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Success Has Two Cs: A Guide to Imperial Exam

by coco_bella


Shenkuu has breath-taking scenery, delicious foods and the Lunar Temple to make it popular among Neopians. However, nothing seems to be as widely talked about and busy as Shenkuu's Imperial Exam. In Imperial Exams, exams are starting and everyone wants to be recognized as a top scholar- whether they are one or not! It is your job as the exam administrator to make sure that it's only the true scholars that get in.

But as simple as the Imperial Exam may be in gameplay, it is still a very challenging game. No matter how many times you have spelled out these words before, you can still find yourself losing very early on in the game. However, with this guide by your side, not only will you find yourself able to finish the game successfully, but you may find an amazing new trophy in your trophy case.

Gameplay Basics

Because this game is rather simple, and the focus of this guide is to give more strategic tips to success rather than tell you how to play, I'll try to keep this section brief. However, if you are still confused about how to play this game after reading the guide, you can find several wonderful articles detailing that in the archived section of the Neopian Times.

Game Setup

After you select "Start Game", you'll find yourself looking at a Game Setup screen. Here you will have to choose your language (there are multiple languages available so you don't have to worry if English is not your first language), and your Difficulty. I would recommend selecting "Basic" as your difficulty level, as you get the same amount of points no matter which one your choose. And even on "Basic", you'll find this game challenging enough.

Once you start playing the game, you'll immediately begin to see a long line of Neopians hoping to be admitted. A speech bubble will appear above the head of the Neopian closest to you, and it is up to you to determine if the word they give you is properly spelled or not. If you press the Up arrow on your keypad, you are indicating that it is correctly spelled, and the guard in front of the entrance will step aside. If you believe the word is spelled incorrectly, press the Down arrow to turn the Neopian away.

In Imperial Exam, there are 5 different stages- each increasing in the number of required scholars admitted as outlined below. In order to pass on to the next stage, you must pass the needed amount of scholars in 70 seconds, thereby making each level harder and requiring you to act faster as the game progresses.

  • Stage 1: 10 scholars
  • Stage 2: 20 scholars
  • Stage 3: 30 scholars
  • Stage 4: 35 scholars
  • Stage 5: 40 scholars


Scoring in Imperial Exam is also fairly simple. Because it does not need much explanation, I just outlined the different points awarded (and deducted) below.

  • Accepting unqualified students: -1 life
  • Rejecting qualified students: -5 points
  • (Correctly React) Accepting qualified/ rejecting unqualified: +5 points
  • Successfully completing the game (finish all 5 levels): +200 points

Lastly, the most important thing to know is that you only have 3 chances before the game is over! So be sure you are particularly careful in avoiding accepting unqualified students.

Strategies for Success

Now that we have finished reviewing the basics of Imperial Exam, I can get to the real point of this guide: the tips and strategies to help you beat Imperial Exam and get closer to a shiny new trophy!

Tip 1: Proper Setup

Because of how close the Up and Down arrow keys are together, it can be easy to accidentally hit one key when you meant to hit the other. This can be particularly fatal if you end up accepting a student with an incorrectly spelled word. Because of this, I cannot stress how important it is to have a proper setup before playing.

So what would a proper setup be? Try to sit at a table where your laptop or computer screen is far enough away from you where you can focus without hurting your eyes. Also, as suggested above, you need to make sure that your fingers are not resting on the up/ down keys, but rather hovering above them both. This can be quite a strain if you are playing many games in a row, so I would recommend resting your wrist comfortably on the outer edge of your laptop or keyboard.

Tip 2: Read Each Word

It can be easy to get into a rhythm or feel like you need to react quickly, my most important tip is this- read each word! Whether out loud or in your head, just be sure to read each word as it comes up. If you focus early on in the game when you have more time, you'll realize that it takes a little bit longer (even if it's just a split second) to read that word. This is because your brain is programmed to recognize how a word is spelled, even if it is incorrect. Don't beleive me? Just look at how I spelled "believe"- I bet you didn't even realize it was incorrectly spelled.

The more you play Imperial Exam, the more you will be able pick up when your brain is slow to register a word. So don't worry if you can't do it at first, this will come with time as you get more in tune to your brain.

Tip 3: Learn Their Tricks

So if it's just a simple spelling game, how is it that you can possibly lose? As you play the game, you realize that the incorrectly spelled words are really well disguised. These bad spellers aren't just unqualified for the Imperial Exam- they're really tricky! But don't worry- over time you will also begin to learn how the unqualified students try to trick you. While some words are outright misspelled, others are slightly trickier by having swapped letters or an extra letter added. Knowing which trick to watch out for will help you be able to identify the unqualified students.

Tip 4: When in Doubt, Reject

When in doubt, reject... I cannot stress this tip enough! If you are unsure if a word is correctly spelled, just reject it. It is better to lose 5 points than to lose a life. Just be sure to try to remember the correct spelling so that the next time the word comes up, you can allow the qualified student in.

Tip 5: Pace Yourself

This is also an essential tip to successfully finishing the game and getting closer to a trophy. You MUST pace yourself! If you do not pace yourself, you will start to feel rushed. When you feel rushed, you are not able to focus in the manner that this game demands and you can end up losing several lives or points because of this. Even in the last stage, there will be plenty of time for you to complete the level.

Tip 6: Be Patient When Going for the Trophy

If you are aiming for a trophy in Imperial Exam, you have to be patient. I used to play Imperial Exam all day, every day. In order to qualify for a trophy in this game you have be lucky; in order to get enough points for the trophy, you need a large amount of unqualified students to reject. However, this does also mean that the game will take longer than normal and you will be closer to running out of time- but still remember Tip #5 and pace yourself!

So there you have it- my top 6 tips for success in Imperial Exam. Hopefully with my guide and some practice, you'll be able to get a high score and snag a new trophy to show the world that are- indeed- a top scholar!

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