Exam Confessions

An exam room with a superimposed image of a person putting their index over their mouth in a "shh" gesture

Image: ©️ Montage put together by Lex Rodriguez with “Day 23 – Exam hall” by jackhynes is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. and “(245/365) Mwah shhh ponder” by Sarah G… is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Ever (gasp!) cheated on an exam? Ever seen someone else cheat? Or did you ever fail miserably and dramatically at an exam? You’re not alone! UNIL students tell us all about their scandalous secrets and epic fails surrounding their past exams. Don’t tell anyone!


✍👀
“For some reason, when I was a kid, my classmates always thought I was really good at tests so they always wanted to copy my answers. However, growing up, I very quickly developed a very adult-looking and not always very legible hand-writing which prevented others from copying my answers and these kids had the AUDACITY to ask me to write more legibly so they could copy my answers. Shaking my head.”

🕵️‍♂️🎧🎥
“Not me but a friend, who cheated on a German written exam so hard that they got a team of friends to help them: They wore long, baggy clothes under which they had set up a receiver for an earpiece (FBI-style), as well as a concealed camera which could capture images of the test sheet. One friend would get a streamed video of the camera’s feed and work on answering the questions in German. Another friend worked with a microphone to transmit the answers to my friend who would then copy them out. Two other friends were there to stand watch and make sure that the relay team wasn’t found out by the examiners. They ended up passing their exam :)”

🙊
“To this day after years here I still put my name where I have to put my surname and vice versa. But worst of all I put my student number where the teachers should put my grade”

🧾🦵
“When i still was in middle/high school, the best strategy was always the post-it note on the chair, in between the thighs. Just slightly spread your legs, and poof, get all the knowledge you need.”

📝✔
“My high school math teacher was too lazy to give us test sheets, so she’d always just tell us to bring a pad of sheets of paper. A few times we had to learn proofs of theorems by heart, so just copied those demonstrations on the last pages of the pad, and discretly check those out. I even once directly used a sheet with the proof pre-written and turned that one in.”

📱👻
“I don’t know why, but during a preparation for my oral exam I found out that my phone was still in my pockets. I was prepared so I didn’t use it but I still sent snaps to all of my friends telling them about it. I was much more worried about hiding it once I entered the class LOL”

🚪🔒🥶
“I had my very first oral exam ever in 32 years of life this past exam session. I was really nervous for weeks leading up to it. The morning of the exam, about 10 minutes before go time, I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air on an Anthropole 5th floor balcony. I was nervous & distracted, & figured I should check to see if the door automatically locks from the outside after it was already closed. I locked myself out in the cold until the supervising prof came by and kindly let me back inside…. so beware of balconies with no ash trays!”

🎒🔊🎶
“I’m a nightowl, which means my alarms are set pretty late in the morning since I go to bed pretty late too. So, I had a written exam once starting at 8am. Around 10am I start hearing some Billy Joel music, and I was like ‘oh someone is listening to Billy Joel outside, NICE!’ and then it occured to me that it was my alarm coming from my phone in my backpack that was chilling against the wall x)”

😬📐🤦‍♂️
“I’ve always been terrible in maths. In high school the day I was going to pass my oral math exam I got to school early and ran into my maths teacher and the expert who was this little old man who seemed very kind. My teacher introduced us and told him that I was going to pass my exam with them later in the day, and I looked at the expert and told him ‘I’m really sorry for what you are about to witness.’ He laughed and with a sweet smile and look in his eyes answered that he was sure it was going to be okay and that I was just stressed out. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t and that I simply already knew I was going to fail big time, and he wouldn’t believe me. Fast forward to my exam. It was going so bad, the little old man was growing more desperate and impatient and restless by the minute. He must have stood up 3 or 4 different times to come to the blackboard and correct everything I was doing wrong while growing frustrated at my lack of skills. My maths teacher was laughing the whole time. He knew how bad I was and I guess he was expecting this entertainement hahaha”

👀❓❔⁉🤔
“During a written exam I once noticed another student acting a bit sketchy. I couldn’t quite figure out what they were doing and to this day I’m still not sure. They had a bunch of small cheat sheets, and they also seemed to be filming or taking pictures of their paper with a small device (it looked too small to be a smartphone, might have been an old timey phone or an iPod), while holding their exam sheet upside down for some reason (?!). They also kept looking around them which made them look extra conspicuous. An invigilator eventually noticed their strange behaviour. When I got out of the exam and met up with classmates I asked them if they had noticed and if they had understood what the heck was happening, turns out they were just as confused as I was :’) It shall remain a mystery.”

