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Essential Thoughts For Your Next Exam

You stare blankly at the stack of pages just passed to you by your inept teaching assistant. This is it. The midterm. Your palms sweat. Loss of flatulence control was inevitable, you knew it. The person next to you stares contemptibly as your butt steadily increases the volume of methane gas in the room. You struggle to remember what class this test is for, then suddenly remember. This is the first Chemistry 120 test of the year and the only compound you can think of is OHNO3. You see the word “equilibrium” glare at you from the page and your mind turns to scrambled eggs in an instant. How could this happen?


Countless hours of studying on the ground floor of Hillman have lead up to this point, and, although the ground floor of Hillman is similar to the ground floor of the stock market, you still studied there. You arrived at the library, after telling at least three people on the way that you, “were pulling an all-nighter” and, “I’m screwed, this test will kill me,” even though the test is next Tuesday and it was 6 p.m. when you left. You asked all the teaching assistants countless times, “Will this be on the test?” and, after paging around the wrong chapters of your textbook, the teaching assistant answered most dependably, “Probably not.” This reassures you somehow. You have listened to the online recorded lectures while watching Netflix at least three times. You thought you were ready.


The first question whizzes into focus as you put on your glasses, first upside down, then right side up. You resolve to stop being so flustered.


Which of the following statements is not a proper explanation of how changes in a system do not affect the surroundings when a system is exothermic but not spontaneous?


A. The answer you want to pick
B. The correct answer
C. The most correct answer
D. An object that was thought up after the professor’s wife decided to divorce him
E. All of the above


You chuckle at answers D and E and cross them off completely. Everyone knows answer A is the correct answer 70% of the time chosen by dried up gray professors who make questions with real answers 50% of the time. Answers B and C look tantalizingly correct, but you can’t decide between them, so it must be neither of them. Trusting the foolproof logic and reasoning taught to you by the wound-up, anxious, and quirky AP teachers from high school chemistry, you move on to question 2.


If an oxygen atom is attached to a sulfur atom, which is also attached to three other oxygen atoms, which are not attached to anything except a sulfur atom, and this structure makes up an anion, what is the anion and what is its charge?


A. SO42−
C. Vinegar, 0+
D. Unobtainium, 0+
E. None of the above


Seeing through the obvious complexity of this tongue twister of a problem, you choose answer B. “If an anion has that charge, it could be attached to any number of other atoms which are attached to these atoms but not to any of the other prodigious atoms attached to other things,” you think. This is what the professor said the other day in lecture after staring at the chalkboard scribbles for around five minutes in silence. It has to be right. You have wasted thirty minutes by now working through these and other math problems. You solve the math problems getting obscenely large numbers as your answers, but not worrying anyways, you move on to the final question.


There were several demonstrations performed in class. Which one of these was performed in class?


A. The element BaCoN2 was dropped into a beaker of acid and dissolved
B. The element Oh (commonly known as “surprise”) was purified from a freshman chemistry major’s shattered beaker
C. Water was heated on a hot plate
D. The professor froze a small squirrel solid using liquid N2
E. All of the above


You mark this last answer out of fatigue, it is the last question of fifteen, and you wonder how professors are able to make tests like these. It is as if they don’t even read over the answers. You figure you’ll get an A-, the curve will be huge. You turn in your test.

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