The Grade Arms Race

With the life-changing “A” level examinations drawing closer, local students are increasingly feeling the heat.

The Social Justice League momentarily amassed popular support for the first time after raising concerns about the “unrealistic expectations” for students here. Members of the SJL pointed out that the difficulty level of local examinations has been rising faster than sea levels in recent years. In fact, examiners have had to constantly expand their search for obscure footnotes of the syllabus further and further afield because students here are simply too good at test-taking.

Just last year, the syllabus covertly expanded to include the inverse t test which was previously believed by schools islandwide to be beyond the requirements of the GCE Advanced Levels. Rumour has it that even students from top institutions were caught completely by surprise, forcing schools here to launch a joint plea for clemency.

The SJL has decried these new additions as “completely unnatural” and has proposed a reversion to 100% organic questions instead. Ever the troll, Cambridge is widely expected to instead ramp up the number of inorganic questions. As a sign of rebellion, students are spraying noxious chemicals onto their script, a process they call the “chloroform test”. Because there is literally chloroform on the test.

The pressure to maintain impeccable reputations has resulted in a spillover effect on local schools as well, in the form of an annual contest to set the most impossible Prelim paper. Setting undoable questions is particularly popular amongst the self-styled “Arts” subjects where they are often set during late night drinking sessions.

In a bid to demonstrate their incredible creativity, school examiners search far and wide for obscure questions with tenuous links to the syllabus. When asked about the ethical implications of this process, one examiner remarked, “in what they don’t know, there is something they know”.


Notably, one of the practice papers set recently by the Mathematics Department was met with mixed reactions from students. On one hand, the paper expressed support for the local press, immortalising this humble publication for posterity in the annals of the Wafflestan. Many students reported being inspired by the much-deserved recognition accorded.

Evidently trying to make a political statement, the department depicted an imaginary perfect election in which 100% of the votes were valid. They supplemented this National Education lesson with results strikingly similar to a recent general election. Cleverly adding an additional layer, they pointed out that B never wins, prompting students to put in the effort to get an A in their upcoming examinations.

Many students have strongly suggested the mathematics department not involve itself in PW. They point out that numbers like 100,000 voters and integer percentages proved that the department was entirely inept at faking results. Others questioned the assumption that voters vote independently, given the fact that the department had clearly committed massive voter fraud by fabricating the results.

The strange voting pattern displayed came under intense scrutiny

Debaters were also up in arms, particularly upset about the fact that they had been depicted as some kind of sexist musical chairs CCA despite being amongst the top ranked debaters in the world.

Sadly, the department clearly felt the need to ramp up the difficulty by keeping the total number of marks the same, but shortening the duration by 15 minutes a second time. Students praised the term “mock paper” finding it particularly apt for a paper that made it expressly clear that the department was mocking them.

As a valiant act of protest against the educational arms race, many students are seeking instead to form interesting words with the shitty grades they will inevitably net. Favourites include “ASUS”, “BADASS” and “ACED”. One student in particular who snagged “UDEAD” in the recent Prelims couldn’t help but wonder if his grades were trying to tell him something.

Others have spent the run up to the A levels looking for a perfect grade on the spectrum between “OMG you nerd” and silent mocking, coming up empty handed.

In this time of great stress, it is perhaps inevitable that belief in the divine and the supernatural is stronger than ever. Stationery left unattended on tables in the FoS is mysteriously disappearing. Some students also report instantly feeling depressed and an unearthly sense of dread upon entering those hallowed grounds haunted by tortured souls of current residents. But the eerie silence is far less terrifying than the mugging going on there. 

We wish students well in the run up to the life changing examinations.