🤭
“It’s always a kinda funny when you meet a classmate for the first time at a department-wide end-of-year exam, and you had never seen them at any of the compulsory courses in the department. How did they manage to get a better grade than I did when they hadn’t ever turned up at any lecture or class?”

🙊❌📚
“So I turn up at this written exam, super stressed out because I know I haven’t memorised everything well enough. When I walk in the class everyone but me has big binders on their desks, and I notice they’re not putting them away when the exam starts. Turns out it was an open-book exam and I managed to miss the information, so I turned up with nothing but my pencil case 🙃 (spoiler: I did not do well at that exam)”

😴💤
“So for the maturité end-of-year exams we had all the 4-hours written exams in the span of a week (maths, French, English, German, option spécifique) and they all started early, and that meant I had to get up at 6 am to get there on time. My sleep schedule being terrible I never managed to get more than 5 hours of sleep for the whole week, and sleep deprivation causes me to fall asleep anywhere.
Long story short I feel asleep face first right on my table at each and every one of my written exams. An invigilator once came to check up on me, they were scared I had fainted or something. But I was just taking an accidental power nap, oops.
I passed all my exams nonetheless, so next time you find yourself nodding off during a long written exam, consider taking a quick lil power nap ;)”

🍁🚬
“I fantasize about getting really, really high before an exam and acing it.”

💌🥰
“A cute anecdote: I was asked on a date after the exams in January by a guy I met once before and who was in the same exam room. He found my email address and emailed me right after the end of the exam. And now he is my boyfriend.”

*responses have been edited for clarity and length

Funniest Post-COVID-19 Reactions & Thoughts!

Image: ©️ Alexas_Fotos – Pixabay License. Source.

In celebration of returning to our academic and social lives in person (hopefully for good this time), MUSE sent out a form inviting UNIL students to share the most surprising, funny and strange thoughts and reactions they have experienced ever since Coronavirus barged into our lives uninvited. Every response was entertaining to read and much appreciated by your favorite student magazine. Don’t forget to grab your popcorn and enjoy!

Me coming to university on the first day like:

OH mY gOd there are PEOPLE here

When my workplace changed their sanitizer brand, my first thought was “Cool! I’m looking forward to trying the new one!”. And then I realised how excited I was for something that’s genuinely very unexciting.

I get offended when people don’t want to hug me because of Covid, lol.

It’s always a weird experience meeting new people and then seeing them for the first time without the mask. I always try to guess what their full face looks like, but I get surprised every time.

The two things I fear the most are : wasps, and Zoom meetings with camera on and mic unmuted.

Even though I’ve been studying at UNIL for 6 years, the first time I took the lift again to go to the ground floor, I pressed the button “0”… and ended up in the basement.

Whenever I watch a movie or TV show and there are bars and club scenes I feel so weirded out, like where are their masks and why are they standing so close to each other? And then I remember that these shows and movies were released before Covid, hahaha.

Well, I guess waking up and getting out of bed is a thing now!

Coming back to uni in September and recognizing other students from Zoom – i.e., knowing in some cases their first AND last names – and still being way too shy to go say hi in real life.

I was in the metro one day when ticket controllers came in, and for a solid ten seconds, I had no idea if I had to show my travel card or my Covid certificate…

I’ve got to say, there’s at least one positive thing about wearing a mask during lectures: if I answer a question wrong, no one can see my embarrassment.

Then again, if a lecturer smiles or something, I feel like I have to exaggerate all of my facial movements and expressions to be understood. Is it possible to make your eyes… smiley?

Recently, I was standing in a crowd and looking for my friends and I could not remember how I used to handle crowds before and find people in them.

During the first days of this semester, I sat in the cafeteria and everything felt so different and I tried to remember what my lunch breaks used to be like (who I used to eat with, what I’d eat, when I’d have my breaks) and I could not remember Lunch Breaks BC™️ (Before Covid) for the life of me!

On the first day back to uni, the metro was so crowded I nearly had anxiety, haha, and I decided to change my route to come to uni. So, now I don’t take the metro anymore to come to uni.

When I used to leave my place, I always made sure I took with me my phone, wallet and keys. Now mask and ID are on the list. I sometimes still manage to forget them both and run back and get them. You can’t go anywhere without them anymore, it’s crazy. It’s like leaving the house without pants!

