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Your Best Exam Stories? 247

Posted by Cliff
from the best-years-of-your-life dept.
KevlarGorilla asks: "I'm sure Slashdot users have done their fair share of university exams. A good portion may be going through the process right now. Many tales have been floating around the internet about cheating (successful and not), cram stories, and tales of post-test celebration, most often in the testing room itself. Recall any first-hand experiences and write them down in a few short paragraphs. If you've been waiting to clear your conscience, or share your experiences, now is the time."
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Your Best Exam Stories?

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  • by Blkdeath (530393) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @12:52PM (#14318565) Homepage
    Whelp, laid down on my couch at approx. 6:30PM the night before a big exam at 8:30 the next morning. Woke up at 8:15, panicked, threw my clothes on and rushed out the door, flew across the highway at breakneck speed, arrived to find an empty campus.

    Yep. It was 8:15PM.

    • Re:24-hour time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by John Harrison (223649) <johnharrisonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:34PM (#14320622) Homepage Journal
      My last final of my first quarter of college was calculus. I was doing ok in the class and went out about a half hour before the test started to unlock my bicycle and ride to the test. I got to the bike rack and my bike wasn't there. I ran around for a bit looking for other places I might have placed it until I saw a bit of the lock on the ground where I had actually left it. I then ran in sandals to the final and got there 30 minutes late. Between the running, being upset about being late, and being upset about the bike being stolen I completely bombed it. I got a B- in the class.

      It was a year before I took another math class. A friend came by the night before the test and asked me if I would go over the whole course with him since he hadn't gone to class. Teaching someone else really is the best review. I finished a three hour final in 20 minutes. As I walked to the front with my test someone asked, "Are you just giving up?" "I sure am!" I replied. I got a 97.

      Later still I had two Portuguese classes on the same day. One was a Phd level course that I was the only undergrad in and I had a presentation to give for a full hour. I spent the entire day preparing for it and skipped my other classes. Two days later I show up in my other Portuguese class which was mostly full of jocks. A girl from the volleyball team asked me if I was dropping the class. I asked why she would think that. "Well, you didn't show up for the mid-term on Tuesday..." I suddenly realized what had happened. I went up to the prof after class and he was very nice about it. He said I could take an oral exam on the spot in place of the midterm. Halfway through my first response he stopped me, told me it was clear that I was the only person in the class that had read the material, and offered me a scholarship to study in Lisbon that summer. I should have skipped more mid-terms...
      • Once, I stayed up all night to give a presentation as my mid-term for a German class.

        The next day, I gave my presentation, but then when I sat down, I just totally zoned out, and started falling passing in and out of sleep. Once, when I woke up, I felt all sick. I got up, and asked for permission to leave, "I feel sick, may I leave?" and the teacher I remember was just like confused... To have a student ask for permission to leave, I guess. It doesn't happen often in college.

        So, I get out into the hall
        • by ErixTr (601648)
          A day before a history exam, one of my friends went to the teachers room to ask a question. He was not there at that moment. The friend saw the standart envelope that exams are carried with, took away one of the papers, photocopied and spread those to all of the class. I also got one but didn't check the questions, folded and put it in my pocket.

          When I left the school, i decided to tear that paper without looking and worked all night, studied all the book from start to end.

          Next day when the exam papers were
  • Bet's off (Score:3, Funny)

    by cassidyc (167044) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @12:53PM (#14318569)
    Not at university, but I finished a computing exam (and passed) with enough time to program my graphics calculator to play a horse racing game, drawing 4 horses and moving them across the screen at a random speed to determine the winner.

    Where it not for the fact that you weren`t allowed to talk I'd have taken bets and set up a small gambling stall

    CJC
  • by joelsanda (619660) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @12:54PM (#14318583) Homepage

    After the trials and tribulation of Junior and High School I've let a sore spot fester into outright derision for football players. The pose far too many challenges to evolutionary theory and intelligent design.

    So ... when I realized a football player for my college team was cheating off my psychology exam I intentionally answered the questions in the multiple choice exam the wrong way. For example: I bubbled the answer to Question 3 in the Question 4 area. After I was done the fooooball player took his exam up to the front of the class and then left.

    I then went back and re-positioned my responses in the correct place.

    After failing the final the fooooball player saw me on campus and asked me what I got. I said "B" - what did you get? He said "A f*@#in F. How'd do you get a B and I got an F?" I said "I studied." He didn't want to admit to cheating so he just glared at me and walked away.

    Add that to your play book!

    • by crimethinker (721591) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:44PM (#14319148)
      Similar experience, except the doofus whispered a question to me, expecting me to actively assist him. Football players are so stupid, they think that one week after kicking your ass for being smart, you'll actually help them. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never really been one of those "turn the other cheek" people.

      One particular question was the atomic mass of a particular ion, something involving a few carbon atoms. I gave him the answer, minus about 6. Another question, another ion, I think it was a dichromate, which IIRC has 7 oxygen atoms. You get the wrong answer if you think it only has 4.

      In the end, I got 95%, and he scored in the high 50's. I doubt he ever figured out that I had given him deliberately bad answers.

      In the end, the coach pressured the teacher to pass him anyway, so he wouldn't lose his academic eligibility. I take great comfort in seeing him now on a Megan's List website for my home state, and his address is listed as "Incarcerated."

