In the last days of my senior year of high school, I’d been out of town for two weeks and hadn’t opened my English Literature textbook. Sure that I’d be caught, I’d never cheated on a test and had no idea how it could be done, so I was hoping for a multiple-choice test on this final exam.I sighed in defeat. In ten essay questions, I was asked to describe something about each author, why he or she wrote and what the writing’s focus was.
Leaving any author’s section blank was a guaranteed zero, so I had to dream up something. My best hope was for enough points to avoid a failing grade for the semester.
The test scores were never revealed to the students, but I just happened to see my test lying on top of the papers stacked on the teacher’s desk. My eyes were drawn to the large red numbers with a circle around them.
I sat at my desk, took a deep breath, and tried to figure out the magic that could have been behind what made that score possible—a 96.
That was the day I learned something about taking tests: “Doing your best with your imagination isn’t cheating, but the outcome can be so good you might feel like it is.”