Imperial Exam Game Guide
So you want to join Shenkuu's finest and take the Imperial Exam? Well, unfortunately that's not possible just yet, but you do get to decide who does get to take the exam, along with the help of a particularly intelligent Grarrl who works as a guard for the exam hall and manages to pick up on every single mistake you make. Which may make you wonder why you are there at all if this Grarrl knows everything, but who are we to question that?
You play as a Kacheek who is in charge of who is allowed entrance to the exam. At a nod of your head (or a tap of your up arrow) an entrant is allowed past the guard and in to the main hall. The guard in question will also let you know if you are letting someone in who shouldn't be in the hall, or if you send away someone who should have been allowed in.
The neopets hoping to get in to the hall will line up in an orderly queue and you will decide one at a time who may and may not go in to the hall by judging the spelling of the word in their speech bubble. You press the up arrow if you think the word is spelt correctly and the down arrow if you think it is incorrect.
You will receive 5 points for every correct spelling you let in and 5 points for every wrong spelling you send away. You will lose a life if you let in someone who shouldn't go through, and you will lose 5 points if you send away someone who should have gone in, but you won't lose a life. As you only have three lives you are better off sending someone away if you are unsure. You get the same points no matter what difficulty you are playing on so unless you fancy a challenge you might as well play in the easiest mode. You will also earn a bonus 200 points for successfully completing all five levels, which will probably make a huge difference to your final score, so make sure you don't lose out on this!
There are five levels and on each level you have 70 seconds to let in the required amount of scholars. However, the number of scholars you send away each level is completely random so it's always best not to waste any time, as you never know when you may get a long trail of incorrect spellings. But if you're doing all right for time, then it can be a nice way to rack up some points!
Level 1: 10
Level 2: 20
Level 3: 30
Level 4: 35
Level 5: 40
As you have the same time for every level but more scholars that means you're going to have to pick up the pace a lot between levels 1 and 5, because you have 4 times as many correct scholars when you reach that last level, and any number of incorrect scholars as well.
When it comes to learning the spellings, practise makes perfect. The more you play the game, the quicker you will learn which spellings are correct and which are incorrect. You could find a list of the words and keep checking the spellings which may be possible in the earlier levels, but not later on, so you are best off just trying to learn the words.
As you always have to let in the same amount of neopets per each level, the way to increase your score is to have as many incorrect spellings (that you correctly send away) as possible, as you will receive a random amount of these each level. The more of these you get before you have let in enough scholars, the more extra points you will get, meaning a better shot at gaining a trophy, though as with all games you have your best chance at a trophy by playing when the scores are reset at the start of the month. Of course, if you get too many incorrect spellers, then you have the chance that you will run out of time before you get to complete the game, so if you are getting a lot, keep an eye on your time and how many more correct spellings you need as you may need to pick up your pace a bit.
Another part of the strategy sounds obvious, but I'll say it just in case. Make sure you know your spellings! There are only a certain number of words that show up in the game, and after you've played a good few times, you should recognise most of them. So if you've never played the game before and aren't that confident with your spelling, play a few times first where you ignore the score totally and just focus on learning the words and to recognise when an incorrect word comes your way. Another advantage to getting to know all the words is that it can save you invaluable amounts of time later on in the game, because you don't want to reach the last level only to realise that you don't have enough time to complete it because you stumbled over a word earlier on in the level, especially not if you have a good score by that point.
I find that it often works best to have specific goals for each level, so you can tell if you will be on track to getting a nice high score by the end of the game. Below are the approximate points I will aim for each level, but I only use them as a guideline, as you will often have a high scoring level followed by a bad one, or a badly scoring level followed by one crammed with so many incorrect scholars that you get a massive pile of points (as long as you're quick enough to finish the level within your 70 seconds).
Level 1 – I try to go for around 80 points minimum here, but anything above that is obviously nice. This means you would get 50 points for the ten scholars you let in, but you also need 6 incorrect spellings to turn away. Considering just how many neopets in the Shenkuu have trouble spelling hopefully this shouldn't be too hard.
Level 2 – 250 is what I aim for by the end of level 2, but many times I only just hit 200 and yet manage to make up for it in later levels, so don't worry if you're a little behind at this point.
Level 3 – It only makes sense that as level 1 and 2 combined have 30 people and you are aiming for 250 points there, that in level 3 where you have 30 people in the one level you want another 250 points, meaning you should aim for around 500 by the end of this level. This is usually the goal I find the hardest to hit (besides the last level), but when I do manage to hit it I know I'm in a good place for a decent score, so if you make this score then congratulations!
Level 4 – 750 is a good place to be by the end of this level. And as you have 35 scholars to let in on this level, it should be fairly easy to get those 250 points, or hopefully more if you need to make up for being a little short on earlier levels.
Level 5 – Well, this will be your final score, and you will get your 200 bonus points for completing the game here as well. As with most trophies, it depends when you are playing it to know what score you need for the trophy. If you are playing on the first of the month, you probably need at least 1,270 points. Later on, though, 1,300 is probably the minimum for the trophy and if you're playing really late in the month when lots of people have had a chance to play lots, then you could be looking at over 50 points above that, which would mean another 10 incorrect spellings. So if you're trying for the trophy, then remember to play as early on in the month as you can!
A couple of things that will have no effect on your score, but you may notice.
Occasionally a sign will appear saying 'Weepit Was Here' and then blow away in the wind. It doesn't appear to have any effect on the game, but hey, it's something to look out for. Just make sure you aren't paying so much attention to the sign that you make a mistake with your spelling; no need to give that guard yet another chance to show off!
If you move your mouse to hover over one of the neopets, you will see a small animation, again it doesn't do anything, but if you're bored you may want to try it. Who knows, it may even entertain you enough to convince yourself to play the game yet again in chance of getting that elusive trophy. And come on, who doesn't want that Shenkuu scroll of achievement shining at everyone who visits their user lookup?
When it comes down to it, yes, this game is based on luck. You can know every single spelling in the game, you can be super quick at accepting or rejecting the scholars, and still not make a high score if you don't get enough incorrect spellings by the end of the game.
But don't be disheartened; like every game, if you practice enough, you will get that one game where you get incorrect spelling after incorrect spelling and you can watch your points going up and up. Just make sure you aren't too busy gloating that you forget that you're being timed, or that you suddenly can't remember how to spell 'until'.