      -paul

    • So ... when I realized a football player for my college team was cheating off my psychology exam I intentionally answered the questions in the multiple choice exam the wrong way. For example: I bubbled the answer to Question 3 in the Question 4 area.

      He didn't want to admit to cheating so he just glared at me and walked away.

      I can one-up you there. I had a kid try and cheat off my on a math test in 7th grade. I changed all my answers so I could quickly fix them after I was done, and turned my test in after he was done copying. The best was on the day we got the tests back, and the teacher called up the cheater to her desk to talk to him. I sat in the back of the room and could hear her: "Jason, I just don't understand how all your answers were off by one."

  • by Spock the Baptist (455355) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @12:58PM (#14318635) Journal
    Back in the day I took a history class that had as a reading assignment the reading of a book entitled "Nuclear War What's In It For You". I didn't read the book but took the test anywho. I ended up making the only 100 on the book exam in any of the history sections that made that assignment. Of course I was probably the only physics, and aerospace major in any of those sections.

    The real hoot was that there was a question that ask what the temperature of of nuclear ignition was. I did not know, so I winged it by giving my answer in scientific notation, and Kelvins. My prof. marked it ok if you say so.

    I've gotten a lot of laughs over the years from other physics types when I've told the story.

    Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year
    STB
    • by Krach42 (227798) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @06:28PM (#14322658) Homepage Journal
      I'm one of those bastards with the near photographic memory, so I would never study, and just show up to a test like any other day, and ace the tests. (Usually 90%+)

      But the last final I ever took in college was my scariest. I hadn't attended the class since the mid-term, the teacher was just so horrible, I was convinced I could learn better from the book. So, I avoided my STAT class, and forgot entirely to read the book. End of the year came around, and I realized, that this was the only class I wasn't sure about passing and I needed it to graduate.

      I teamed up with another guy in the same boat as me (we both had good mid-term scores, but then neglected the rest of the class.) We both ended up studying till all hours of the night.

      I walked into class after this rigerous night of studying and took the test, I ended up with an almost perfect score, and what with the curve, I actually ended up with an A in the course.

      Afterwards, I walked out of the building to walk home, and to my surprise my car was parked there in the teachers' lot. I had driven it in during the night when it was allowed to park there, and entirely forgot about it.
  • by Shanoyu (975) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @12:59PM (#14318647)
    Okay, well, you know how frequently you see an article written by someone who obviously didn't feel like working very hard for it. For example, a graduate student who comes to find out his term paper is due after spending his semester 'working' on it smoking pot on the beach, ergo he decides to write about a "Freeform Community Art Project" there, by which he means graffiti under a bridge.

    By the same token I spent a semester playing World of Warcraft and wrote about how guilds fit the ideal type of a weberian bureaucracy. Apparently it was an A.
  • Assembly programming final, no less...

    5 questions, 20 points each.
    question number 4, I totally blanked on. I knew it. I knew I knew it, but I just couldn't remember what the answer was. I could picture what page it was in... even what paragraph, because I had highlited that specific passage as a possible question... and I blanked.

    So I wrote about blanking during the test. My response was exactly what was going on in my head. What i was thinking. That I could remember knowing it, even where it was, but could
  • Perhaps I should share the story of the freshman bio (for majors) midterm I took while still drunk from partying the night before and got a B. Or the time when I completely forgot about the existance of blue books until I showed up to an English exam (to my defense, it had been some time since I took a final that wasn't multiple choice, due to being a hard science major).

    But yeah, I haven't had many fun exploits.
  • by ednopantz (467288) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:13PM (#14318810)
    Story is probably BS, but I like it so much, I'll just pretend it is true.

    My college roomate's dad was a math prof at either Penn state or U Penn or one of those. He would teach those enormous 800 student introductory courses. The final was always held in a theater. He would distribute the exams, then hoisting a pair of binoculars and a bullhorn, announce that he was headed up to the balcony and he would be watching everyone like a hawk. Most giggled at the suggestion that he could possibly proctor the exam from a distance, but he kept a serious demeanor.

    Twenty minutes into the exam, he would lean over the railing and bellow out through the bullhorn: "You! Row 18, seat 34!! GET OUT!!!!" A stunned student would look guilty, drop his crib sheet, then run out of the room. The students were amazed at the prof's powers of perception and would abandon any thought of cheating.

    The "cheater" was always a graduate student hired for the occasion. The prof swore by the method.
    • > The "cheater" was always a graduate student hired for the occasion. The prof swore by the method.

      LOL

      We had one where the final came in two colors, and the prof insisted on alternating colors for adjacent students.

      When we got the exams back we discovered that all the exams were identical.
    • by tjp (264994)
      Here's a similar story from a CS professor at my school. (It used to be found here [ecu.edu], but it seems to be gone now. Thank goodness for Google's cache!)

      ----

      From: Michael J Lutz
      Subject: Finals Scam: Revenge of the Profs.

      The Finals Week item, with 50 things to do during a final you know you will flunk, inspires me to pass along this true story from RIT. Acknowledgements are due my colleague Ken Reek, and former graduate student Ed Ford, who together pulled the scam off with aplomb.

      Several years ago, Ken

  • by Apreche (239272)
    I don't have a really good story of a particular exam. But I do remember multiple exams where I finished very very early. Especially if the exam was multiple choice I would finish long before everyone else. I was sometimes wary of handing it in right away, thinking perhaps I missed a page or something, but no. I simply finished really quickly while other people were toiling.

