The Critical Review: How to answer the questions they’re too professional to ask

The professor announces the end of the lecture fifteen minutes before the scheduled time. But, alas, before you dash out of the classroom, an army of TAs stops you with sheets of paper in hand: the Critical Review evaluation forms.

You want to speed through it so you can get the hell out of the place, but you need to keep it real. Was your TA mighty fine? Do you want to gear other stressed-out pre-meds towards an easy writing class to soothe their pain? Or maybe paint the class with a huge red sign, “STAY AWAY”? The answer sheet is tricky, but here’s BlogDailyHerald’s guide to subtly tell it like it is on the Critical Review. 

What were the goals and objectives of this class? What did you learn?
What you want to say: “My doodles were RISD-status.”
What you should say: “The topics discussed were dull, which led me to focus on other activities and intellectual endeavors.”

How did the instructor encourage participation and learning? Was s/he successful? How available was the instructor outside of class? Describe the quality of feedback.
Well, this is a loaded question. Let’s take a stab at it:
For the first one, what you want to say (for a male TA)
: “His seam-bursting biceps definitely caught my eye.”
What you should say: “He conveyed his enthusiasm for the subject matter through his gestures. They were very inspiring.”

For the second part of the question, what you want to say: “Well, I would like to know if he/she is available… Send me a siiign!”
What you should say: The TA’s availability was ambiguous. He/she should have stated it more clearly in the beginning of the semester for students who were wondering about the possibility of receiving one-on-one feedback from the instructor. (Official, huh?)

And lastly, what you want to say: “I would’ve appreciated some more feedback… in bed.”
What you should say: “I would’ve preferred if [X professor/TA] were more specific with his/her feedback. Meetings outside of class time would’ve been helpful.”

What would you suggest to the instructor to improve this course?
What you want to say: “Wear lower-cut shirts.”
What you should say: “The instructor’s wardrobe was distracting. He/she should consciously change the way he/she dresses, so as to not disrupt the flow of the discussion.”

Finally, what would you suggest to fellow students thinking about enrolling in this class?
What you want to say: “Say bye-bye to Whiskey Co. Wednesdays.”
What you should say: “The class is an enormous time commitment, especially before Thursday morning lecture.”

What you want to say: “The TA’s number’s on the syllabus. Do it.”
What you should say: “The TA expressed interest in interacting with students one-on-one from the very beginning of the semester.”

What you want to say: Don’t expect an A. If that bothers you, then you should’ve gone to Harvard.
What you should say: Don’t expect an A. If that bothers you, then you should’ve gone to Harvard.

For some real-life memorable comments left by witty students on the questionnaire, check out the Critical Review’s roundup of funniest quotes!

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