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The completeness trap

    The completeness trap is a well-known phenomenon for students, and it is especially threatening just before an exam. And it is this completeness trap that unfortunately sometimes leads some directly into panic. “This is way too much, I’ll never get through it!” So it’s better not to start at all. Or “I can’t do it perfectly yet!”

    That’s when it’s best to do a quick rough calculation: how much is really important? In dossiers, on lecture slides or in textbooks, there are many explanations, epithets, linguistic decorations and not all of it is important for exam success.

    This means that 30% of the learning material is omitted. Do you really have to master 100 percent of the subject matter? Experience shows that about 80 percent is enough to pass an exam. And how much of it do you have to know by heart? Much less. The important thing is to be able to make connections, apply knowledge, draw conclusions and argue.

    However, technical terms must be mastered, otherwise it’s like trying to follow a discussion in Greece without knowing enough Greek words.