Why the Kobayashi Maru academy test was a stupid test to begin with
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Join Date: Sep 2012
12-09-2012, 08:06 PM
Having not read any of the EU novels, I always figured Prime Kirk did something sly, not something blatant. Like adjusting the timing on the Klingon's spawn-in trigger by a few seconds to give him an edge in she shields/beaming thing, or some other little stat tweak or combo of tweaks that would make it look like he just happened to luck onto a hole in the simulation's design, rather than outright flaunting cheating like in the 2009 movie or what mkilczewski describes. That said, it does fit the personality of JJ kirk to be that brazen/arrogant about it.
Also, it was made pretty clear in WOK that cadets aren't supposed to know the test even exist until they've been put through it. Presumably there would be some kind of academy rule (with appropriate punishments) for disclosing the test to cadets who hadn't undergone it yet. I love cmdrscarlet's idea of the academy exploiting Kirk's "win" to enhance/salvage the test for those who had managed to have it spoiled before hand. The JJ verse kinda squanders the whole thing though by making Kirks disciplinary hearing public, spoiling both the test itself and their potential exploit of Kirk's "success" for the whole academy.
As reginamala78 said, it's about assessing how cadets react to failure under pressure, not how they react to death per-se. For that all you need do in order to spoof them is to tell them before hand that the test is particularly important to their grade or something like that. They don't have to literally fear death, but making them think that failing to rescue the Maru or get out "alive" is vital to their future Starfleet career potential can accomplish the same thing. TNG showed us a similar academy test with Wesley (the one where they interrupted a written exam with a fake building collapse).
With all that in mind, it kinda makes you wonder what Prime Kirk did/said in his initial test(s) that caused him to fail.