    I admit my grades weren't perfect, but I've got a degree and a job. Let that be a lesson to you kids still in school. You're probably p
    • Re:Not just once (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oliana (181649)
      I loved being the girl in the programming courses doing the same thing. It was usually 10:1 guys to gals in them, and I'd wear my shortest skirt and sit the furthest from the door so that when I got done first, I'd have to meander through the tables and chairs to turn in my test.
      • "and I'd wear my shortest skirt and sit the furthest from the door so that when I got done first, I'd have to meander through the tables and chairs to turn in my test."

        Sorry I'm late. I'm here about a call to lower the glass cieling a couple of inches. :)
  • by oliana (181649) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:15PM (#14318824) Homepage
    It sucked. I didn't really get it. I hated the prof, he was an idiot who didn't teach. Okay, it's quite possible that he wasn't an idiot, but he sure as heck couldn't teach. When I can't respect a teacher, I don't learn. So it's the final, and I've spend hours upon hours cramming for the test. I'm waiting with friends outside the room and the whole thing totally comes down on me. I'm smart but doing poorly in college, I'm 1000+ miles from home and I most don't want to admit defeat, or be convinced to go back home. At best I can get a B in the class, but I'm totally scared that I don't know enough to pass the final. I'd not gotten a B in a science class since 8th grade (and it's because I had no respect for the teacher then either). So, being a girl, start to cry. I hate the fact that it's so easy to be forced to tears, but there they are, dripping and slipping down my face. My friends (both guys) attempt to comfort me, and I manage to pull myself together and walk into the room dry-eyed.

    Then the professor hands out the test.
    Page 1, damn.
    Page 2, shit.
    Page 3, WTF? I hardly recognize anything!
    Page 4, tears.

    I sniff and snurffle my way through the exam. It's multiple choice, but the way they do the exams, if you don't answer the question you 0 points and if you answer it wrong you get negative points (so guessing is not going to work, even educated guesses are a risk), and the answers are all plausible (which is the most frustrating part.)

    I finish, and dry my eyes long enough to turn the test in, the professor totally oblivoius.

    A week later when they post the scores, I scroll to my ID, and I got 69%. SIXTY NINE PERCENT? I run to the top of the page to see the average (they grade on a bell curve). 31%. THIRTY ONE PERCENT??

    Holy Mother of Physics, I friggin' doubled the AVERAGE? Only three people score higher. Sweet. (Of course, I probably didn't think "sweet" back then, it was over a decade ago.)

    Oh, and I cheated on 4th grade spelling tests by sitting on the spelling book and looking at the words between my legs. I can't spell too well these days, so I suffer from that. And I told one person at the time, and somehow she managed to nearly fall out of her chair with the book while attempting to do the same thing. I stopped after that.
  • Best final exam? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pfhor (40220) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:20PM (#14318879) Homepage
    Last exam for my last class of my last semester. Anthro course. Loved the material, the professor was a genius, so the test was easy. Brought in a nip of whiskey (mm bushmills) and had it sitting on my desk throughout the entire test. Took me about 20 minutes to finish. Drank the whiskey, handed in my test, walked out. This was not a large class, maybe 20 students in total, and I was in the front row. Not that great of a celebration, but I was done, done, done with my time in undergrad. At some point i've been told to go onto grad school for Ph. D. or masters, but I think that can wait for a few more years.
    • And you didn't offer the prof any? I don't know a single anthropologist that would have turned down Bushmills (well, okay, a few, but they are all archaeologists, and drink Wild Turkey). Anthropologists just don't turn down booze -- it doesn't happen.
  • by ZekeSMZ (874386) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:27PM (#14318963)
    My neighbor showed me this back in 8th grade - he swore by this method. Take a wooden #2 pencil, and use a razor blade to slice it in half. Tape the two halves together on one side, so the pencil can be flipped open and closed. Write out whatever kind of crib sheet you need on mailing labels (in the smallest type you can). Then stick the label inside the pencil, and use the blade to trim off any excess label margins. Bring the pencil to your exam, and when the teacher isn't looking - flip it open to consult your notes. He claims he was never busted using this method...
    • by cshoes (459798) <don_spamNO@SPAMrunwithscissors.org> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:18PM (#14319553) Homepage
      God damnit, you couldn't have posted this 15 years ago for me? That's the kind of thinking that gets people nobel prizes.
    • For my best crib sheets I'd use two toothpicks and a couple of orthodontics rubber bands (you know, the very small ones). I'd then cut a strip of paper (the thinest you can find) to match the toothpick's length, write whatever I needed on it (or printing it with the smallest legible font, once computers were available) and roll it in each of the tootpicks, like little scrolls. They were very easy to take out and use and really hard to see by the teacher. Of course, the act of figuring out what to put in the
      • Memorisation (Score:4, Insightful)

        by yuri benjamin (222127) <yuridg@gmail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:44PM (#14321560) Journal
        Now-a-days I justify this to myself saying that the kind of class (or professor) that requires this kind of thing (learning by rote memorization) is stupid anyway, and nothing good can come from craming to memorize something you'll forget 10 minutes after the exam.

        I never memorised physics or calculus formulae - I derived the formula needed for each question from first principles when I reached a question needing that particular formula.

