Four sections get herded into a single larger classroom for the midterms and finals. It makes proctoring easier, I suppose. Also, since two of us is enough to keep an eye on the entire crowd, we can take turns to make both versions of the test. That saves time with grading and on one occasion showed an error in the test before any of the students had reached it. Preventing a panic is always good.
Fifteen minutes in, a guy in the rightmost row signals he has a question. I walk over.
“How many inches are there in a mile?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to tell you during the test.” I see the panic in his eyes. He doesn’t know. Blacked out. I tell him, “Try to calm down. You have plenty of time left. Close your eyes and think of something else for a bit. Something you like.”
He looks at me.
“I know, I forgot to wear my flower dress. But I’m serious. It really does help. Try it.”
Two minutes later, everybody is startled by a sudden “Yes!”
“Be quiet, please.”
He’s happy now; I guess the number 63,360 will be pleased to see him too.