Clever student writes two words and passes exam with an A

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the stories,professor hands out exam of a single question and all the students,save one,start writing frantically,giving examples and expounding on theories taking up the allotted time for the exam.The lone student ponders a few seconds,writes down two words and turns in his paper,the impressed teacher rewards the student with a double A+.
The two examples I can think of at the moment are;

Essay question-What is courage?
Clever Students answer-This is.


Professor sets chair in front of class and tells the class to prove to him the chair doesn’t exist.
Clever students answer-What chair?

I know there are other versions,which have you heard?

Do you know of a student actually trying something similar?
How bad of a grade did the student get?

Philosophy class. The final exam is one question: “Why?”

The two A papers:

“Why Not?”


My high school requires, among other things, an essay for application. A couple of years ago, the question was “What is daring?” Apparently one kid wrote much the same thing, “This is.” and got in.


I’d love to be able to pull it off on a paper (with the real one written just in case…)

The only thing I’ve heard like this was in some article or other I read where some student in a final exam put his head between the pages of his exam book and then placed his head on the exam table. I don’t recall what he response was.

Sounds like laziness and/or smartassery to me. But then again, it’s kind of a dumb question to begin with.

I read once about a student in France taking his oral exam for entrance (yes an oral exam for entrance) to one of the Grande Ecoles. He was asked to give the definition or “audacity,” at which point was purported to have stood up and walked out of the room.

That should be DOES not doesn’t

Been there done that. :slight_smile:
In highschool I got the highest qualification for a section of a literature exam about Romanticism with a single sentence, it wasn´t two words but no more than 20 or 25 while the average for the others was from half a page to a full one.
I don´t recall exactly what I wrote, but it was quite intense.

You sure? The answer “what chair?” makes a little sense to the question “prove the chair doesn’t exist,” but no sense I can make out in response to the question “prove the chair exists.”


No I am not sure.I only changed it because I looked at the Snopes link and thats how it was worded there,then after I changed it I got to thinking it was right with doesn’t.So instead of posting about it being does or doesn’t again I was just hoping it would slide.

This post doesn’t exist.

Huh? I don’t follow this at all.

One of my computer students has this picture as his desktop.

Cracks me up every time I see it.

From what I got (probably an uran legend) it went like this:

Question: Define courage

Paper: This is.

Grading: F

Final comments by professor: ‘No, that was stupid.’

Now that one I like. I laughed out loud. :smiley:

I was teaching a class at an Aviation mechanics school in 1969 when a class came through that was really sharp, and smart ass and plain fun. They were all going to get A’s for that month. So, on the second to last test I did the “Read the whole test before answering any questions.” sentence in the instructions. The last question was the, “What is your name? Fill it in and hand in the paper without answering any of the questions.” statement.

I had two that followed the instructions and were smart enough to sit still ( grinning at me for ear to ear ) for about 10 minutes, which was about enough time for a speed reader to get through the test. Then they turned in their papers and quickly left. A few puzzled heads turned to watch them. About 20 minutes later I saw a few pained faces look up at me and (I 'shushed them) who kept quiet while they sheepishly turned in their papers with all the answers erased. LOL

In a few more minutes I started hearing some low cussing coming from various parts of the room and in a few minutes, all had left in a most disgruntled state.

I harassed them for a week about how I was going to kill their grade average with that test and they would not be the highest ranking class to ever go through that subject. (*:: of course I did not do that but I had fun for a week with it. :: *

They were a fun bunch to teach and we all had a good time. Of course then the word was out and for months afterward all the students would really check the instructions.

I still remember the fun parts of that job while the bad parts seem to have become not so bad somehow.

That ‘gag’ has been around a long time because it sure was not original to me. I have no idea now where I heard it from. I had some sneaky high school teachers and maybe it was from there.

It puts the Professor in a tough spot. He either has to acknowledge that there is a chair there, and thus acknowledge that the chair exists, or refuse to point out the chair rendering his question meaningless.

Slight hijack, but somewhat related.
Though I can’t vouch for its authenticity, I found this damned amusing.

I swear this really happened to me.
I was a vocational instructor, teaching boiler maintenance. These are “fire tube” boilers, where the heat from combustion travels through tubes, surrounded by water, to produce steam. The tubes need to be cleaned from time to time due to a buildup of the byproducts of combustion. This is accomplished by passing a cylindrical metal brush, connect to a long metal rod, through the tubes, much like cleaning the barrel of a weapon, or a baby bottle. Since the metal brush is slightly larger than the tube, it must pass out the other end before reversing the stroke. Reversing the the direction in mid stroke can result in having the brush becoming irretrievably stuck in the tube, resulting in extensive and costly repairs.
On the exam, which I wrote, I asked: "What would be the result of reversing a cleaning brush in midstroke? I had used this exam question many times w/o a problem, they either understood the procedure, or they didn’t, until I went to grade the test resuklts of one particular student. His answer was: “A brush fire.”
I marked it correct and rewrote the question for future exams.

In a junior-year history class, I got an A on a paper comparing early American imperialism (Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, the Phillipines, etc.) to WWII-era Japanese imperialism. The next semester, I had a paper about Julius Caesar due for another History or Humanities class or somesuch. When it became clear that I had procrastinated too long and it was now too late to start the paper, I had a brilliant idea–bring up the old imperialism paper and replace the nouns and names with those appropriate for Caesar’s time. I did actually turn it in, and I tried to slip it into the middle of the pile, but my misdirection attempt failed and the teacher picked it up and started reading it immediately. I owned up to it and ended up getting an extension for the real paper.