Saturday, August 4, 2012

Exam Tips from Acts of Minor Treason

I've been out of the school system for a while now, long enough that those occasional confused dreams that I've got to go write an exam for a class I'd forgotten having registered for have been replaced by occasional confused dreams where I'm convinced I've forgotten to do something important at work. Still, my five years in university gave me experience that I'm eager to pass across to the next generation, especially when it's on a day during which my skull is empty and nothing is rattling loud enough for me to write about it.

Versions of these exam tips originally ran in _Absynthe_, Trent University's alternative newspaper, in 2003 and 2004. Even though it's still the beginning of August, Google searches don't care when a particular post went up the onramp onto the information superhighway (or, as some call it, the "infobahn"). If you're starting university this year, then good luck to you... your first set of exams are only four months away!
  • A good night's sleep is a must before any exam. However, be careful to avoid inducing sleep via a sledgehammer to the skull.
  • Mnemonic devices are a useful method of retaining crucial information prior to an exam. The 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic, however, is not an appropriate substitute.
  • Above all, don't worry about failing the exam. Save your terror for watching the last bus back to campus drive away, just as you reach the stop.
  • Some people think that consuming something will grant you its powers and abilities. With that in mind, don't bother studying - just set fire to your notes and eat the ashes.
  • Everyone gets stressed out at exam time. Try to take the edge off by building a sophisticated, impenetrable fort in the library stacks where you can study in peace and vaporize anyone who comes too close with your laser turrets.
  • When stabbing fellow students in the eyes, be sure the pencil you are using is legal under examination guidelines.
  • Ingenuity can outperform pure knowledge when it comes to writing the exam. At some point in the future, be sure to get your hands on a time machine and send the correct answers for those essay questions to yourself.
  • Although the dead are technically exempt from writing exams, be careful. That dude with the robe and wizard's hat you met downtown might just be lying when he says he can reanimate corpses.
  • Cybernetics might be expensive, but at least that shiny metal wrist of yours won't give out on you twenty minutes into a three-hour exam.

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