        I owe this ability to a great high school physics teacher, Tom Leys (now deceased, what a loss!) of St Bede's College, Christchurch, New Zealand.
        Whenever he introduced a new concept we would learn the principles first, and then the formula.
  • by DamienMcKenna (181101) <{damien} {at} {mc-kenna.com}> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:29PM (#14318978)
    I remember one time I actually studied and got an A. I was so totally shocked and wondered why I hadn't done that for the previous twenty years.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:39PM (#14319088)
    Okay, so I'm taking a test in an advanced physics class. This teacher _really_ has it out for me, and my so-called 'attitude.' I don't suck up to him, and I'm a bit of a smartass, and he's got a bit of a problem with that. Anyway, he told me in no uncertain terms that no matter how well I did on the test, I was gonna flunk. But I took it anyway, and found it a very easy test. I wrote, "I aced this!" on the test before I handed it in, and I also put an apple on his desk that was boobytrapped to explode slightly after a small jarring motion (I knew he'd just throw it in the trashcan after I left).

    Oh, wait, that was a movie I saw.

    Uhhh...nevermind, then.
    • There were these two freaks, one grad student and one freshman, who ended up rooming together at the entrance to my lair. I swear one of them was just like that! Big attitude, never took anything seriously, he spent a lot of time trying to convince women that he had a brain and a penis. The other one was a nice kid, kinda dorky but then who am I to talk? He ends up hooking up with this hyper girl down the hall, and the two of them.. well, let's say I had to turn my server fans up all the way to cover up the
  • My older brother teaches a 100 level math class at BYU. This is his first semester teaching, and he's already caught 2 kids cheating. He didn't even need to see them cheating to prove that they did it.

    Since the testing center keeps track of how long it took each student to take the test, he likes to laugh (hopefully not in the presence of his students) at how everyone who takes less than 20 minutes is always in the 0-30% range. Well, come finals time he noticed that he had a kid who got 98% (49/50) on the

    • Re:Caught cheating (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rleibman (622895) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:52PM (#14320053) Homepage
      In response to all of those who are against cheating... I dislike cheating as well, its dishonest. But we must really ask ourselves what kind of educational system we have that makes kids WANT to cheat. Instead of fostering a system in which education is a fun and enjoyable activity we promote one where kids fill a pressure to pass: passing becomes more important than learning. On the one hand I think that honesty is an important value that must be supported, but a part of me says: let them cheat, they'll soon enough encounter the real world and figure out what they really needed to know and what they didn't.
      Looking back on my school days, I remember often doing exams "in group", where we'll take a crack at the exams and compare answers, learning how to work with other people under pressure was (I now think) more important than knowing how to figure out complicated integrals alone (and when was the last time I did that). If caught, this kind of thing is considered cheating. I used to not like school that much, until the point where courses got difficult enough that other students were there because they wanted to; difficult enough that we could bring out calculators and text books in the exams and still spend 8 hours doing them (I distinctly remember some EE Linear Control exams). The teacher would let us take smoking breaks and bring lunch. Copying someone elses exam wasn't an option, because of the pages and pages of calculations we had to show for our efforts.
  • Wrong room (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Asgard (60200) * <jhmartin-s-5f7bbb@toger.us> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @01:50PM (#14319208) Homepage
    I once thought I'd take a short nap before a college final since I had studied for it and was tired. Woke up 15 minutes after the test started (oops, set the alarm clock for PM not AM) and ran across campus to room X. Got to room X and the test was for the right class, but wrong section. Turns out my test was in some other buildingbuilding, same room #. Flew back to my room to find the right building, then back across campus to furiously complete the test. Scored respectably, have had occasional nightmares ever since :>. I practically tattooed the finals location on myself for every subsequent final, and took NO naps prior to them.
  • When I took SAT scores, way back in 1969, you paid for them in sets of three, and there were only 5 I wanted or needed to take. So I signed up for Math II, why not, if I was paying for six tests, I was damn well going to take six tests!

    Skipped many questions going for the ones I knew. It was common knowledge that skipped questions did not coutn, only wrong answers. One I guessed at, and remembered it well enough to ask my math teacher. He showed me and I had guessed wrong.

    But when the scores came in, I
    • You don't have to answer everything right on the SAT's to get an 800. They grade on a curve on a scale from 0 to 1000 and throw out the lowest and highest 200.
      • It's strange that I got a better score on Math II than Math I. But maybe, if they grade on a curve and cap the top like you say, there weren't as many people taking Math II.

        Still don't trust tests like that.
  • Hey, it worked.
    • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:28PM (#14319704)


    • > Hey, it worked.

      In principle, yes, but my teachers would never let me pour the milk and light the candle during the exam.

    • Somewhat related but not really cheating... as a physics major in college we were often allowed one sheet of notes to use in an exam. The profs were usually pretty savy so they would be very clear that it had to be 8.5" x 11" and they oftentimes further stipulated that you could only use one side. I don't remember if I came up with this or if someone showed me but somewhere along the line I started using colored pencils to write on my gouge sheets. Using colored pencils, you can actually layer informatio
      • When we had one of those on-notesheet exams, I'd usually end up on photocopying duty: photocopy all relevant pages, reducing to 25%. Layout 4 reduced sheets at once on the machine, copy them at 25% again. Repeat until sheet is almost-but-not-quite unreadable. I'd usually stuff 4*4*4 pages and it'd still be usable (needed good eyes though!). Then make copies for everyone.
      • i remember in my theatre history class we had a similar rule, we could have one sheet of paper, front and back, with whatever we wanted on it.
        myself and three other friends stayed up all night outlining the text book, which we then typed up and put on the paper, in 2.5pt font.
        ended up with everything on it. our professor wasn't pleased, but we made no effort to hide it. also, staying up all night and then typing the outlines just about negated the sheet. but it did come in handy a few times.

