Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 2 Part 2
With the introduction of the OAA app still on everyone’s minds, the second period began.
And yet, the class was probably more concerned that Chabashira would officially start getting into ‘that’ now.
Unsurprisingly, this prediction had been spot-on.
“Now, I’ll give you guys an overview of the next special exam.”
With that, Chabashira broached the subject, almost as if she was starting off a normal, everyday lesson.
“The first special exam you’ll be taking this year will incorporate new experiences that you’ve never come across before, just like with the introduction of the app.”
Was this Tsukishiro’s doing, or was Nagumo the one behind it? Either way, the school seemed to be going through some major changes.
“The bottom line is that the exam will take the form of a written test where you second-years will be partnering up with the newly admitted first-years.”
“Partnered with… the first-years…?”
We had only rarely ever done something that skipped across the different school years before.
There were exceptions to this such as the training camp, but the established trend was for classes of the same year to compete against each other.
Had the barrier between school years been broken due to the introduction of the OAA app?
“This special exam will primarily focus on your test-taking and communication skills.”
Test-taking skills and communication skills.
Two concepts that, at first glance, didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other.
“The importance of test-taking skills needs no further explanation. However, before now, this school has never had any in-depth interaction between students of different school years other than during things like athletics festivals or training camps. Therefore, the school determined that your communication skills have fallen by the wayside.”
“B-but we’ll still be competing with others in our own school year, right? Something feels suspicious about this.”
The idea of getting heavily involved with the first-years seemed to make Ike a bit frustrated.
“It’s not like I don’t understand where you’re coming from, but try and think about it objectively for a second. In your first year after entering the workforce, the people you come in contact with won’t be fresh graduates like you. Some will be in their second year at the job, while others will be veterans touting 20 or 30 years, and you’ll be competing with them all the same. Despite the huge gap in experience, they very well might become rivals for you.”
“That’s… well, I guess I can imagine that.”
“While the world as a whole is slowly shifting over to a meritocracy, many Japanese companies are still bound up in the concepts of seniority and lifetime employment. For those of you who felt that it would be uncomfortable to interact with your upper or underclassmen when you heard about this special exam, I suggest that you reconsider. Put in a way that’s easy for you to understand, let’s consider the concept of grade skipping. Grade skipping is a fairly commonplace occurrence in other countries like America, Britain, and Germany. In those countries, it isn’t all that rare for small, young children to study together with high school or college students. Can any of you imagine or even accept the idea of an elementary school student studying together with you here, in this classroom?”
At Chabashira’s inclination, the class began to visualize the scenario. A scenario that they almost certainly weren’t able to comprehend. They must have felt that it was strange or even impossible.
It’s true that there were hardly any cases of students skipping grade levels in Japan. Although specific conditions had to be met, most people were probably unaware that it was even possible. In Japan, the concept doesn’t really align with the status quo where the education system is relatively linear. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Japan wasn’t willing to consider the concept in and of itself. For example, the White Room didn’t conform to this structure of education, so I could understand this fairly well.
However, I was certain that this wasn’t all there was to what Chabashira was saying.
It wasn’t just about imitating what other countries are doing. It’s also essential for Japan to adopt an education style suited to the Japanese climate. Chabashira was most likely aware of this herself, but had no choice but to give this explanation to us as instructed by the higher-ups.
“In the future, there will probably be more cases where you’ll compete against the first and third-year students. However, this particular exam is about helping you build cooperative relationships, so do well to keep that in mind.”
I found myself wondering if this was the reason why the special exam required both test-taking and communication skills. Some students seemed to be unable to wrap their heads around what the rules would be like, as they looked visibly confused at this point.
“The easiest way to get all of you to understand would be to remind you of one of the special exams you went through last year. You can think of this exam as an improved version of the Paper Shuffle exam, where you were partnered up from among your classmates.”
It was a special exam where we partnered up with a classmate and tackled a written exam together.
Essentially, this meant that we’d be partnering up with one of the first-years this time instead of partnering up with a classmate.
Even though that seemed to be the only difference, it was quite a large one.
“You’re free to partner up with anyone you want from the first-year students. The testing period will last until the end of the month, which is about two weeks from now. You’ll have plenty of time to both carefully choose your partner and focus on your studies.”
