Smaller Text Gets Bigger Chances

, , , , , , | Learning | December 1, 2017

(My freshman biology teacher allows us to bring a single 3×5 card of notes to our final exam. She warns us that she will measure the card, so it had better not be any larger than three inches by five inches. Some of us are more creative than others.)

Student #1: *hands over his card for inspection*

Teacher: *whips out her own 3×5, plops it down in the middle of the student’s, frowns* “As I thought, yours is too big. Thought I was joking?”

(She traces around her card, pulls out her shears, and cuts off all four sides, leaving him with a notecard that is exactly 3×5, but is missing huge chunks of information. She then stamps the card, hands it back to the horrified student, and turns to the next kid.)

Student #2: *smugly* “Here you are!”

(The card looks a mess, with cramped red ink in one direction overlaid by equally small blue writing going perpendicular to the red.)

Teacher: *lays her card over his, and it’s exactly the right size, so she stamps it and hands it back* “Just curious, but how exactly do you plan to read that?”

Student #2: *pulls out an old set of 3D glasses, the kind with one blue lens, and one red lens* “With these! When I look through this side, I can only see the red ink. And when I look through the other, I only see the blue!”

Teacher: “Huh. Well, all right, then. Good luck.” *turns to me* “And your card?”

(I pull out a 3×5 card onto which I have glued meticulously sized printer paper, covered in size one font.)

Me: “I couldn’t get it to print straight onto the card, so I had to print it out and glue it on. But I promise, it’s only one layer, and you can even tape down the edges, if you want.”

Teacher: *checks the size, prises up an edge to see that I’m telling the truth, and gives it her stamp of approval* “You’re good. But it’s going to be awfully hard to read something that small.”

Me: “I should be fine. But, just in case…” *I reach into my pocket and pull out a toy magnifying glass* “It’s only ten times magnification, but that’s plenty.”

Teacher: *starts laughing* “What is with this class?”

(Sadly, most everyone else had fairly standard cards, and maybe two more got trimmed. I don’t know how the others did, but [Student #2] and I aced it.)

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