FRIDAY FIVE! Famous Fictional Exams

The FRIDAY FIVE continues with September’s “school” theme.

This week we journey into the obscure, dark heart of Nerdom in search for the top 5 most difficult exams from film, television and literature.  Now, dear reader, grab your machete and pith helmet (preferably of the “thinking” variety) and steel yourself for a classic all-night cram session… because all these exams are sure to tax your mind, body and soul — and maybe a funny bone or two!  Click the jump to see which terrifying tests made the list.

5. The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

This little exam has only one question but, as the title indicates, it is the ULTIMATE question.  Of course, as many of you already know, after 7.5 million years of processing, a supercomputer, called Deep Thought, determined the answer is 42.  What makes this exam so devious is that no one in the universe can figure out what the question is.  And that’s the way a galactic consortium of psychiatrists likes it… going so far as to hire an interstellar demolition crew to destroy Earth and preserve the mystery.

4. The Jedi Trials (Star Wars)

In troubled times (of which there are many in the Star Wars universe) Jedi were given the title of “knight” after accomplishing several constructive mission… things like near-fatal ambassador positions, mass destruction of droids and the occasional Sith beat down.  During the galaxy’s more peaceful years, Jedi Trials were standardized in five tests and given to Jedi padawans who wished to ascend to knighthood.  Administered by the Jedi High Council, the exam involved the Trial of Skill, the Trial of Courage, the Trial of the Flesh, the Trial of Spirit, and the Trial of Insight.  Tough, sure… but nothing beats solid, practical experience.  Probably why a bunch of Jedi “Masters” succumbed to one angsty teenager.

3. The Exam (Exam)

The deadliest job interview you’ll ever have!  If you’ve never see the film Exam, I highly recommend you check out this psychological-thriller.  Immediately.  Eight candidates are stuck in a windowless room with a blank piece of paper and three simple rules: don’t talk to the armed guard, don’t spoil the papers and don’t leave the room.  They spend the next 80 minutes working with and against each other  to try and understand the meaning of the blank exam — but only one question matters.  How far are you willing to go to secure the ultimate job?

2. Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test, aka the N.E.W.T. (Harry Potter)

Don’t let the ridiculous title fool you… these exams are a beast.  Used as a kind of preliminary application process for employment in the world of Harry Potter,  not only are the exams difficult, they basically determine the course of your entire wizarding life!  Did the Grim come up with the monstrous N.E.W.T.s?  Because that kind of stress can kill you.  Zing!

1. The Kobayashi Maru (Star Trek)

Easily the most famous exam in all of Nerdom, the Kobayashi Maru is administered to all cadets in the command track at Starfleet Academy.  And this test earns the number 1 most difficult spot because it is unbeatable… a simulation of a no-win scenario designed to reveal cadets’ character in the face of failure.  Only one person has ever bested the exam — James T. Kirk!  Refusing to accept a no-win scenario, he reprogrammed the simulator and defeated the Klingon warships.  Commendations for outside the box thinking!



One thought on “FRIDAY FIVE! Famous Fictional Exams

  1. The Ultimate Question from Hitchhiker’s was not an Exam… It was just a question.

    I would replace that one with the Voight-Kampff Empathy Test from Blade Runner. You know… If it were me.

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