11 Ways to Seem Smart During Tutorial

I clench my fists under the table, beads of sweat dripping down my forehead. My heart is pounding like a drum with no sense of rhythm – fast and irregular. “Quick, think of something to say,” I urge myself in a last-ditch effort to save my participation grade. In an epiphany, I recall a Paris Hilton tweet that said,

Keep on reading for more life-saving tips on how to actually sound like you know what you’re talking about in tutorial! Or at least how to create a façade of intellect.


1) “That’s Hot”...

is an all-encompassing phrase that makes you sound authoritative, like you have the power to decide what’s hot and what’s not. It’s my go-to when I don’t know what to say – which is a lot of the time during tutorials.


2) Ask the TA what the difference between two terms is

In this scenario, you kill two birds with one stone. First, you get two definitions without reading anything, and second, you look like you did the reading.

3) “Will this be on the exam?”

If you ask all the time you might come off a little annoying, but you will definitely etch your face into your TA’s brain, which is great when they’re marking your participation and you’re the only person they remember. A sure-fire way to eliminate the competition.

4) Dress business formal IN EVERY CLASS

Sometimes you just want to roll out of bed and into class with your army pants and flip flops. But if you want to be taken seriously when you say dumb things, you need to look the part. As such, wearing a power suit and heels to tutorial every week will let others know you’re not there to fool around. You could be scrolling through Instagram in class and people will think, “Wow, this is an accomplished student with a corporate job on the side, probably.” Side-note: if you are a business student, you won’t really stand out, so this tip might not be very helpful for you guys.  

5) Highlight EVERYTHING

Cheekbones, nose bridge, you name it. Highlighting your notes is optional.

6) Tuck your pen behind your ear

You could also incorporate it into your hairstyle to look like a more philosophical person. Just don’t put it in your mouth - that’s gross and no one will want to form a group with you for projects.

7) Replace basic words with complicated ones.

Could you elucidate that concept a bit further? It seemed a bit non-sequitur, the way you talked about it. I’m feeling obfuscated right now.

8) Let everyone know you’re drinking black coffee, like an intellectual.

You know what people say about black coffee drinkers – they are superior to the rest of us. Or have psychopathic tendencies. If you’re planning on incorporating my tips in the classroom, then the latter seems probable.

9) Never break eye contact with your TA

Don’t forget to nod every 8-10 seconds.

10) Never answer questions, only ask

You probably don’t know answers to anything, but use the fact that there is no such thing as a stupid question to your advantage.

11) Just try your best

…and remember, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” -Wayne Gretzky