      • Or just bring glasses with tinted lenses to separate the colors for you. Remember the old game "password"? I've been thinking about doing business cards like that...
  • by shagism (889287)
    For one particularly dumb class the professor gave us all, ~300, a packet of multiple choice questions, ~100, from which the test questions will be taken. I had no interest in this class and so did not even look at the booklet. However, my friend had completed every question and highlited the answers in yellow. Ten minutes before the test I quickly read the questions and memorized the overall position of the yellow line. I took very little time to finish the test and recieved a B without actually learni
  • I was not a stellar student in college, but I really seemed to nail Physics I and Physics II. For the Physics II final we got a copy of the previous semester's final from a friend. We studied it head to toe. And for once I actually went through all of my previous exams, quizzes and homework and redid every problem.

    When it came time for the final, I went in with a felt-tip pen (not pencil), was the first finished, and aced the f@#cker, 100%. I did not have to cross out a single thing, I just did all 8 p

  • The final and the homework were equivalent points- and I only needed 29 more points for an A, out of 100 multiple guess questions scored on a scantron machine. So I did the ultimate nerdy thing- brought in a ruler with my #2 pencil, answered the first 29 questions very carefully, then took a ruler and marked "C" for the rest. Final score was 73%.
  • The night before his English Lit class, one of the morons on our dorm floor had to cram all night long since he hadn't done any of the reading or assignments for the class all semester long. I don't know how many of those No-Doze caffeine/uppers pills he took. All I know is that he had overdosed so badly that his hands wouldn't stop shaking. He found it quite difficult to write essays in the blue book with his hands spasming the entire time.

    Remeber kids, use drugs with care. They aren't candy.

    GMD

  • Not an exam perse, but still funny.

    Back in my junior year in High School, I was out sick for a week. During that week the teacher had mentioned a test: we'd have to read a play (I think any American-written play) and we'd be given a test on it. Well, this message didn't get back to me and we didn't discuss it during the few days I was back from my sick leave.

    A few minutes before class I see EVERYONE reading a different paperback book and I realize something's off. I ask around, and I find out a test is t
  • If you're going to fail anyway, decide to do so beforehand. It saves you all that worry.

    When it came to revision time, me and my best mate at uni had a choice. We could spend 4 weeks straight learning crystal structures and other shit for Materials, and we might scrape 50% in that one exam. Or we could spend that time revising everything else, and pass overall. Simple decision really. So come exam day, it was in there, names on papers, wait the required 15 minutes, walk out again, enjoy the sunshine.

    As
  • I showed up five minutes late to a psychology final in university. Seven minutes later, I had completed the exam (I was the first person in the class of about four hundred to do so). The exam was multiple choice. So I handed it in. I didn't do wonderfully in the class but I certainly did well above average.

    Another time, I was trying to get my friends to buy me alcohol before writing a programming final. I promised to drink all they'd buy me, then go write the exam. I picked my friends well, though, an
  • So I took a course back in the day that was meant as a way of convincing promising students to pursue a career in Chemistry. Instead of the usual boring intro to Chem class, this one had us performing MRIs on unknown chemicals, learning the basics of quantum theory... the works. Very, very interesting. And incidentally, bizarrely difficult.

    So, around comes finals time. We file in, grab our little blue books and about 40 pages of exam, and we're off and running. The first half of the test is your standa
    • Similar story: final exam for my very first programming class (undergraduate CS degree) : Pascal (granted, this is long ago). Very tough course, the professor was a maniac. We're allowed to bring in any documentation we want to the exam.

      The summer before, I had worked in a book distributor's warehouse. They were going to destroy slightly defective books, and gave us all a chance to pick up any book we wanted out of those piles. I took all the computer books they had, inlcuding a Pascal book. So I show up
  • by Kufat (563166) <kufat&kufat,net> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:44PM (#14319946) Homepage
    During my freshman year at RIT, I lived in a rather tiny dorm room. I kept my alarm clock on my bed, and one morning, the morning of a big CS exam, it got lodged between my bed and the wall, in such a manner that the snooze button was held down. I woke up about a minute into the exam, threw on some clothes, and hopped on a shuttle bus that was right outside my dorm. I got into the 1-hour test about 15 minutes late and was still the first one done. (I got a grade in the high 90's.)

    (That was also the same class where the professor once checked his e-mail on the projector and a message with a From: line of SuicideGirls.com was visible.)
  • by Don'tTreadOnMe (686201) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:48PM (#14320004)
    I was attending grad school at Virginia Tech, working towards a PhD in Economics (no, I never finished it).

    The professors there relished their difficult exams. Every exam was scheduled to take 2 hours. But they would let us all stay and keep working on the exams well after the time period was up. I remember one micro-economics exam that took 7 hours. Seven hours!

    During that exam, I noticed that the two Lithuanians kept getting up to go to the bathroom. Turned out they were writing answers on the stall walls and trading them.

