Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

“Here They Come!”

I suppose I have no choice but to write about exams, given that it’s been hard to think about anything but for the past few days. “Practice tests” are instruments of the devil. It’s cruel and unusual punishment to make ourselves take practice tests. Are prisoners on death row forced to take “practice tests?” Sit in the chair… just for practice. Strap you in… just for practice. We’ll flick the switch… just for practice. Sit there, get some electricity through you… and we’ll let you out just before we’ve turned the dial up too high. But don’t forget to take a look at these “model results” of what it’ll look like when you get the real thing. It’ll make you sleep easier at night.

I’ve come up with a list of 25 things not to do the night before an exam. Other writers may have been able to come up with as many as ninety, some as few as four. The mean is probably around 15, but only answers that incorporated substantive policy discussion were able to reach beyond that and score in the 30s. Oops. I’m copying language from a model answer for a practice test. Forgive me. Here’s the list.

1. Install reverse-antivirus-software on your computer
2. Try a new antihistamine
3. Take part in a sleep-deprivation experiment
4. Watch any show on UPN (it’ll lower your IQ)
5. Smash your laptop to bits
6. Play with your roommate’s shotgun
7. Burn your casebook
8. Remove the batteries from your alarm clock
9. Rinse out your disk drive
10. Spray pepper spray in your eyes
11. Stop breathing
12. Begin making a course outline
13. Drink
14. Drink bleach
15. Drink bleach followed by fabric softener (remember, it’s fabric softener *before* bleach!)
16. Tie your shoes together
17. Forget how to read
18. Sleep under the stars (and over the ice)
19. Go orienteering without a compass
20. Undercook your chicken
21. Handcuff yourself to your bed
22. Swallow a bottle of laxatives
23. Learn how to use a chainsaw
24. Buy some invisible ink toner for your printer
25. Make a list of 25 things not to do the day before an exam in lieu of studying (shoot!)

It would be fun if exams were written in the style of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. “Annie Ames files a suit in federal court after being hit by a bus in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The bus was driven by Howard Dean, who in his spare time fancies himself a viable candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. It was a bus headed from Miami, Florida to Portland, Maine. The long way. It was operated by United Airlines. Because their airplane business went bankrupt. If the court can exert personal jurisdiction, go to Question 2. If not, got to Question 3.”

“Question 2. Oops. Annie Ames has fallen into a manhole on the way to court. She lands in Panama City, and expresses an intention to remain there indefinitely. She marries Billy Backwoods, half-Brazilian and half-New Hampshirite. When they divorce, should the witch doctor who oversees the divorce proceeding use Panama law, or the law of Singapore, where the witch doctor was born and still owns property in. If Panama, go to question 4. If Singapore, you’ve been caned and your story is over. Hand in the exam or return to the beginning and choose a new path.”

That seemed like a funnier idea to me before I wrote it. Oh well. In any event, here’s 10 more things not to do the night before an exam:

1. Contract Lyme disease
2. Play hide and seek with your contact lenses
3. Begin outlining for your spring semester classes
4. Let a friend borrow your cerebellum
5. Do-it-yourself home enema kit
6. Translate your class notes into pig latin
7. Turn the thermostat up as far as it will go and try to sweat off those last few holiday pounds
8. Finally take that pregnancy test you’ve been planning on taking
9. Reformat your hard drive
10. Make a list of 10 more things not to do the night before an exam. Damn!

That’s all, folks…