Treat an Examination as an InterviewWe all have bluffed in one way or another in our school days, and we usually do so in paper-based exams, assuming "What can the examiner do if I bluffed in a dishonest way?"
It is a wrong assumption because the examiner does interact with our answer as if in a dialog. For example: The question goes: "Discuss the epistemology of Kierkegaard"
Your answer goes: "I have read a good deal about this topic. But right now, I have forgotten all about what I have read."
Then the examiner' thoughts will go like: "Lying. If you have read a lot, you should at least remember something." or "Maybe true. We all forget. But zero recall must be rewarded with zero score/grade."
We should preempt such responses by treating any examination as an interview, where we expect follow-up questions that will probe and poke through our facade of insincerity and corner us into admission of our dishonesty, cowardice and above all else being stupid enough to bluff. Does that remind you of the final scenes of the Detective Colombo episodes?
Honorable Bluffing in InterviewsHere I will give a number of possible responses to that question asked in an interview. I won't grade/order them in any way. I won't even classify them.
Question goes: "Can you talk about the epistemology of Kierkegaard"
1. "I have read a good deal about this topic. But right now, I have forgotten all about what I have read."
2. "I know a good deal about epistemological views of Nietzsche but not Kierkegaard's."
3. "I know a good deal about epistemological views of many existentialists but not Kierkegaard's."
4. "I understand epistemology as ...
An epistemological framework needs to cover ...
Existentialists/Scandinavian/European/Western/ the 18th century philosophers usually regards epistemology as ...
Kierkegaard generally think that...
Kierkegaard remarked in one of his essays that knowing is ...
But I can't relate epistemology to Kierkegaard in particular."
5. "Kierkegaard has said very little about epistemology."
6. "Whatever Kierkegaard has said about epistemology. is flawed."
7. "Kierkegaard doesn't consider epistemology very important or relevant."
8. "Kierkegaard isn't an important philosopher for epistemology."
And so on.
Exercises1. If you are a programmer, think how you would prevent "double submits" in Django, Turbo Gears, Pylons, CherryPy, Ruby on Rails, Merb, Struts, JSF, Webworks, Tapsetry, Spring, plain J2EE, codeigniter, PHPCake, Symfony, etc.
2. SAT: What is the average (arithmetic mean) of all the multiples of ten from 10 to 190 inclusive? or Amy has to visit towns B and C in any order. The roads connecting these towns with her home are shown on the diagram. How many different routes can she take starting from A and returning to A, going through both B and C (but not more than once through each) and not travelling any road twice on the same trip? or
3. LSAT: As any economist knows, healthy people pose less of an economic burden to society than unhealthy people. Not surprisingly, then, every dollar our state government spends on prenatal care for undocumented immigrants will save taxpayers of this state three dollars.
Which of the following, if true, would best explain why the statistics cited above are not surprising?
4. GMAT: If there are 16 ounces in 1 pound, the ratio of 6 ounces to 3¾ pounds is ....
ConclusionBe honest at all times.
Then, bluff to your heart's content without worrying about the consequences.
- What do you know to be true? Just trust your own experience. Don't believe even your God, Gods, or gods. Trust only what your previous tests have shown you.
- How does that relate to this question/experiment/test? Use that, show that.