Pure bullshitMany professors won’t admit it, some would even outright deny it, but the fact of the matter is the difference between a good grade and a bad grade is often who followed directions better. Being able to bullshit effectively requires at least a modicum of knowledge about the subject at hand. The more you know about the subject the better, so by all means, study. But being able to really bullshit your way through a paper will often result in a better grade than your more, ahem, ethical counterparts.

Here are a few steps to remember:

#1– Learn to use an outline effectively. These aren’t just the annoying things you had to turn in as a kid – they actually help. A lot. Being able to jot down main ideas, then expound on them and transition them together is so much easier with an outline. This is particularly true with essays and research papers. Even if one isn’t required, do one anyway. To be able to bullshit effectively, there has to be a logical order to your bullshit.

#2 – Start with what you know. Even if all the facts you have are probably not completely relevant; if they are somewhat related, you can stretch them in to give the essay more meat, so to speak. Expand on them and incorporate them into the essay for added points. You may not get full credit, but every point counts, and many points can be had through sheer and utter bullshit.

#3 – Learn to paraphrase material. Turnitin.com and other tools now exist to put a serious hamper on outright plagiarism. However – reading, understanding and rewriting material will almost always pass the sniff test. Technically, you should cite your source, but if you’re really good, the ideas will meld into your mind and become your own thoughts.

#4 – Give the professor what they ask for. You will encounter many professors that are nut cases. Many also tend to be control freaks, and want everything done a certain way. This often results in a professor telling you to do something a certain way that you know is incorrect. Who cares! Do it the way they want, and you will fare better than the goofball sitting next to you that thinks he is going to educate the professor on the proper technique, and the prof will be so grateful that she will create a new letter grade to give just to him. In reality, your goofball buddy will probably get a “C” for his efforts, while your functionally incorrect, but properly completed paper will generally grade higher. Lesson learned – The Professor is always right.

#5 – Have others read your work. This isn’t always possible, such as with essays during exams. But if you have an opportunity, you would be a fool not to have someone else read your writing. We tend to think our writing is clearer than it actually is. This is due to the fact that your thoughts are in your head, so of course it makes sense to you! But the reader isn’t in your head, so you have to lead them there through the written word.

These 5 steps should make you a bullshitting superstar. But remember, nothing beats actually knowing the material. Bullshitting should only be used in conjunction with actual studying for best results. And if all else fails, pull the fire alarm.

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