What Non-Kelley Students Imagine I-Core Exams Are Like

What Non-Kelley Students Imagine I-Core Exams Are Like

"She's studying for I-Core. I don't know what that is, but it sounds painful."


After a grueling winter, spring has finally sprung. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and apparently, so is Emma Watson's pubic hair. It's almost impossible to avoid the watery eyes and untimely sneezes that come with allergy season —unless you're in the Kelley School of Business.

For months, Kelley students have been hibernating in Hodge Hall to prepare for the ever elusive I-Core exams. Like most students outside of the business school, I have no idea what an I-Core exam entails, or what it even tests. What I do know is that if you don't pass it your junior year of college, like Melchior in Spring Awakening , you're totally fucked.

Luckily, Kelley kids are dedicated to their work. They have to be — they’re in one of the top undergraduate business schools in America. Considering the amount of pressure these students are under to do well on their exams, their social lives are put on hold until after they complete all four tests. They spend the weeks leading up to the exams locked up in the Wells Library with coffee and Adderall pumping through their veins in preparation of the long-awaited and highly dreaded examinations.

During finals, Kelley students are treated like knights preparing for battle. While we all have tests and projects to complete within a short amount of time, their exams are universally known across the Bloomington campus as more time-consuming and stressful than anyone else’s. Like I said, I know hardly anything about I-Core exams, except that they are comprised of four unit tests. But, from what I’ve gathered, I imagine them to be something like this.

Exam 1: Finance

The first exam takes place in Saudi Arabia. Students must enter the Cave of Wonders, filled with treasure, and find the lamp of the all-powerful Genie. Easy enough, right? Wrong. The cave, shaped like a Tiger’s head, forbids entry to everyone except the individual whose “worth lies within.” Those who attempt to enter and are deemed unworthy are killed instantaneously. Explains why your Kelley School friend cut smoking pot for two weeks to study for the finance exam, huh? Death isn’t even the worst part; failure to procure Genie’s lamp at the end of the test results in automatic failure.

Exam 2: Operations

Known as “Operation I-Core,” this exam not only requires test takers to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat and driving, but to also be experts in the bedroom. Students participate in a simulation based on the James Bond movies in which they must infiltrate some place in a foreign country, escape the master villain’s trap, and save the day. Higher points are awarded for suaveness and creative sexual puns instead of names for the “Bond girl” the M16, or Secret Intelligent Service Agent, sleeps with (i.e. Pussy Galore and Honey Rider).

Exam 3: Marketing

This exam was inspired by The Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on North Morton Street (no, they aren’t paying me to write this). In the beginning of the semester, students were given an acre of land to harvest corn that they would later sell.The exam takes place during regular market hours, and business students are graded on the success of their stand.

Exam 4: Strategy

In the last and most difficult part of finals week, students enter the I-Core Labyrinth, a maze grown on the Woodlawn Fields. It is filled with obstacles created by business school professors that Kelley kids must overcome. Points are awarded by how quickly a student can reach and put on the gray “I Survived I-Core” t-shirt placed at the center of the maze; but dead ends and obstructions, like answering the Sphinx’s question and avoiding your grandmother roaming the maze who wants to know why you're still single, enhance the difficulty of this challenge.

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