I got really bad problem. First of all, I am studying for exams, and we have syllabus for exams. And 80% of questions in this exam are repeated from the past year question papers of last 10 years. I have this weird fantasy that whenever I understand a subject well, I want to dive even deeper to the point I am doing worthless and useless stuffs that won't be asked in exams and wasting my time on them. How do I prevent this idiotic behaviour. It is really not good for getting good grades in exam. Also it makes me feel less confident as I encounter stuffs that I can't learn that easily.

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    "Help, I find the material interesting and want to learn more than is taught in class" Nov 14 '21 at 16:53
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    Can you please clarify: are you getting poor grades, or just not perfect grades?
    – jakebeal
    Nov 14 '21 at 16:57
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    @watcus I'm afraid that I'm rather confused about what question you're actually trying to get answered. Are you trying to ask whether others agree that you're studying "wrong" or are you trying to ask about self-management techniques, or something else entirely?
    – jakebeal
    Nov 14 '21 at 17:11
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    Why must you focus on exams only? Nov 14 '21 at 18:18
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    You might want to pay attention to the language you are using in this question: "really bad", "weird", "worthless", "useless" and "idiotic". It could be that you are judging yourself too harshly. Consider using less loaded words.
    – J W
    Nov 15 '21 at 7:54

For the short-term goal of passing exams (and earning credits), you are right to focus somewhat and not become lost diving down too many interesting rabbit holes. However, wanting to learn more is a sign of an eager and curious mind, a thirst for knowledge and a desire to go beyond what may be merely a superficial understanding. That is admirable and entirely healthy if kept in balance. Deeper knowledge can stand you in good stead in your future studies/career and is certainly not worthless! You are already aware of the dangers of getting the balance wrong. Set yourself a time limit - no more than a certain number of hours a day (or week) going beyond the exam material. As for confidence, accept that there is much out there on the frontiers that very few understand well. It is good to get used to that feeling, as you will encounter it again, especially if you become a researcher.


Firstly: please do not be so hard on yourself. What you call "idiotic behaviour" is behavior that most teachers want their students to engage in.

I don't think you should stop wanting to learn more about topics that may have no relevance for the exam. Instead, I think you should first learn the core material that will be on the exam, and then focus on the more interesting material later. This will require good time management skills, but if you can do this, you will satisfy your need to delve deeper into a subject area and get good grades. Of course, you need to have a familiarity with the core material that will be tested in the exam, but please do not think of your interest in "worthless" topics as meaningless. It can be very beneficial, as it could allow you to have more of an understanding about a subject than your classmates who will only study what is required.

In my experience, it is often the case that in exams, the content on the exam will always be a bit more challenging than the content you will study in class. By taking an interest in the subject and finding out more about it than you need to, you may be at an advantage when it comes to answering some of the more difficult questions in the exam.

Please do not stop being curious.

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