    Meanwhile, a Chinese student in the back corner kept fiddling with her paper. Va Tech is on the Honor System, so the prof kept leaving the room, and wasn't there for large chunks of time. Someone finally complained to him about the Chinese girl, and sure enough, she had all of her notes from the semester out, and claimed she was using the back of them for scratch paper.

    So the prof took them to make an Honor Court case.

    Later that night, Chinese girl and her buddy sneak into the prof's office and take the evidence !

    I found out about this later because I was sitting on the Honor Court, and as I started hearing about the case, a bell went off in my head. "Umm, is this about the graduate Econ department?"

    Honor Court: "Why, yes it is. How did you know?"

    Me: "Because I am in that department. I'd heard rumors. I know these people."

    Honor Court: "Oh, well then you should leave. Sorry!"

    I always find it amusing that the Chinese girl transferred to the Marketing department, where I guess they don't care so much about cheating.

  • So there I was, living in South Dakota, working in restaurants, thinking that my brain was atrophying. It was.

    So I decided to take the GRE's and see about grad school, to try to keep my grey matter nimble. I read one of those guides, it seemed straight-forward, so I signed up.

    I had to drive out to Sheridan, WY to take the test, since they weren't offering one in SD anytime soon. I drove out the night before, found a hotel, and drove around looking for a place to have a nice leisurely dinner, maybe a

    • Some people are just good at tests. I'm one of them. I was at a Hooters in my college town with some friends on finals week, and I owed one of them a pitcher. I offered to buy a pitcher, and everyone just looked at me like I was stupid, and the waitress was all "Well, only stupid people drink during finals."

      I was like, my bad... I didn't realize that taking tests was something HARD to do.

      BTW, I took the GRE too, scored 790 of 800 on the analytical, but my verbal was just "average". I just can't track al
  • The general format was four sections: I believe one was verbal, one mathematical, and one analytical, plus an "extra" fourth secection which was just another verbal or mathematical or analytical section--I got analytical as the fourth section.

    I don't know which of the two analytical sections actually "counted" toward my final score. One section was quite hard, and the second was amazingly easy, so the answer may be obvious, but I don't know for sure. My resulting score on the analytical section was very, ve
  • In high school, we had an assignment to do a 3-page paper about some Shakespeare story. I forget which one, but it involved some characters overhearing part of a conversation and getting the wrong idea. (It goes without saying that I didn't read the book/play/story/whatever.) I wrote a 2 and 1/3-page paper based mostly on what the teacher said in class* and made comparisons to the sitcom "3's Company" which often relied on the partially-overheard-conversation as a plot device.

    Not only did that paper garner
  • In a Spanish class in HS, my teacher suspected that a student sitting next to me was cheating, so he asked me if I would intentionally answer several questions incorrectly in a pre-determined way. I did so, and when he compared my answers with the guy sitting next to me, it was obvious that he cheated....and these were fill-in answers, not multiple-choice, so the cheating wasvery, vey obvious.

    The guy threatened to kick my butt after class, but we worked it out and eventually became friends!
  • High school physics taught by a phys ed teacher. We were doing vectors and the examples leading up to the exam were things like "Plane goes 300mph max, 50mph headwind, what's the groundspeed". Teacher made up his own question for the exam -- something like "dude can bike 30kph max, how fast does he go into a 5kph wind" I knew he wanted 25, but that is clearly not the true answer so I said "something less than 30 but greater than 25" with a brief explaination of drag. He marked me wrong and 15 years later I
    • If you knew the answer he was wanting, why not just give it to him?
      Was the purpose of the test to get the marks or to be "right".

      I admit it's one issue I struggle with myself, but I've given up the fight and I'm telling people what they want to hear more and more.
  • I came down with a serious case of flu just before my last final exam before the Christmas break. I was doing major projectile vomiting and feeling terrible. Later in the day, I dragged myself down to the student health center and got a note from the doctor there who vouched that I was too sick to write the exam.

    A went to the Professor's office a couple of days later when I was feeling better to explain the situation and ask about a re-sit. It was a small class and he noticed that I wasn't there for the ex

  • by HawkingMattress (588824) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:45PM (#14320800)
    I've chosen the bad door when going to my first year final exam of english language...
    I found the exam pretty difficult and couldn't answer some of the questions. Somehow, i noticed that I didn't know any of the people passing the exam with me but it didn't ring an alarm. When i gave my exam papers to the professor who was supervising us, he couldn't find me in the list... he asked my who my teacher was for this dicipline, and said:
    Wait... $professor doesn't teach to 4th grade students !
    Me: 4th grade ? I'm in first grade !
    Supervisor: (starts laughing a lot... ) Well you must have found the exam pretty difficult, this is the 4th grade exam....
    Me: do'h...
    He then proceeded to correct my paper just for the fun of it... and it wasn't that bad after all ;)
  • I had a physics prof who put underscores spaced out for people to neatly print their names on the test form. You know like _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . I have a long hyphenated last name, 10 letters hyphen 11 letters. After the first exam he noticed my name didn't fit the lines. From then on all exams had a last name slot that was _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  • A Day in the Strife (Score:3, Informative)

    by argel (83930) <argel.msn@com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @03:55PM (#14320940) Homepage
    In my Chemistry mid-term one student came in about 10-15 minutes. After sitting down he took one look at the test, signed his name to it, handed it in, and then walked out! To this day none of us can figure out why he even showed up.

