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Online cramming

It is never too late to learn.  This is especially true when you have given the impression that you are an expert and find that you must now expound on your expertise.

Take for example, Lucas, a high-school senior who regularly bragged about his astronomical excursions, spotting little-known stars, predicting meteor showers and sun spots to his parents, and exploring the far reaches of the Galaxy.  When his parents invited an adjunct from the university as a surprise dinner guest, one that they thought Lucas would be thrilled to talk with, Lucas nearly gagged.  The fact of the matter was that Lucas had be less enthralled with the night sky than with the stars in his girlfriend’s eyes.   Each night he would pack up his telescope and trundle off to a lone hilltop where he’d rendezvous with Jackie for an evening of pure rapture.  No wonder he was so enthusiastic about his night’s adventures.

This meant, of course, that he had to learn as much about astronomy as he could while the dinner guest was being entertained by his parents.  Lucas resorted to online cramming.


You need to learn as much as you can about a subject in a short period of time.  All you have is your mobile device and a vague, sinking feeling that if you don’t bone up on a subject, life as you know it would become unlivable.


Using your mobile device, scout the subject on a variety of web sites available to you.


Cramming is best done prior to needing the mobile knowledge.  But this is not always possible.  If you are in the midst of dinner or conversation, use Covert Surfing to locate your answers.

  1. Determine what material you need access to.  Ask yourself whether it is esoteric knowledge, that is arcane facts that can be used to impress dates or (in Lucas’s case) known experts.  Or, do you need general knowledge about a topic so that you do not come off as a real dunce.
  2. Using the browser on your device (or if you have an app that would be better), begin your search with the general topic.  Get a bird’s eye view of the subject.  For example, if it is astonomy, ask yourself what is in the news?  What are the new developments or discoveries?  This line of questions can guide your investigation.
  3. When you find good material, copy and paste this into your device’s notebook page.  (There are also several scrapbooks available as free apps.)
  4. Begin committing the material to memory as you continue your searches.  (Put the alarm clock on vibrate to make sure you do not exceed your time restraints.)
  5. When you are finished, review your notes.  Have these handy as you need them in conversation.

In Lucas’s case, the dinner went off without a hitch.  He had protracted discussion about the downgrading of Pluto and the recent discoveries of Hubble.  Remember to always remain humble with what you have learned.

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