I was sitting with a senior student in the cafeteria eating my bag lunch and probably had a doleful look since my cause seemed hopeless at that stage and I saw no way out. He listened to my tale of woe, my putative career gradually eroding away in my mind, failure looming large. "Hey listen, " he said, " If you get out the old final exams in French for the last ten years you'll see that there is always 50 % of the mark for an essay in French. They give you a choice of topics and if you choose something like a " trip to the farm" it'll probably apply to a topic choice. I received a glimmer of hope from my rescuer, but I'm sure I looked dubious.
However , what that sage said was true! The topic choices in the old exam papers I reviewed included, An Exciting Experience, ( A Trip to the Farm ) , What You did Last Summer , (A Trip to the Farm ), An Enjoyable Journey, ( A Trip to the Farm ). This was the straw I was willing to grasp. Sure enough, the angel I met at lunch over my Baloney sandwich was right. Before the examination I carefully crafted a French essay, letter perfect, accent perfect, on A Trip to the Farm and memorized it.
I scraped through French with little to spare. I learned a lot that year. If you have a lot of cunning you can get by if you have a will and a way, but it's not a substitute for smart. The teacher who marked my paper must have wondered how a guy that dumb in the other 50% wrote an essay that was that perfect, and didn't cheat.