Phrases to sound like you’ve done your reading

How to fake it ‘till you make it

A chalkboard with E=MC squared written on it
You — confident in your participation.

By: Tammy T., Staff writer

Whenever a new semester starts, most of us swear to stay on top of our courses and do our readings in a timely manner, but let’s be honest here — does that ever really work? By week four, we’re already six weeks behind on homework, and some of us (me) start to panic. In an attempt to calm ourselves and save our GPA’s we create an action plan largely centred around that sweet 15% of a participation grade. Suddenly it’s week 10, you realize you haven’t said a single thing in class and your professor only knows you as the person who, in the middle of lecture, got their bag stuck in the door that one time. Well, fear not. I, a professional procrastinator, shall show you, an amateur postponer, how to get those participation grades you so desperately desire, save your GPA, and win back the respect of your parents in just four easy steps.


  1. Tie the topic being discussed to a completely unrelated pop culture reference that your professor will not get. 

An absolute alpha move that works every time. Your professor may know a bunch of nerd stuff but only you know how that nerd stuff is kind of like that one episode of Gilmore Girls. This will not only make you sound like you know your shit, but this is a chance to trick your classmates into thinking that you can make thoughtful connections across texts. Random references will also help you gain the attention of your class-crush who for some reason is sexually attracted to information synthesis. Nothing like a good Suite Life on Deck reference to get the hormones going. 


2.  “Piggy-backing off of Tara’s point…” 

This phrase has been known to have a very high success rate* in classroom testing scenarios and remains a favourite of finance bro’s everywhere. Simply by using the word “piggy-back”  you ingeniously imply that you also meant to say whatever Tara’s point was — she just happened to say it before you. The beauty of this strategy is no matter what you say, you’re getting credit for participation and what was primarily a woman’s contribution. Boo yah bro!

*Success rates are 5% higher if there is actually someone named Tara in your class. 


  1. Consistent nodding and making eye-contact with your professor 

You know what speaks louder than words? Actions. And this magic little action is the silent participation mark no one gives enough credit. I especially like to use it when totally clueless about what’s happening in class — it makes me feel like I know more than everyone else. 


  1. Have excellent argument skills — even when you’re clearly wrong

I’ll let you in on a trade secret: any participation is good participation. Even though your argument might be filled with total inaccuracies and wild assumptions, your confidence will win the hearts of the classroom and marks of the participation. This strategy has been largely championed by The Flat Earth Society, who, despite being constantly disproven, refuse to submit and instead just argue louder. They have clearly girlbossed too close to the sun, and they can’t (or won’t) back down now. Taking inspiration from them, learn to argue about anything, even if it’s wrong, and. Do. Not. Submit. You’ll get those grades you want, even if it comes at the cost of social embarrassment.