Picky, Picky, Picky


The book closed with a thud. Ahmed had finished another chapter of mechanics. As usual, he understood little and remembered even less of what he had read. There were so many facts and steps to follow that it was hard to identify the important ones. As usual, Ahmed had highlighted almost everything. There were so many little details. Who would expect him to remember all that material?

About three weeks later, Ahmed found himself two days away from his mechanics exam. He tried to study the text; each page was a sea of yellow highlighter. With 70 percent or more of each page highlighted, the facts seemed to blend together, resulting in confusion. "Too many details", Ahmed thought, "no one would ask about these picky facts".

A week later, Ahmed looked at this exam grade, "Another F! What is going on? This is the third test I've failed! What am I doing wrong? " Ahmed was confused and frustrated. He was reading all the material, just like he had in high school. In fact, he was studying even more than he had in high school. Yet the exam contained a lot of information he didn't know, and his grades were terrible.


  1. State the major problem(s) in this case
  2. List the issues or factors contributing to the problem
  3. What advice would you give Ahmed to improve the situation?

Riesen,Szarlan & Singha (2003). Case studies for First-year experience students. Thompson-Wadsworth. Pg. 7