Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kidneys, Nazis, giraffes!

Once again it's time for me to give you all some advice on how to pass your exams. I am well qualified to give such advice since I always pass my exams. Well, except for that Circuit Theory class back in 1993 which I crashed and burned in. But to be fair I was up against it from the start. The lecturers were biased against me purely because of my lack of knowledge and because I didn't hand in any of the assignments.

So here's how you do it:

Get plenty of sleep. Not in the exam itself though, I mean beforehand. Sleep is essential for your brain to file information into your long term memory, which is why we have dreams like the one I had where my tooth was the size of my fist and was filtering my blood like a kidney. That one was really useful. On the other hand, if it's the night before the exam, long term memory is not required so you're better off smoking some crack and staying up all night. Let me know how that works for you. Injecting adrenaline straight into your heart is also helpful, especially if someone is trying to kill you with nerve gas.

Get plenty of exercise. Again, not so much in the exam, although it is possible to run in the spot while sitting down, or to do some triceps lifts off your chair. This can actually help to calm you down and has the beneficial side effect of distracting the people around you. But you should be exercising every day just to burn off toxic metabolites and allow disinhibiation of the catecholamine residues that would otherwise antagonize your mesonephros. Plus it'll help you sleep better, which as I've already explained is good for you.

Eat plenty of hot chips with gravy. Delicious!

Learn some technical jargon so that your answers are buzzword compliant. Look back at the penultimate sentence in the advice about exercise. You were probably pretty impressed by how smart I sounded, right? And if you were marking my exam paper, you'd say "Wow! This guy must have, like, three PhDs in physiomology. Top marks for him!" But here's the secret - it's all a bluff. I just totally made up that stuff. Here are some terms that sound really impressive but no-one actually knows what they mean, so they are perfect for playing this kind of bullshit bingo: tyrosine kinase, cytochrome P450, pregnenenenolone, syncytiotrophoblast, artery of Drummond, prophase II, spleen.

Dress in layers. I learned this one from bushwalkers. The idea is that if you get too hot you can just peel off the outer layer of clothes, and if a bushfire comes through you can put extra clothes on to protect yourself from the radiant heat. Initially you'll feel hot because you'll be all amped up and your sympathetic nervous system will be making you all jumpy. But an hour into the exam you'll feel much colder because you'll have had a stroke from smoking all that crack the night before and the thermoregulatory centre of your brain will be necrosing, so you'll want to have a jacket to put on or you'll be uncomfortable.

Go to the toilet immediately before the exam. Squeeze really hard. It will force extra blood up to your brain and make you smarter. That's why Einstein had crazy-hair. And how smart was he? (As a corollary, try not become sexually aroused during the exam. As a corollary to that corollary, try to avoid sitting with me in your line of sight.)

If you're having trouble remembering stuff, make up some awesome mnemonics. I've posted on this topic before, so I'll just give a brief example. Yesterday I was having trouble remembering that the three layers of the adrenal cortex are the zona glomerulosa, zona fasciculata, and zona reticularis. So I thought to myself: the glomerulosa produces aldosterone which acts on the kidneys which have glomeruli in them, the fasciculata sounds like fascists and no-one's ever going to forget the fascists, and the most common giraffe subspecies in Kenya is the reticulated giraffe. So instead of having to remember those long and complicated terms from other languages, I now just have to remember "kidneys, Nazis, giraffes". It's so easy!

Finally, hedge your bets. Begin every answer with the phrase, "It has been proposed that..." Even if you write something which is completely wrong they have to give you marks for it, because what you've written is correct in the meta-environment of the exam itself. To illustrate, if I write "It has been proposed that the pancreas produces hydrochloric acid to digest the adjacent spleen", a shallow thinker may simply contradict me and claim that I am wrong. However, it has indeed been proposed by myself in that very sentence! How do you like them beans?

Well, those are the secrets of my success. If you have any other tips feel free to pass them on to fellow readers in the comments block below. But don't circulate this information too widely, if we all pass someone will get suspicious.

Good luck to you all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

cunning and elegant. Keep up the good work