Everytime I see a shop in movies or a TV show, I’ll be mad at them all for not wearing masks, until I realise that it’s well over 2 years old…

I forgot what it was like to be in class in person again… Like you can actually sit next to people, talk to them and all which is really exciting when you first think about it. And then you run into people you wish you could avoid and try to master the skills of doing so. But all in all, it still feels great to be back.

I don’t think Covid is finished yet because there are still many restrictions and over 1000 cases most days.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Anthropole Conspiracy Theories

Construction de l’Anthropole, mai 1986. (Henri Germond © BUD)

Image: Construction de l’Anthropole, mai 1986. (Henri Germond © BUD), source.

In an effort to bring our dear campus closer to students, MUSE went on a quest to gather all the craziest, weirdest conspiracy theories about our beloved building, the Anthropole. Why was it built this way? Is it haunted?

We sent out a form to compile the rumours or made up stories about the Anthropole, and the replies did not let us down. Thank you to everyone who participated. Here you go 😉

Rumours and fiction about the Anthropole

It was built this way to prevent students’ revolts.

The side stairs were used to play hide and seek.

The architect had a stroke while drawing the plans of the building.

I do wonder the number of people who had sex in the building…

I LOVE to think that at night there’s a ghost, the ghost of the faculty of Arts roaming in the floors (just like Helena Serdaigle), she likes to wander outside with the sheep as well. That’s why everybody likes the sheep. Also, she doesn’t like the students coming from EPFL, they don’t feel at ease in Anthropole and avoid coming :-)

It was built this way so people meet other people in a “random” way.

Breaking News: People were secretely scared of Anthropole, that is why They created Covid so students were allowed to have online classes which relieved so many.

The statues are actually people who worked on building Anthropole and who fell into fresh concrete.

This isn’t a rumour but there are showers in the basement and people totally have sex there.

The stairs move and change their pathways from years to years, just like in Hogwarts…

The architect had a stroke while drawing the plans of the building.

I’ve heard that the Anthropole was built like a labyrinth to avoid big crowds. There isn’t enough space to gather lots of people at the same place and theoretically you shouldn’t be able to make a revolution, lol. And there’s a bloody experimental lab in the basement, the place is scary and who knows what they’re doing down there.

You cannot go there between 1 and 1.30 am, I mean around the building. It’s just a rumour, I don’t know why…

The stairs were built that way so people would meet there and socialise… They must have forgotten about silently taking the lift.

It’s actually pretty much confirmed, so not technically a rumour but a fact. I heard that the way the Anthropole was built was to avoid student riots. For example the many different entrances means that one can’t block one entrance and keep people from going in, also the fact that the bathrooms are small means that students can’t meet in big groups to secretly plan a riot. When I mentioned this once a friend told me that after 1968, for a while all student buildings where built to avoid student riots. Other rumour (that is more like a rumour this time) : that the ground 0 is infamous for people who want to go have sex in a hidden place (I bet other people will bring that up).

It was intentionally built so people got lost.

We experiment on innocent students in secret labs in the basement floor (the locker rooms are a ploy) and no one ever goes there.

It’s Hogwarts (editor’s note: I wish it was.)

The stairs move and change their pathways from years to years, just like in Hogwarts…

One day, I’ll meet Hermione.

 

*responses have been edited for clarity and length

Zoom Confessions

Slouching student

Image: “Writing Class 1” by kchichester is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This semester, the MUSE team wanted to get an insight into the life of the students and instructors and find out a little more about the new habits that we have all acquired over the past few months. So, the MUSE team sent out a form to students and staff of the English Department and asked for their anonymously juiciest experiences on the platform Zoom, all of which are compiled here.

We warmly thank everyone for their amazing collaboration and are celebrating every single Zoom confession.

Enjoy ;)

 

 

 

I fell asleep during a lecture lol

Woke up, opened Zoom, put my recording phone next to it, went back to bed.

Fully blamed Zoom for being late to teaching my class.

All of last semester I taught in a spare room where only a third of the ceiling was painted (because I got lazy and stopped midway through painting the ceiling, 10 years ago). I had to adjust my camera so that only the painted part of the ceiling showed, but some days I forgot. On those days, I appeared to be speaking from the dug-out of a war zone (the unpainted part was in a bad state) – I don’t know if anyone else noticed and maybe I shouldn’t be confessing it now. My sister’s birthday present to me was to paint the ceiling while I was away so, no more Zooms from our war correspondent.

Is it rude to smoke a cigarette with your camera on during a lecture?