With a special exam like this, it made sense why they had us install the OAA app.
The first-years wouldn’t be familiar with the names and faces of the upperclassmen.
And naturally, the second-years wouldn’t be familiar with the names and faces of the underclassmen either.
During the Paper Shuffle exam last year, we were able to freely choose our partners after coming up with some workarounds thanks to the fact that the exam’s partnering system was handled from within the class.
In other words, students who weren’t very good at studying were able to just rely on someone else to survive the exam. However, the exam this time around would be different. Partnerships would be made on the premise that both sides would be looking for excellent students to pair up with. Moreover, instead of partnering up with our peers, we’d be partnering up with underclassmen we had little to no relationship with. The circumstances we were facing now in our second year were different from our first.
Above all else, it takes a fair amount of time to build up a trusting relationship from scratch.
Without the app, it would almost certainly be impossible to establish a meaningful relationship in just two weeks’ time.
But thanks to OAA, some shortcuts could be taken since you could just match someone’s face to their name in the app.
Furthermore, since the app also provides you with a rough idea of a prospective student’s academic abilities, it’d be easy to use it as a reference when making your decision on who to partner up with.
“You’ll be tested on five subjects on the day of the exam. Each subject will be worth 100 points, for a total of 500 points. Now for the most important part… this time, you’ll be evaluated based on two different standards. The first being your results as a class, and the second being your results as an individual.”
Chabashira tapped on the screen of the blackboard, bringing up the details for the special exam that she had just talked about.
Class Rewards (Split Based on School Year):
The inter-class competition will be based on the average score of each class in your school year. This will be derived from the combined scores of each person in the class added together with their respective partners.
Each class will be rewarded with either 50, 30, 10, or 0 class points, based on how their overall average score compares to the other classes in their school year.
You will be graded based on the combined score of you and your partner.
The top five pairings will each receive a special reward of 100,000 private points.
The top 30% of pairings will each receive 10,000 private points.
In the event a pairing’s combined score fails to exceed 500 points, the second-year student will be expelled from the school and the first-year student will not receive any private points for the next three months, regardless of how many class points they might have.
Additionally, any student judged to have deliberately marked questions incorrectly or otherwise found to have manipulated or lowered their scores will be expelled regardless of their school year. Similarly, in the event a third party is found to have forced a student to lower his or her score, said third party will be expelled from the school as well.
“You should already be somewhat aware of this, but in this exam, the students with high Academic Ability ratings will be sought after first.”
If OAA didn’t exist, nobody would’ve been able to find out the true abilities of the other students. But now, with the advent of the app, that information was exposed for all to see. The lower your Academic Ability rating was, the harder it’d be to find a partner.
In all likelihood, the students who seemed weaker academically would get left in the dust.
Smart students would naturally join up with a smart partner and aim for the top rewards. Academically insecure students would also seek out intelligent partners in order to survive. The students with weak academic abilities would inevitably partner up together and, in the end, probably fall below the 500 point baseline. In which case, the harsh reality is that second-year students would then be expelled from the school.
The second-year students understood how the school worked and had developed lasting friendships with many of the people in their class.
Even if they didn’t go after the top rewards, they would probably still move to help support their classmates.
The first-year students, however, hadn’t had the chance to get very close to their class yet. As a result, the concept of somebody that they’re not very close friends with having to go without private points for three months probably wouldn’t seem like a very big deal. It would be just like at the beginning of last year when most of Class D was fine with abandoning Sudō… No, it would be even more extreme than that.
“Partnerships will be formed once both sides agree to it, and you can finalize the process by confirming it on the app. You’re allowed to form your partnerships whenever you want after this, but once you’ve confirmed who you’re going to pair up with, you won’t be allowed to change to someone else.”
With that being said, it would be difficult to make an immediate decision unless your partner’s academic abilities were insanely high.
A careless decision could lead to regret later on.
The monitor on the blackboard updated, presenting us with information on choosing partners.
Rules and Regulations for Choosing a Partner:
Once per day, you are allowed to send a partnership application to a prospective student through OAA. (If the other party does not accept, the application will be reset after 24 hours.)
