Friday, November 13, 2009

Pre-commitment is for chumps

In my macro class we get to drop a quiz and a test (including the final), so assuming you've done well you can skip the last quiz and the final, and in fact the entire class after the Thanksgiving break.

Despite Dr. Sadler's pleas that no one actually do this it's tempting, especially for time-constrained students facing a full slate of final exams. However, I'm there not only for the grade but also for the knowledge, so I'll attend the last two weeks of class even if I don't get credit for it. I think.

The penultimate quiz is today, and it occurs to me that I could pre-commit myself to attending the post-Thanksgiving classes by skipping today's quiz. That way I'd have to take the last quiz on December 2 or risk a B in the class. Similarly I could pre-commit to studying hard for the final by skipping the next exam.

But I'm not going to skip either one. I'm fairly confident that I'll attend the classes and study for the final even if I'm not forced to, so the marginal benefit of pre-commitment is limited. Plus, skipping the quiz, the exam, or both would force me to put all of my eggs in fewer baskets, increasing the risk that I'd fail to get an A in the class. The risk simply outweighs the reward.

Also, pre-commitment is for chumps.

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