There is an article published in a scholarly journal about the periodic mortality of grandparents of undergraduates. There is a statistically significant probability that grandparents will die during midterms or finals, rather than at other times in the semester, and grandparent mortality goes up over the course of the semester.The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome
This is published int he "scholarly journal" Annals of Improbable Research
. This is published by the same people who give out the Ig Nobel Prizes. The Annals is "packed with genuine, improbable research culled from more than 20,000 science, medical, technical and academic journals. We also publish original research, and some concoctions." The author determined that "A studentís grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam than at any other time of year." He also suggested three solutions: 1) Stop giving exams. 2) Allow only orphans to enroll at universities. 3) Have students lie to their families. [Family members worry about a student's performance, "likely to result in high blood pressure, leading to stroke and heart attacks."] Students must explain their long absences by pretending they are in the armed forces, have joined some religious cult, or have been kidnapped by extraterrestrials.
A Rutgers University professor wrote a follow up: A Preliminary Report on an Intervention Designed to Reduce Grandmother Death Resulting From College Exams
. According to his follow up, "the main intervention -- simply informing students that, if they miss the main exam they could take [a] brutal essay makeup -- dramatically reduced the grandmother mortality rate."