Claim:   Faced with a two-page exam he cannot complete, an unprepared student hands in only the first page, then quickly leaves the room, looks up the remaining answers, completes the second page, drops it on the floor at the back of the classroom after the period is over, and waits for someone to find it and turn it in.


Example:   [Brunvand, 1986]

The student takes a test which is composed of two pages. Realizing that he doesn’t know much, he spends all his time on the second page. When the period ends, he slips the first page into his notebook and only hands in the second page.

Once outside the classroom, he hurriedly looks up the answers and fills in the first page. Then he takes and steps on the page. He gives this page to a friend who [has] a later class in the same room. The friend approaches the teacher after class and says that he found this “in the back.” The teacher takes it, checks through the papers collected in the morning class, and sure enough, the student’s first page is missing. He grades all the papers and the student gets an A.


Finders keepers!

  • In some versions the deceptive student recruits a friend who has a class in the same room later in the day to hand in the test paper and claim that he found it on the floor.

Origins:   This tale (which dates to at least the 1950s) is a more plausible version Book of Daze legend, both of which deal with a student who evades test questions he can’t answer through the ruse of pretending that part of his exam paper was misplaced. Similar legends include Mother Knows Test.

Last updated:   20 June 2011


    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   The Mexican Pet.

    New York: W. W. Norton, 1986.   ISBN 0-393-30542-2   (p. 196).

    Girdler, Lou.   “The Legend of the Second Blue Book.”

    Western Folklore.   Issue 29 [1970]   (pp. 111-113).

    Jeakle, Bill and Ed Wyatt.   How to College in the 90s.

    New York: New American Library, 1989.   ISBN 0-452-26298-4   (p. 83).

Also told in:

    Dale, Rodney.   The Tumour in the Whale.

    London: Duckworth, 1978.   ISBN 0-7156-1314-6   (p. 45).

    The Big Book of Urban Legends.

    New York: Paradox Press, 1994.   ISBN 1-56389-165-4   (p. 208).

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