Gag! I am going to puke

By Melanie McNaughton

You’re desperate. The exam is in less than two hours, and you spent the entire week resting and relaxing in order to feel prepared. Your fate hangs in the balance and your life flashes before your eyes. For those of you growing weary and faint of heart, don’t worry. This is your how-to guide on getting out of an exam–chock full of information and not entirely unlike the study guide you were going to read last night.

Few things will reduce a professor to mush as easily as tears, except the mention of published teaching evaluations. Waylay your professor in their office, in the hallway, or (best of all) in front of the lecture theatre moments before the exam starts. Even the most mean-spirited and suspicious (read: wizened) professor will balk at making an obviously distraught student write an exam. Either way, if you’re bawling your eyes out in front of 500 people in a lecture theatre, you’re obviously too unbalanced to write the exam.

However, sobbing is only an effective tool if you provide the professor with a reason for your distress, other than the obvious (you haven’t studied and you’re desperate to save your grade). Mumble out an incoherent sentence about a "family emergency." Use as vague an explanation as possible: Aunt Jeannie can only pass on so many times and you will then need to remember which family member died for which exam. Clearly, if you had any capacity to remember things, you wouldn’t be in this situation.

If your acting skills are on par with your studying skills and you fear that you cannot pull this manoeuvre off, there is another side to the family emergency option: find a tape of the last episode of M*A*S*H/Dynasty/Knots Landing/Welcome Back, Kotter, fast-forward it to the final, climactic scene and then phone your professor. Several obviously (and sincerely) distraught messages on your professor’s voice mail, at the faculty office, and at home during the time of the exam ought to do the trick.

Aside from a family emergency, there is another method of escape: the doctor’s note. There are only so many creative ways to fake an illness but one option is to do push-ups while holding your breath until the blood vessels in your face pop. Explain to your doctor that the exploded blood vessels are the result of vomiting all night. It also wouldn’t hurt eat a can of tuna before you go, to mimic post-puking breath.

For those of you who either desire to lend a modicum of sincerity to this process, or are too afraid to fake an illness or a family emergency, you can choose to go the distance. A spoonful or two of rat poison is sure to get you admitted to any emergency room in the city (if we only had any), and provide the much-sought-after doctor’s note–you might die in the process though.

If you don’t want to do actual physical harm to yourself, and aren’t up to lying to your instructor, go to Counseling Services. They will help you get your exam deferred, and will work with you on developing better study habits or techniques.

Following these sure and easy techniques is sure to get you out of any exam, granting you the respite you longed for, and deservedly earned. Until, of course, the next deadline, at which time you proceed once more to the beginning.

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