I was eating lunch during my class (grilled cheese and tomato soup) and didn’t realise that while my video was off… my microphone wasn’t, thereby exposing the whole class to my horrible chewing sounds!

Not my story but my sister told me that once in one of her master’s classes, the professor would keep on popping in and out of the meeting because of bad connection. The second time, she reappeared in her… car. She was parked and for some reason, the connection was better. Then she left. Minutes later she joined the Zoom meeting again, but this time that woman was DRIVING. So yeah, she might have created the very first carpool Zoom class. Take notes, James Corden.

I once reeaaally needed to go to the toilet but like… For number 2. I didn’t want to miss the class so I cut my camera and microphone, put a sticker over my camera just in case, took my laptop and brought it with me to the toilets. And did number 2 while following my Zoom class.

I’m pretty sure I followed several Zoom classes while naked in bed because I had just woken up. Of course my cam wasn’t on.

Not super fun (sorry) but I once had a violent panic attack at the start of a Zoom class (for no reason, it wasn’t the fault of the Zoom or the teacher’s or anything, just my brain gratuitously messing with me). I cut everything and called a friend.

I once slept through an entire Zoom class.

I play Among Us on my phone during class on a regular basis, oops.

I peed during Zoom classes at least 3 times if not more (brought my laptop with me and turned off mic and cam). Why miss the class if I can bring it with me to the bathroom?

This might not be very funny, but it is to me so I’ll share it anyways. Today I was supposed to be in this Zoom call at 10.15 but I had to go to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth out at 10.30. I knew it wouldn’t take long to do it, but I didn’t want to connect late and possibly not get access to the call. Therefore, I left my computer on, said hello; went to the dentist (scared to death because there was a storm); came back home 45 minutes later, with half swollen face, just in time to say “Merci, au revoir”. The saddest part of this ordeal is that the lecture was recorded…so it wasn’t worth it

So I sometimes do something else on my computer while I’m in a Zoom class, and one of the things I did today during class was to check my mails. Among them was a notification from a website I have an account on. It’s a website where I sell pictures of me. I checked on my account mechanically, and then it struck me that I was doing that during a Zoom class and it’s kind of weird hahaha

One of the most stressful moments of my week is trying to listen to the last 10 minutes of my AALS 1&2 class as I change into yoga clothes and race out the door to my weekly yoga class, desperately hoping that my camera doesn’t come on as I’m topless and balancing precariously with one leg in my pants and the other flailing in the air.

If Zoom means I get to see more cats on screen, hear cats playing with toys and cats purring into microphones, and watch my professor calmly pour his coffee before commencing lecture, I never want to return to in-person teaching.

I started the semester with such good intentions: I had a designated home office space, note books, note taking strategies, a clear timetable, I was going to always turn on my video… Yesterday I woke up at 12:15, just in time to roll over and fire up my Zoom class on my phone without leaving the comfort of my blankies. Oops.

I tended to switch off my camera and mic to play with my doggo while listening to the lectures on bad days, kept me calm and made the learning a lot fluffier ! Also, who didn’t switch on their camera because they were in a PJ-day mode, all wrapped up in a cuddly blanket? I guess I am not the only guilty PJ-sinner

I sorted, sized, folded and counted 70 items of tiny newborn clothes while streaming my Anthropology class yesterday. Studying from home has its benefits for some populations, it’s permitted me to go back to school while pregnant.

One Friday morning I had a dental surgery (a gum graft) and right after it I had a Linguistics class (taught by Jennifer). So I got home, ate some cold soup and attended the Zoom class with a huge icepack on my face (so I looked ridiculous haha) and talking only via the chat. I kept doing that for the following week, too (talking mainly via chat). I’m still recovering so idk when I’ll talk normally again lol

During the first week I attended a bunch of classes – that is Zoom classes, I mean yay – to finalize my schedule as we love to do in the Faculty of Arts. Anyway, I made the effort to put make up on this first week to have the impression to have somewhat of a routine. And I don’t know what happened, but I received emails from no less than three strangers; either commenting on my “perfect make-up” (I mean why a guy wouldn’t notice that on Zoom?) or finding my unil email (HOW?) to ask me random questions about certain classes. I don’t know if this is the new way of meeting people or sliding into someone’s DMs, or if this is creepy or cute or funny? Either way it made me laugh in this strange time ahahah

One day we were on Zoom in groups of two. I was with this guy and we did some exercise together. When we were coming to the end, I noticed some smoke close to him. I was afraid that his computer was burning, but it was a cigarette. The dude was smoking during the lecture!

*responses have been edited for clarity and length