Taking an 18.02 Test

Taking an 18.02 Test

So one day at Hot Cocoa my senior year, the freshmen were complaining that the first 18.02 test of the year was coming up, and of course were quite worried about it since it would be among their first tests at MIT. So of course this gave some upperclassmen some ideas. Swifty suggested that several of us show up to the test, and pretend to be freshmen. Several of us thought that this would be neat, and decided to do it.

So I show up at the time of the class, and none of the other upperclassmen who'd said they would be there had shown up. I was about to leave, when Nikho appeared, and we decided to do it with just the two of us. So we walk into the lecture hall, I take a seat in the back of the hall, he takes a seat off to the side. The test is handed out to this room of 500 scared freshmen who've never taken an MIT test before. I look at it, start doing it, made it through 4 of the 6 problems in 10 minutes (it's amazing how much of that stuff I used in my 4 years in the physics curriculum). At that point, 10 minutes into the test, I stood up, slammed my little folding desk thing down, grabbed my back pack and started walking slowly down the aisle (remember I'm doing this from the back of the room for maximum effect).

The TA who's administering the test walks over to me as I reach the front of the room, to answer my question - or so he thought. I just handed the test to him, and turned away, to head back up the aisle. He exclaimed, "You're done?!" I turned around, looked at him, said in a fairly loud voice, "Yeah! It was easy!" and started heading up the aisle. I look up at the room. There sat 500 freshmen, who thought they knew their stuff, who had been the best of the best, sitting there with their mouths hanging open, and their faces proclaiming, "I feel sooooo dumb." It was classic to have messed with so many people's minds at once.

Three minutes later, Nikho turned in his test, and left as well. As it turned out, we both had signed our tests, David Honig, which was a dead give-away. However, our sources in the class (i.e. TEP's freshmen) said no announcement was made to alleviate the obvious angst of the remaining freshmen. This was one of those things I always wanted to do but never had the guts to. But I finally did it my senior year, and it was a lot of fun!

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Eric Nehrlich's WWW home page / nehrlich@alum.mit.edu