National Biology Competition by U of T: Catnip for Nerds -

National Biology Competition by U of T: Catnip for Nerds

Not being able to guess at multiple choice is like a Diehard movie without Bruce Willis


After 18 hours, I still haven’t completely recovered.

I never want to see the word, “phenotype,” again. And I still don’t know what the hell Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium is.

I’m totally shell shocked.

I wrote the University of Toronto National Biology Competition yesterday.

I’m still not actually considering Toronto as a possible university to attend this September. My alter-ego didn’t knock me out, sign up for the test, and then, in the ultimate act of copyright violation, cross the multiverse and destroy all parallel-Scotts, absorbing our collective energy and becoming The One.

I actually signed up for the annual competition because A) I’m a nerd. It’s what we do. And B) All 50 questions were multiple choice. How hard could it be, right?

My ignorance was my downfall.

Multiple choice is easy. Unless A, B, C, D, and E all seem like plausible answers. Take this question, for instance:

Which of the following signal transduction molecules is not bound to the plasma membrane?
A) Cyclic AMP
B) Peptide hormone receptors
C) Adenylyl cyclase
D) Phospholipase C
E) Endo-cyclic Scott-is-screwed triphosphate

Not to mention the fact that the University of Toronto doesn’t hold up to the Evil Villain code of ethics. After single-handedly defeating all 867 henchmen that were sent after me (one at a time, of course), I prepared for a climatic, 10-minute long swordfight with Lord Toronto himself. At which point, Toronto whipped out a machine gun and blasted me into naive little pieces.

Yes, marks were deducted for wrong answers.

Sure, you could argue that if people could guess at answers without any sort of penalty, someone’s score could be artificially inflated. And I haven’t yet come up with a counter-argument to end this paragraph properly.

But really, this totally defeats the whole purpose of multiple choice. Not being able to guess at multiple choice is like having waffles without syrup. It’s like a Diehard movie without Bruce Willis.

Or a Shakespearian play without an innocent, doomed grade nine class.


National Biology Competition by U of T: Catnip for Nerds

  1. Aiaiai! That sounds quite terrible. Judging from your reaction, it sounds like you think you’ve done horribly. Were there many questions that you know you answered right?

    I’ve just started reading your blogs, and I think that they are quite awesome. You’re honest about High School, which most teens aren’t, and I really like your writing style. I have a question though. YOu’re in grade twelve, but you’re only sixteen? Did you skip a year because of your abnormally super-human intelligence? Most of my friends that are graduating are seventeen turning eighteen rather than sixteen turning seventeen.

    Anyway, I’m average at all science stuff (I’m a music nerd and therefore have no room in my life for math, physics, or anything that doesn’t have some kind of creative aspect to it,) but my answer for that question probably would have been Endo-cyclic Scott-is-screwed triphosphate. :)

    Nerds are cool.

    Sarah :)

  2. Hey Sarah,

    I’m trying not to think about the biology competition too much. I probably answered about as many questions right as there are commas in this sentence.

    Thanks so much for your comments, I really appreciate them. Especially what you said about me being honest about high school. I know some people claim their days at high school are among their most fondest memories. I suspect that some of these are the same people that make nerds’ high school experience among their not-so-fondest memories.

    As you’ve already guessed, I’m graduating from high school at 16 because I skipped a couple of grades. But let’s keep that between you and me, because people think I’m nerdy enough as it is. Skipping a grade is worth about as many Nerd Points as having thick, black-rimmed glasses and a pocket protector, while saying stuff like, “Football isn’t socio-economically relevant. And no one is nerdy enough to realize that what I just said doesn’t make any sense.”

    And thanks for saying nerds are cool. I guess that makes me super cool :)


  3. goodness, Scott–can you set Sarah straight about creativity AND math & physics?

  4. Sure thing, Eri. :)

    Sarah, if you want to read something that combines math AND creativity, you might want to check out a really cool book by Paul Zeitz, a math genius in the States. It’s called, “The Art and Craft of Problem Solving,” 2nd edition.

    The guy has an article about him on Wikipedia.

  5. lol~~ nice ending line

  6. Lucky to find you, keep on the good workk guys! Best of luck.k

  7. Lol… i’m second year in u of t and I wrote the competition way back… Challenging, but don’t forget that you had the guts to try… That’s enough in my book. just remember, the world is changing. Us nerds will rules the world one day (meed shall inherit the earth and whatnot), so revel in it.

    lol, by the way, its A, cyclic AMP, right? I miss the contest