Friday, April 29, 2011


Today I had a chemistry test on stoichiometry, and we got 75 minutes to do five multiple choice questions, five true or false questions, and eight calculation questions.

Out of the calculation questions, question five was was supposed to be the hardest. It was a question that we had never discussed in class before and it involved quited many steps. As a result, I could not think of a way to solve this problem right away when I read the question.

As a habit, I always leave the hardest questions to the end and do the easier ones first, and this time was no exception. After thinking about the question for fifteen to twenty seconds and having absolutely no idea how to solve it, I decided to try questions six, seven and eight first.

Question six was easy. All that was required was to balance a chemical reaction and find the molar ratios between some compounds. This question was somewhat similar to the ones that we have done in class before, and I started doing the calculations as soon as I finished reading the question. As the question was not complex, I was soon moving onto part c). 

This was when my teacher spoke. He told us to change one of the values in question five, which basically meant that the people who had already finished doing the question would have to go back and change their answers. "Hehe," I laughed in my heart when I saw some other students fiercely turning their test papers and rubbing their erasers against the poor sheets of paper. "Lucky that I am not one of them," I thought. Then, my happiness level increased even more when I heard some people moaning about the change.

About five minutes later, when I was working on question seven, my teacher spoke again—he told us that question five would be disregarded because somehow he messed the numbers up. We would not need to do the question, and the question would basically be taken out of the test. This time the moaning became even louder because this meant that the people who had attempted at the question had just wasted their time, and some students even began to protest.

I was overjoyed with this announcement. This meant that not only did I get more time to work on the other questions, my risk of getting many marks off (from that question) was also eliminated. I continued working on the rest of the test, and since I no longer needed to do number five, I had plenty of time to check over my answers. It turned out that I had copied two or three numbers wrong, and I quickly fixed those numbers.

When the test was finished, many students began to complain about how they wasted twenty minutes on question five, though a few—like me—were also happy about the decision made by the teacher. I shared my joy with those students, and I was smiling in both the inside and the outside.

What a lucky person I am! Had I been smarter or better at stoichiometry, I would not have skipped number five. Had I not had the habit of skipping difficult questions, I would also not have skipped the question. The combination of these factors prevented me from being one of the other students who did not finish writing the test because of number five, and I am really grateful for this. 

I hope I actually did well though. If I did not, this post will be the biggest irony ever.