If the other party accepts your application, the partnership will be finalized and you won’t be allowed to cancel it thereafter.
※ The only exceptions being extenuating, unavoidable circumstances such as expulsion or serious illness.
Once a partnership has been finalized, the information displayed on the OAA app will be updated at 8:00 AM the next morning and no new applications to either student will be accepted.
※ The details about who a person has chosen to partner up with won’t be listed on their profile.
Due to these restrictions, one couldn’t just send out a large number of applications at random. And, even if you sent an application to somebody, you wouldn’t know if they ended up partnering up with another student on that same day until 8:00 AM the next morning, meaning that it was possible for you to waste an application entirely.
To be fair, I don’t know if anyone would actually accept an application from a student they didn’t know all that well anyway.
It’s possible that these rules were implemented to help obscure who partnered up with whom. After all, if the information was updated as soon as a pair formed, it’d be rather easy to analyze the overall strength of each class.
“Sensei! There’s no way that one of the first-years is gonna wanna pair up with me! Is an idiot like me really supposta rely on communication skills in order to get through this!?”
Ike’s lament was understandable.
Unless all of the good partner options were taken already, the probability that somebody would actually want to pair up with someone with a poor Academic Ability rating was very low.
Or at least, that’s how it should be as long as nothing shady happens.
“Don’t worry. It has been set up so that, no matter how many of you are unable to find partners, nobody will be left without one. This is because, in the event that you don’t pair up with somebody, a partner will be randomly selected for you at 8:00 AM on the day of the exam.”
Upon hearing that there were protective measures in place, Ike breathed out a sigh of relief.
“That being said, those who aren’t able to find themselves a partner before the deadline shouldn’t expect the same level of treatment as those who do. Therefore, pairs formed past the deadline will be subject to a 5% penalty to their overall score.”
This short reprieve lasted only a second, as the class collectively groaned the moment Chabashira mentioned the penalty.
While you’d still be allowed to take the exam, you’d be put at a fairly painful disadvantage.
“Sensei, there have been three expulsions amongst the second-year students so far. Won’t the first-year students have three people left over?”
Upon hearing Yōsuke’s trivial question, Chabashira replied indifferently.
“The three extra students will have their exam scores doubled to make up for their missing partner. However, they’ll also be subject to the very same 5% penalty, so there probably won’t be very many of them who would want to face the exam alone.”
Essentially, one person would be playing out both roles. It seemed that the three first-year students leftover at the end wouldn’t have anything to worry about as long as their academic abilities were good enough.
Either way, I couldn’t afford to be worrying about just Ike and Sudō during this special exam.
After all, this was going to be an exceedingly difficult special exam for me as well.
The reason it was going to be so difficult was the rule where, if my partner and I didn’t score over 500 points, I’d be expelled from the school. Put another way, this meant that my partner absolutely had to score at least 1 point in order to clear the special exam. Even if I were to get full marks in each of the five subjects, if my partner scored a 0, my expulsion would be set in stone.
Under normal circumstances, this would be an extremely pointed, dangerous rule. Because the first-year students aren’t at risk of expulsion, if they purposefully took a low score and threw the exam, this rule meant that the second-year student would be unreasonably forced out of the school… However, in order to prevent that from happening, the school had come up with another rule.
[Any student judged to have deliberately marked questions incorrectly or otherwise found to have manipulated or lowered their scores will be expelled regardless of their school year. Similarly, in the event a third party is found to have forced a student to lower his or her score, said third party will be expelled from the school as well.]
This rule was probably an extremely indispensable factor behind the legitimization of this special exam.
It was designed to protect against unfair behavior such as threatening the other party that you’d cut corners or demanding for them to hand over private points. It made it impossible to blatantly misbehave during the exam. In a sense, it meant that the average student would be more robustly protected by the rules.
However, even though the rule would usually be more than enough, it still fell short of ensuring anything.
Because─ for the White Room student, it was a completely different story.
The White Room student was setting up on the premise of being expelled later anyway, so this rule wasn’t a deterrent to them at all.
If they successfully managed to pair up with me, they’d most likely end up taking a 0 without even the slightest hesitation.
