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The Path of Least Resistance

Some helpful tips:

  1. If you spend a few hours doing a little research and pick the right classes, you can save yourself 40 to 50 hours of work during the semester.

  2. When looking at courses on ACES, look at two categories on the course evaluations: amount of effort/work and appropriateness of evaluation. Never take any course that has a mean lower than 4 in appropriateness of evaluation. Similarly, never take anything that has a rating over 3.75 in the effort/work area.

  3. If a particular requirement is tripping you up, take it over the summer. Summer sessions are always easier, even though they meet more often.

  4. It's true that there are more than 32 easy classes at Duke, but it's impossible to take 32 classes that are all really easy because of time conflicts or a lack of information on ACES. So, you have to choose your battles.

  5. On the registrar's website, there's a place that gives a historical perspective of the enrollment levels of classes. You want classes that fill up-unless they're core courses for majors. Generally, you want to be the last person off the waitlist of a class.

  6. Use ratemyprofessors.com. Don't take any class where the professor's easiness rating is under 3.3.

  7. The more assignments you have, the less likely it is that the professor will read them carefully. Also, some classes require a lot of work, but if you do it, you're basically guaranteed an A. So, don't be put off by a lot of small assignments. It means your final won't be a killer or worth as much.

  8. If a class doesn't have a course evaluation posted, don't take it unless you have some first-hand information about it. A lack of course evaluations suggests that the evals are low and the professor wants to hide them.

Suggestions of Courses and Departments:

Educational Psychology - An engaging professor makes the easy and direct material even easier to understand.

Fairy Tales - Essentially, all you have to do is memorize basic parts of pretty easy material. Beware: There's a final portfolio that's ridiculously big, but by the same token, it is way too much material for the professor to read everything.

Consumer Psychology - You're graded on nothing but group projects. No tests and no real papers. Here's a telling fact: there was a 55-person waiting list on first day of registration... for a 45-person class.

Entrepreneurship - Two tests that are made up of 20 multiple-choice questions, a few fill-in-the-blanks and a short answer. But if you read the power points, you're basically set for 90% of them.

History and Issues of Sports - The required textbooks are ESPN's Sports Almanac and ESPN's Sports Century. Enough said.

The easy departments? Cultural anthropology; Italian; psychology, if you're looking for NS; AAAS; music; history (though it's really hit or miss) and sociology (but be careful; sociology isn't quite as easy as most people think).

-as told to Sarah Kwak

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