One thought on “Master the test – Do not let it master you!

  1. I was told this story by a student in my science department in college:
    A brilliant science student in my college – Rodney – was taking his physics graduation written exam. If you missed any questions you had to appear before a committee of professors and atone for your mistakes verbally in an “oral exam.” The last question on the test was: “Given a barometer how could you determine the height of the science building?”

    Rodney aced every question on the test except the last one…the barometer question…to which he replied, “I would find the architect and say, ‘I will give you this brand new barometer if you will tell me how tall the science building is.'”

    When called into the big Inquisition Room to face three of his professors, his adviser said with a smile, “Rodney, you are one of the most brilliant science students on campus. But this last answer was – well, frankly – silly. We know you know the right answer so what was wrong with you when you answered this in such an unscientific fashion?”

    Rodney replied, “Well, first of all I did not think it silly. The world works like that sometimes…expediently. Scientific methods have to be adaptable to be any good. Truth is, there is RARELY only ONE answer.”
    The adviser pursued, “Humor us, Rodney. What IS the correct answer?”
    Rodney looked surprised, “You don’t get what I am saying??? Okay, okay: I know you wanted me to say, ‘Measure the mercury level of the barometer on the roof, then again on the ground and compute the difference…based on normal barometric readings, yes? But that is only one RIGHT answer. For example, here is another: Drop the barometer from the roof and time how long it takes to crash onto the ground then figure at the traditional 32 ft per second, per second ratio to determine the distance it fell.
    ORRRRR Measure the height of the barometer, put the barometer on the ground next to the science building and after measuring its shadow length and the science building’s a simple algebraic equation will give you the accurate height of the building.
    “Okay, stop, stop!” said the adviser. “Get out of here. You passed.”

    There is NEVER only one right way to do something….

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