In other words, if I chose the White Room student as my partner, I’d be done for. Even though the special exam only just started, I already had at least a 1 in 160 chance of being expelled.
Typically, there’d at least be a rule stating something like: ‘In the event one student is expelled from the school due to dishonest conduct, the other will be treated as though they passed the exam without any further penalty.’ However, based on everything I had heard so far, there was no way of guaranteeing that.
The reason why nobody bothered to ask about it is because everyone was under the same self-serving assumption, convinced that nobody would dare do something that would deliberately get themself expelled. No, that wasn’t the only reason.
In the unlikely event that somebody actually did, the school itself would probably deal with it quickly.
After all, the school most likely felt that it would be far too harsh to expel a student who simply got caught up in their partner’s unfair behavior. However, if I was the one who ended up getting caught up in it, that man would probably force me out of the school without batting an eye.
He’d say it was my fault for partnering up with somebody who didn’t take the exam seriously.
He had set up a small loophole in the rules so that he could react flexibly depending on the student in question.
The image of that man, Tsukishiro, rose up in the back of my mind. I had no doubt that he was the one who had concocted these rules.
There was no way he wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity. If I was too slow at finding a partner, the regular students would start getting chosen one after another and my chances of ending up with the White Room student would go up.
It’d be nice if I could act quickly and pair up with somebody that doesn’t seem like they came from the White Room, but according to the OAA app, my Academic Ability rating was a C. I didn’t have the luxury of being able to choose whoever I wanted.
Having said that, even if I wanted to choose someone with an extremely low Academic Ability rating, my C rating wouldn’t be enough to dispel their worries about the exam, so they probably wouldn’t be willing to partner up with me.
In which case, the logical conclusion was to find a partner with a rating similar to mine that I wouldn’t have any issues pairing up with, but it’s possible that my opponent was already lying in wait in anticipation of that.
Even though we had only just been told the rules, it was already clear that this exam would be more challenging than any other special exam we had taken before.
“Sensei. How difficult are the exam questions going to be?”
With the raise of her hand, Horikita asked Chabashira a crucial question that most of the class was probably wondering about.
“To tell you the truth, there are many extremely difficult questions on the exam. It’ll definitely be one of the most challenging exams you’ve taken so far. But… that’s only the case if you’re looking to get a high score on it. The exam has been designed so that even students with an E rating in Academic Ability can score at least 150 points without any prior preparation. With a couple days of studying under your belt, 200 points should be more than manageable. This is only a rough estimate, but─”
Chabashira cut off mid-sentence as she displayed a table of estimated scores for the exam split up by Academic Ability rating.
E Rating – Between 150 and 200 Points
D Rating – Between 200 and 250 Points
C Rating – Between 250 and 300 Points
B Rating – Around 350 Points
A Rating – Around 400 Points
“If you study properly, you should be able to get a score close to those shown here. However, don’t forget that if you’re conceited and neglect your studies, you may end up with a lower score than this.”
Chabashira was saying that we shouldn’t just blindly trust the scores being shown to us on the monitor.
“In addition, as you can see from the part of the table that says that students with an A rating are expected to score around 400 points overall, it’s unlikely that anyone will score over 90 points in each subject, let alone get a perfect score.”
This was probably what she was talking about back when she said it would be one of the most challenging exams we had taken so far.
In any case, this simply meant that, if two students with E ratings were to pair up with each other, the second-year student would be at risk of facing expulsion.
“That should be everything for the overview of the special exam you’ll be taking in April. Get ready to buckle down and do your best.”
At this point, Chabashira began to explain the scope of topics that’d be covered in the test for each subject.
According to her, as long as we went back over the material we learned last year, we should be fine for the most part.
This part took me a day longer than I planned on. I honestly don’t have excuses for it. It was just so boring to translate that I wanted to die at one point and I couldn’t summon the energy to work on it. Thankfully, this was the last rambling rule explaining chapter for a bit, so the next parts should be much more engaging to translate.
Thanks for reading. Part 3 will definitely be posted tomorrow. Part 4 will definitely be posted the day after. Chapter 2 is nearing completion so look forward to it. Thanks for reading.