Because if you know everything, you don’t have to worry about what’s going to be on the test.

Last weekend, students across Japan took the Center Test, a scholastic aptitude examination that functions as a key part of the admissions criteria for many Japanese universities. Much like the American SAT, the Center Test is an intensive and extensive examination, because it wouldn’t be much use in determining applicants’ comparative knowledge levels if it were easy to ace.

Still, it is possible to get every question right, and Yusuke Suzuki (@yuusuke_suzuki on Twitter), an instructor with online test prep provider Manabi Aid, recently shared some photographs of the study materials of a student who got a perfect score on the world history section of this year’s Center Test.


The heavily annotated tome started out as a copy of publisher Toshin’s world history edition of its Ichimon Itto series (which loosely translates to “one question and answer at a time.”). But the dedicated student realized that it’s not enough to just passively leaf through a textbook. To really acquire knowledge, you have to turn it over in your head, pondering what is and isn’t naturally intuitive to how your individual mind works, and take notes and add additional information to ensure you truly understand and can retain the material.

▼ A brand-new, non-customized copy of World History Ichimon Itto

▼ …and the perfect-score student’s.

For some sections, the student added so many of his own supplementary notes that practically the entire original page was covered up.

The photos quickly attracted attention online, with respectful awe being the most common sentiment among commenters.

“It’s like a work of visual art.”

“It’s gone past the point where it stops being a textbook, and starts being a magical grimoire (and I mean that as a compliment).”

“I think even the book must be saying ‘I’m so happy I could be this useful to you!’”

“What an amazing student…Here’s hoping he gets into the school of his choice after all that hard work.”

“I can’t wait to see what kind of great things this kid will do once he becomes a working professional.”

“I hope he becomes a teacher or a researcher…someone who will show young people the value of learning about world history.”

Still, not everyone was singing the young scholar’s praises. One critic wondered whether this ultra-inclusive method of note-taking is really the best mnemonic technique, as opposed to predicting what sort of material will be on the test or otherwise narrowing down the scope of his note-taking efforts, would have been the better call.

Much more numerous, though, were comments saluting the student’s dedication, thoroughness, and unmistakable passion with which he met the challenge of studying for the grueling test, all of which speak to a strength of character that’ll continue to serve him well even when his student days are long over. And while some might argue that his method was inefficient, there’s no arguing with results, especially perfect ones.

Sources: Twitter/@yuusuke_suzuki, Yusuke Suzuki blog
Top image: Twitter/@yuusuke_suzuki
Images: Twitter/@yuusuke_suzuki, Yusuke Suzuki blog

Follow Casey on Twitter, where all credit for the line “Because if you know everything, you don’t have to worry about what’s going to be on the test” goes to his dad.