepts arise again, there you are lining up to give them MORE money. And eventually, they won't be there anymore because the class you're taking isn't profitable, so why start relying on them in the first place?
  • Grades and professor contact matter. It seems like everyone is going onto grad school these days. Or back to grad school after deciding that first career choice wasn't what they thought it would be. If you try a little now, you'll have a lot more options for both grad schools and jobs later.
    • Mike can't help you get a job by writing a letter of recommendation or referring you to an internship, but your professor can. And your professor actually assigns your grade at the end of the semester, so maybe your spare time would be best spent getting to know the person who is passionate about the subject matter rather than a company that's only passion is your money.