Exam From HELL

                           COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

The following comprehensive examination has been prepared for the entire
University. Take only that part that pertains to the department in which you
are currently enrolled. If any doubt about this exists, please consult the

Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer completely, and legibly.

Time limit: 2 hours. Begin immediately.

     Describe the universe. Give three examples.

     Several culture dishes have been left in the room. Create life. Document
     your findings. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if
     this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special
     attention to its probable effect on the English Parliamentary System.
     Prove your thesis.

     Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the
     possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist
     Controversy, and the Wave Theory of Light. Outline a method for preventing
     these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view.
     Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your
     answer to the previous part of the question.

     The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your
     desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In 10
     minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever
     action you feel necessary. Be prepared to justify your decision.

     Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your stand.

     Describe the history of the Papacy from its origins to the present day,
     concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political,
     economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and
     Africa. Be brief, concise and specific. Be sure to include in your
     analysis a thorough description of all relevant personalities in the
     Christian, Muslim, and Jewish intellectual traditions, as well as a brief
     but comprehensive description of their ideas. It is also suggested that
     you include in your answer an analysis of the military tactics of the Holy
     Roman Empire and the Papal forces in all wars fought against the Turkish
     and Mongol armies.

     You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle
     of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been

     When you finish reading these instructions, a test tube will be dropped
     into the room from outside. This test tube contains a highly lethal strain
     of bubonic plague bacilli which are believed to kill their host within 2
     hours. You are required to discover a cure for this disease using the A.
     C. Gilbert chemistry set at your desk before your two hours are up.

     Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum.
     You will find a piano under your seat.

     A Hohner Marine Band harmonica and several sheets of music manuscript
     paper have been left on your desk. Compose and orchestrate an opera for
     six leading singers (two sopranos, one tenor, one baritone, two bassos)
     and a 100-piece orchestra which includes not only the standard orchestral
     instruments but also a Chinese p'ipa and wax-paper kazoo.

     Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the
     impact of the development of mathematics on science.

     An activated thermonuclear device is concealed somewhere in the
     examination area. It has a force of approximating 5 megatons, and is set
     to detonate between 10 minutes and an hour from now. Locate and defuse
     this weapon. Be sure to keep accurate notes of your experiments.

     Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate its significance.
     Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

     Describe the history of the concept of God in all relevant Western and
     Eastern traditions.

     There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III.
     Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.

     On the table before you are the following:
        o  A disassembled Winchester .457 hunting rifle.
        o  Some black powder, a lead slug, and an empty shell casing.
        o  A screwdriver.

     In 3 minutes, the door will open and a hunger-crazed Siberian tiger will
     be admitted to the room. Take any steps you deem appropriate, being sure
     to keep a record of your psychological reactions throughout the process.
     Points will be awarded only if thorough notes are submitted at the end of
     the examination.

     Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability,
     degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following:
     Alexander of Aphrodisis, Rameses II, and Hammurabi. Support your
     evaluation with quotations from each man's work, making appropriate
     references. It is not necessary to translate.

     2500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may
     use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

     Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the
     world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.