    In Music Appreciation several of the multiple choice answers were Star Trek references. Hmm, was it Patrick Stewart or Bach who walked over 200 miles to Lübeck? ;-) In the same class I stopped studying for the tests (except the listening portion) and my test scores actually went up! Meanwhile, one of the baseball players and some hot girl hitting on him were flunking the class. It's beyond my comprehension how that was even possible! I mean, I would have to conciously decided to flunk!!
    • by yamla (136560)
      At my university, you automatically fail a course if you don't write the final exam, even if the final is only worth 10%, and no matter how good your grade was going in. In fact, when I was a student, you'd get a 1 out of 9 (the grading scheme has since changed). In that case, it makes sense to walk in, write your name, hand it in, and leave.
  • I spent a year teaching, and found that giving exams is so much more interesting than taking them. :-)

    I used to publish my lecture notes prior to a test and encouraged my students to read them. One time, in the middle of those notes, I put in a comment like this:

    "For those of you willing to take the time to read these notes, I'm giving extra credit. I'm going to put a question on the test that reads 'What is the answer to the secret question?', to which you'll reply 'xyzzy'. Please don't tell anyone

    • So you punished students who grasped the material while it was being taught and didnt need to study from your lecture notes (not a requirement, just optional)?
      Thats not intersting, or enjoyable, you're just an ass.
      If you want to give extra credit to kids who will do optional things, just tell them that one hour of community service with a group from {list of groups} will give them the credit. Everyone has a shot, and it helps the community.
      • So you punished students who grasped the material while it was being taught and didnt need to study from your lecture notes (not a requirement, just optional)?

        I know that some students don't like it, but I judge them not only on their coding abilities but on their ability to follow instructions as well. When I say "I strongly encourage you to read the lecture notes", it should give them a pretty good hint that there's something important there. I had a similar policy with the textbook. While I didn't r

  • I showed up for a CS exam feeling like crap, hadn't studied (I never did though), wasn't really in the mood. Well, the test was pretty hard but I was doing ok. I figured I had enough points in the rest of the class to maintain a good final grade at the end of the semester. So the guy next to me starts erasing page after page. I'm in shock that he would do something like this, and am just staring at him, watching the whole spectacle.

    The prof sees and calls me up to the front of the room. He tried to kick me
  • Ok, so this fall semester that just ended, I was taking a course in MPI Programming. It happened that it was my 4th consecutive class with the same instructor, who I'd gotten to know fairly well by then. And because the HPC program at this school is lightly attended, and I was taking a night class, I was the only student in the class. Anway, the "final exam" was set to be a programming assignment, which was to be of my choosing.

    But the next to last night of class, the instructor asks me what I still have
  • by yuri benjamin (222127) <yuridg@gmail.com> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:31PM (#14321384) Journal
    I sat a physics exam when these fancy types of calculators were quite new.
    We were allowed to use them as long as we showed the exam supervisors that we cleared the memory first.
    I loaded it with notes and programmed one of the menu buttons to display the message "Memory Clear" so I could *ahem* "clear" it in front of one of the exam supervisors.

    Then I had an attack of conscience and cleared it for real before I actually used any of the stored notes.
  • Blind Luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tsstahl (812393) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @04:55PM (#14321680)
    C++ Final. The bulk of the grade was actually the programming. The final was only worth 20% of the grade, but failing the final was an automatic failure of the class (threat, prof actually handed out incompletes). Anyway, we're allowed one page of notes for the test. I decide to type the code listing of the last program of the text since it used every aspect of C++ covered in the textbook.

    The final exam is the exact program and several pages of questions about it. I finished in record time with a perfect score. I even corrected unintentional typos on the exam. Unfortunately, I think I've used my lifetime store of luck for that one test.
  • by mrgrey (319015) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @05:03PM (#14321771) Homepage Journal
    A friend of mine had a physics exam in college and the prof told the class that anything they could fit on a 8.5x11 sheet of paper could be used on the test. Come test day everyone had their "cheat sheets" out on their desk. My friend came into class with a physics phd he knew, put the piece of paper down next to his desk and had the phd stand on it. He aced the test.
  • The story goes that it was at the end of one of the numberous big exams (i.e Freshman Engineering Physics) at the Purdue Hall of Music, wth something like 2k people taking an exam at once. The professor at the front of the room calls out that it's time to put the pencils down and start turning in the papers, which everyone dutifully does, except for one guy in the 5th row, who is still scribbling away furiously. Exams are collected, students begin to leave the auditorium. The guy who kept on writing fina
  • This was my final exam, by which I mean it was my last year of university, and the last scheduled exam of the year. Like most people in my position, I had done the math beforehand. To graduate, I needed a bunch of required and optional courses. I had them. I needed an overall average of greater than 60, and my average was high enough that this wasn't a problem: even with 0 in this course, my overall would be fine. Besides, in this course, the exam only counted for 1/4 of the final mark, and I had done
  • I took an English class back in my freshman year at Northeastern, and a friend of mine was in the class with me. I was a Poli Sci major, my friend was an accounting major, so the class was a little easier for me, and she and I would study together. For the midterm, we were supposed to read and analyze the Dorothy Parker novella "Big Blonde".

    Well, I basically blew it off. My friend, on the other hand, worked very hard on it, spend several days with the story, and wrote the analysis exactly as requested.
  • It wasn't a final, but I walked into class one morning and one of my classmates asked, "So are you ready for the exam?" "Uhh...what exam?"

