How to Fail a Class of Any Kind (2007) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

How to Fail a Class of Any Kind (2007) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 20, 2014
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Note from the Author: This satirical article was originally published on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007.  I seek to preserve it as an entertaining but didactic resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this article is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time.  
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~ G. Stolyarov II, July 20, 2014
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Numerous online articles exist to help people who seek to pass a class or even get an exceptionally good grade in it. But, in the course of my research, I have found few reliable, comprehensive guides to failing a course. So, in the interest of those who might be seeking to learn how, I provide some assistance here. Now, granted, I have never personally failed a course, but I have seen enough people accomplish such a feat that I consider myself qualified to write about it. So here it is: a guide to failing a class in any kind of subject and any type of educational institution.
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The first thing to understand about failing a class is that it is extremely difficult to do. You must really work at it in order to accomplish this goal! After all, rarely do teachers in the public schools or universities give F grades anymore. Simple lack of knowledge of the content will no longer suffice to earn you a failing grade; it might get you a C or a D, if you are lucky. This traditional approach to failing a course is even less reliable these days because numerous instructors grade on a curve. If it so happens that most of your classmates are more ignorant on the subject than you are, then you might even end up with a B or A-, in which case your efforts to fail the course will probably be irreversibly frustrated.

But fear not! Failing a class can still be done, if you work hard enough at it. Here are some tips about how you, too, can lead the glorious life of an academic underdog.

1. Cheat, and cheat often! Most educational institutions these days have a zero tolerance policy for academic dishonesty. This is the route to go for quick, efficient results if you seek to fail a class. You might even be suspended from the school, which translates into some wonderful free time! The best ways to cheat are blatant and obvious ones. When there is a test, stand up out of your seat, walk to the student next to you, and wait until he puts down his pen and takes a moment’s pause from writing. Then grab his test, walk back to your desk, and copy every word of it, all in front of the teacher and the other students. In most cases, other students will not let you cheat off of them, since they will be conscious of the fact that the school’s academic dishonesty policy will also hold them liable in that case. But if you follow this advice, the other student will have no choice but to let you commit the infraction; he will have been coerced into it.

Extreme plagiarism is another possible route to cheating, especially for those who are shy about making a public scene. Whenever you are assigned a paper on any subject, Google that subject and copy the first search result, word for word. You will be virtually guaranteed that the teacher will be able to look up the same page you found within minutes and discover your plagiarism. Alternatively, you can simply choose to omit standard punctuation in your bibliography, or use MLA style when APA style is called for, or vice versa. These days in academic institutions, using the wrong format for your Works Cited page is almost as severely punished as plagiarism.

If you have ethical scruples about committing academic dishonesty, just give yourself a little inspirational talk in front of the mirror every morning. Repeat three times, “I, too, can be a cheater!” Remember that an early start into the field of immorality is virtually required to have a successful career as a professional gangster, pop idol, pyramid-scheme advertiser, or politician.

2. Never attend class. You cannot be aware of material discussed in class if you never go there; furthermore, you will have the advantage of not knowing what homework was assigned and what reading material you ought to study. This is a failure-proof method of failing the class, unless your school or college automatically withdraws you from it for lack of attendance. Resist the temptation of asking your friends about the proceedings in class or doing independent research into areas related to the subject matter. Remember that it is difficult to fail a class these days while retaining the slightest bit of moral reservation about your goal.

3. Go to raucous parties every night. At the parties, drink vast quantities of alcohol. When you come to class next day, you will be intoxicated out of your mind, which will safeguard you against any relapses of conscientious listening and class participation. Even if you really want to answer a question, you will be unable to. As an added bonus, you might be suspended from the educational institution for being under the influence of alcohol.

4. When taking multiple choice tests, pick a letter and stick to it! Always circle that letter as your answer of choice for every question. If there are four possible choices for each question, then your expected percentage of correct answers is 25% – well into the F range. If there are five possible choices, you can do even better with an expected grade of 20%. For more advanced multiple choice tests, where there might be more than one correct answer per question, you might even get away with grades in the single digits!

5. Sleep in class. If you cannot overcome your conscience and absolutely must attend class, at least try not to be awake for it. If you are, you might just learn something against your best attempts. Consider staying up the entire previous night in order to fall asleep with less difficulty when class is in session. Remember to choose the remotest corner of the class to sit in, possibly behind tall people who obstruct the teacher’s view of you. Otherwise, you run the risk of being awakened and, once again, learning something.

6. Always procrastinate. As a matter of fact, never turn in those assignments at all! Wait until the grade penalties for late work accumulate to the point where you get a zero grade on all your work; then, you will have failed the class without even needing to exert any effort! Once you fail your first course, you will be well on your way to a bright future. Remember that your personal merit, hard work, and knowledge do not matter at all in the real world; success is based purely on luck, or on exploiting those people who do work diligently and honestly. Just sit back, engage in your share of parasitism off the accomplishments of others, and wait for genuine success and happiness to come to you! It’s that simple, though most people are far too bound by conventional Western meritocratic prejudices to understand or implement it. If you become an outstanding failure, perhaps I will write your biography someday.

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