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Chapter 6

The Expected and Unexpected

ONLY TWO DAYS were left in the second semester. Today was finally the day of the special exam for the collaborative comprehensive writing test, which was a direct confrontation with Class A. Although there were special rules, they were the same as the usual midterm and final exam.

In the morning, many of the students who had the academic rating C or below gathered in the classroom and worked hard to study until the very end, as much as time allowed.

Keisei and Horikita, who had already completed all their studies in advance, were watching over these students, giving them advice while making careful final checks.

Many students may think that the hardest part of the exam was coming, but that wasn’t true.

As the saying went, it was two parts work for eight parts preparation, and most of the work had already been done in preparation for the exam. The attitude before studying, the concentration for studying. The exam itself was only one-fifth of the workload compared to the preparation.

And when it was over, you’d realize that most of the things weren’t that big of a deal.

The test procedure was based on a sheet that Horikita had submitted to Chabashira-sensei last night, which listed the order in which everyone in the class would take the exam.

Since everyone was allowed to solve any number of questions from a total of 100 on the exam, some may think that the order wasn’t that important.

However, the order was very important. Each participant had 10 minutes, including entering and leaving the room.

This was enough time to solve a problem, but definitely not enough to read and understand all 100 questions.

If a student with low academic ability struggled to read and comprehend the questions, not only would he or she not be able to find five easily solvable problems and then not be able to write down the ideal number of answers, but they would also make easy mistakes due to the panic of running out of time. 

Therefore, the order in which you solved the problems was the key to reducing the probability of making easy mistakes.

Less than five minutes had remained until the bell rang to signal the start of the exam.

While everyone was very tense, Kōenji was the same as usual.

He was checking his face carefully with his hand mirror and occasionally browsing the internet on his cell phone, seemingly free to do as he pleased.

Horikita confirmed beforehand that Kōenji hadn’t said whether he was taking the test seriously or not. He only replied that he had the right to do whatever he wanted.

Horikita, realizing that her strategy would be ruined if Kōenji alone were to disrupt it, offered a clever suggestion.

Kōenji should be the last student in the order to solve.

At that point, 98 out of 100 questions would already be filled in, leaving only two questions.

Even if Kōenji, with an academic rating B, failed to answer the two questions, the loss was only 4 points, and it was unlikely to be a major setback. Furthermore, since these were the last two questions, if they were left blank, it was possible to pass it off as not being able to solve them rather than not having solved them, without violating the rules.

There wasn't any risk of him solving problems on a whim, leaving them blank, or making mistakes.

Kōenji readily agreed to this proposal. Since the class would receive 50 points if they won, there would be almost no refusal from him to answer the questions correctly.

In fact, if we lost 50 points because he didn’t solve, he’d only lose the private point income that he desires.

Since we couldn’t predict Kōenji's actions with common sense, Horikita had no choice but to use such a strategy.

This was a test that wouldn’t be easy.

Although we couldn’t be optimistic, the conditions for victory were in our favor.

The pressure on the students with lower academic ability in Class A would be great.

The leader of their class, Sakayanagi, may have her own tricks up her sleeve, but the fact that each student would take the test in a separate room, combined with the nature of the surveillance would make it impossible for the students to fight in an unconventional way.

For example, it wasn’t possible to have the weakest students get a large number of points, or to walk a tightrope by planting cheat sheets.

What all classes could do was raise their current level of competence and arrange the order of their class so that they could maximize their performance. Or, like Ryūen, they could indirectly harass them outside of the examination.

There were some cunning ways, such as making a secret agreement to intentionally make a mistake, but the results of this test would be disclosed to the public. There was a risk of being caught if you made a blatant mistake, and above all, there was no guarantee that one or two bribes would lead to a win.

In a school full of students who were basically doing their best, it was unexpected that there were people like me and Kōenji, who hadn’t been properly evaluated in the OAA.

It wasn’t ridiculous to receive a few extra points for having received a low score instead of the actual score.

So far, it’s safe to say that several conditions were in favor of Horikita's class.

Chabashira-sensei appeared at the sound of the chime, and under her guidance, we all moved to the special building and waited there. Then, we went to the next classroom one by one and solved the problems on our tablets according to the order determined by Horikita. This process was repeated till the last student, Kōenji.

In this room, under the supervision of a teacher, students weren’t allowed to bring in tools or use their cell phones. Chatting was also forbidden, so everyone waited for their turn in silence.

The only thing that remained to be seen was whether or not the students would be able to show what they had achieved so far, without being overwhelmed by nervousness.


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