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Davis, California

Monday, September 20, 2021

Humor: Midterm to cover slides, Ch. 1-14, lab, readings and any and all information ever written

ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE (top left), LUCY KNOWLES / AGGIE (top right), ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE (bottom left), PUBLIC DOMAIN (bottom right)

Students able to complete the course with B- or higher guaranteed total omniscience

DAVIS, Calif. — UC Davis’ very own general chemistry professor Tom Meineke has done it. He’s created a truly comprehensive exam.

Professors always strive for thoroughness when instructing students in their field of expertise. Complete understanding has often been considered the unattainable Holy Grail of academia. But there are roadblocks to vanquishing this Great White Whale, including lecture duration, notetaking speed, textbook completeness and finite student lifespan.

Professor Meineke’s innovative approach of ignoring these factors ensures students able to pass his course will become experts not only in chemistry, but all other fields as well.

“I just want student understanding to be thorough,” Meineke said. “As an educator, it is my job to ensure that students walk out of a class knowing the material, but also how to learn. I would also Iike them to be an unlimited nexus of information.”

Meineke admitted he asks a lot, but was firm on the importance of challenging students.

“When people ask me, ‘Tom, do you think it is important to push students?’ I say ‘no.’ I think it is important to thrust them into the atmosphere.”

Professor Meineke was kind enough to share some of the exam questions with The Aggie.

These questions include:

  • Which organelle is considered the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell?”
  • What proteins are responsible for transcription?
  • When is the best time to file an amended tax return?
  • How does acetylation occur in a zygote?
  • What year did Mark Twain write his very first thank-you note?
  • How would you calculate the volume of a sitting vice president?
  • How many vultures would it take to skin a full grown javelina in 30 minutes?
  • What is the technical term for cell division?

Meral Leigh, a second-year student at UC Davis, had some mixed feelings about the decision.

“On one hand it was a little daunting to be asked to have a complete understanding of all information in existence,” Leigh said. “On the other hand I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Italian Renaissance so I guess it evens out.”

Leigh expressed that she thought the best way to avoid study fatigue was to alternate what she was studying regularly. She said she began to notice the strain when she was about seven percent through the “A” section of the Abbeville, Alabama phonebook.

Leigh agreed to share her new schedule. She begins her day studying the technical manual for a Zenith XBV713 combination DVD/VCR player. Around noon she switches to a series of cover letters written by a man named Todd Migrim. In the early evening she makes flashcards to help her remember who works Saturdays at the Target Supercenter in Calgary.
Written by: Parker Nevin — phnevin@ucdavis.edu

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