How to Take a Test (1951) – By Nichele Johnston

Ah, the short films of the fantabulous 50’s. If there was a subject you can bet there was half-baked 10 minute film, or perhaps a dozen little movies made from every conceivable angle. I can’t possibly say what people back then thought of these things, but today they provide endless fodder for articles like this. *grin*

Now we meet Fred. He’s your typical 30-year-old All American high school student. He’s a good kid and smart enough I suppose, but Fred is thrown for a loop when a big literature test is announced for next Wednesday. OMG…a test? *shock*horror* Now what? If Fred panics over a test this late into his high school career it’s amazing to think that he even made it this far in the first place.

The teacher asks Fred to stay a moment after class (said teacher doesn’t have a name so I’ll just call her Miss Jones). It seems that Miss Jones has noticed that Fred has been less-than-prepared for previous tests. Instead of telling him that he can look forward to a life of asking “Do you want fries with that?”, she proceeds to tell, in excruciating detail, what Fred is doing wrong, and in excruciating detail, the proper way to study. Hold on to your hats, here we go!!!

So what is Fred doing wrong? Well, Fred is a procrastinator extraordinairre. He puts off studying until the last possible nanosecond so by the time the test rolls around he’s half asleep and just scribbling down anything he remembers. Idiot. I guess cheat sheets or looking at the paper of the brainy kid next you don’t exist in Freds universe.

Anyways, if Fred wants to graduate before he’s a member of the AARP what’s the proper way to study? Fasten your seatbelts. First, start preparing when the test is first announced. Be sure to know what the test is actually about. It would certainly be embarrassing to study the collective works of Edgar Allan Poe for two weeks only to discover that the test is over nuclear physics.

Next, organize your notes on the subject. Wow, that’s a bombshell. And make sure you go over any new words, terms, and formulas. Is ‘moron’ a noun or a verb? Bring a pen or pencil and paper. I repeat, a pen or pencil. You don’t want to find out the hard way that teachers don’t like tests written in spring-green crayon.

Now it’s time to actually take the test. Don’t panic. Hyperventilating until you pass out isn’t going to get you an automatic ‘A’. Then look over the test. What kind of test is it? What are the questions asking you to do? How much time do you have to answer? Now here we get something interesting: Fred looks at his watch. It’s 3:05 pm. Either Fred forgot to wind his watch or his entire school fell into a time loop, or Fred is taking tests after school as some kind of punishment.

Thankfully it all works in the end. Fred actually studies and gets a good grade, literally, the word ‘good’ is written across his test paper. His classmates are awed and gather around him in hopes that some of his aura of brilliance will rub off on them. Meanwhile, Miss Jones stands off to the side, so proud that her student can follow simple directions.

Man, if Fred can whip himself into a frenzy over a test, I can’t imagine what he does when he’s assigned a term paper to write. I just hope he didn’t write it in spring-green crayon.