    I scored my first and only 100 on any exam in college.
  • Old joke from TV show "Taxi":

    Driving test question: What do you do when you come up to a yellow light?

    whispered reply: slow down

    What....do...you...do...when...you...come...up.. .to...a...yellow...light?

    slow down!

    What............do...........you............do.. ..........when.........you............come........ .......up

  • by Enry (630) <(enry) (at) (wayga.net)> on Thursday December 22, 2005 @09:24PM (#14323846) Journal
    By the first exam I realized that the subject was a bit out of my league, so I gave up and had fun with the professor, writing stuff like "the 34th amendment says I don't have to answer this question", writing jokes instead of answers, and just making stuff up.

    I knew this prof enough that I could get away with it (I previously showed up at an open-book exam wearing a hat with my notes stuffed in it and various notes written on my hands and arms). He graded on a severe curve and not out of 100% - a grade of 50 out of 300 could be passing. So he took it in stride. Mentioned that the 34th amendment didn't prevent him from giving me a negative score, pointed out the punchlines in my jokes were wrong and deducted points from that.

    When I got the exam back, the front page read "-120/300, but don't worry, it'll come out in the curve".

    As he's going through the answers, I and my friends are chuckling at the comments each of us made on the exam. Then the prof. got to the last question, a logic-based one (prove some theorem is correct). On that answer, I made up a rather lengthy logical path to prove the theory including a few references to handwaving. Turns out I was the closest to the correct answer.

    Never went back to the class, but crypto is still cool.
  • I also had one of those somebody's-copying-your-answers-so-you-get-them-w r ong-on-purpose episodes. In my case, the copier had flunked every single test so far, and after copying all of my answers, proudly went up to the professor and loudly stated that he had aced the test this time, getting everybody's attention. The professor says, "Oh really? Let me grade it right now." It was multiple choice, so lickity split he had the grade. Somehow he had gotten them all wrong! He would have been better off gu
  • I remember the day I took my SAT tests; I'd arrived at a nearby high school with a friend of mine and neither of us were sure which room to go to, having ambiguous directions and being unfamiliar with the building. As we wandered around, we began to realize we weren't the only ones who were unclear; more and more people began following us - did we somehow appear to know where we were going?

    Eventually we began to feel like parents of ducklings, and just started to have fun with it... I especially remember w
  • I had ditched the class just before the midterm when they announced a change to the room for the test. I showed up at the wrong room at 8:30am and had to wait for the Economics office to open at 9am to get the correct room. Started the test at 9:15.

    The test was a total of 20 questions worth 10 points each. I put down partial answers for 8 of the questions over the next 2:15. 10 of the questions I did not understand, at all. Not even a hint of what the hell it was talking about.

    I arrive to get my scores and

  • Many many years and beers ago, when I was in high school, I took coursework in calculus and physics. In these courses, some memorization is required for equations and such. However, I remembered just a few things in both and got through. My favorite exam was in physics. What I knew was that

    P=MV

    F=MA

    and concepts from the whole course. I worked on the "equation sheet" first, and took 3 pages to go from

    P=MV

    to E&M to light&optics, and then collapsed everything back to P=MV (equation for momen

  • by docbrown42 (535974) on Friday December 23, 2005 @11:27AM (#14326570) Homepage
    In college, I had to take an "Art since 1945" course for my major (Studio Art). The instructor's test were divided into 2 parts: a slide identification section, and an essay section. Once everyone had the test, he would show slides of different pieces, and we had to write down the artist and name of the piece. After he had gone through all the slides, the majority of the students would move onto the essays, but some would need another look at the slides, so he would go back to any slide if you asked.

    During a somewhat difficult test, after the first run through of the slides, a couple of students were asking for another look at some of the more difficult slides. One student, who apparently had the artist but not the name of a slide, asked "Can you put the Polluck back up, please?" (instead of asking for it by slide #). Without thinking, the instuctor put up the Polluck slide.

    There was a moment of silence, and then another student snickered. The instructor realized what he had done (told the class that the slide that was being shown was from Polluck), and turned red. A couple of other students, who had incorrect answers, quickly changed their sheets, and more people were chuckling. Finally, the instructor announced "As some of you have caught on, this piece is from Jackson Polluck. Make sure you have this slide labelled correctly." so that everyone else could benefit from his blunder.

    If I remember correctly, someone tried the same thing at the next test, but he didn't fall for it again.
  • by Hydro-X (549998) on Friday December 23, 2005 @05:51PM (#14328991)
    In my numerical methods class, we were taught two different methods to solve a particular problem. While studying for the midterm, my friends and I only studied one of them because it was faster to solve in an exam. Sure enough, we opened the midterm and found "Solve this problem by the method 'foo'.", where "foo" is obviously the method we hadn't studied.

    All of us tried to remember as best we could, but we all bombed it. All except my friend Chris. He remarked that the front of the paper said "Write down any assumptions you make." so he took out a black Sharpie, coloured in the part "by the method 'foo'." and wrote "assume these words do not exist" and proceeded to solve the problem by the other method. When the exams came back, he was awarded about 20% on that question, with the annotation "These are amusement marks. Normally you would have gotten 0."

    All subsequent exams had "Write down and justify any assumptions you make."

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