18 Creative Excuses for Missing Exams, Classes, and Assignments

“The computer ate my homework.” “I got swine flu.” “My grandma died.”

Sure, these things do happen. Sometimes. But they’re so ordinary that sometimes they sound…like lies, even when they’re not. In fact, it’s been statistically proven that students report more dead grandparents during exam weeks than at any other time throughout the semester. So, even if your grandmother has actually died right before an exam, you might be better off lying.

The best excuses are the most inventive, the ones that toe the line between improbable and plausible. Do you want your teacher to raise their eyebrow and sigh? Or do you want your teacher to say wow?

creative excuses

Check out our Creative Excuses for Flaking Out on School. And get ready to wow your teachers…for better or for worse.


1. I have to fly to New York to deal with my grandma’s drug overdose.

2. My housemates were doing a weeklong World of Warcraft tournament and used up all the bandwidth, so I couldn’t email the assignment.

3. I am unable to attend class on Thursdays because the lacrosse team plays on Wednesdays and I am morally obligated to get drunk with my teammates afterwards.

4. I was in jail at the time of the exam. (If you think your professor might demand proof, you can always go out and get arrested for public drunkenness so you have proper documentation.)

5. I couldn’t turn in the paper because I was mugged last night. I begged the guy to let me keep my pen drive, but then insisted on taking it, yelling that I must have some “classified information” on there that he could sell for big money. Then he called me a geek and did the Urkel dance.

6. I missed the exam because I consumed a bag of fat-free Pringles while studying the night before and the Olestra gave me anal leakage, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.

7. My antidepressants interacted badly with the Ritalin I was prescribed and I was so manic I couldn’t sleep. I crashed two days later, just in time to oversleep and miss the exam.

8. I used to steal wi-fi from my next door neighbors, but they moved out over the weekend, so I couldn’t email the assignment.

9. My roommate got black-out drunk and urinated all over my essay. Then he puked on the printer, so I couldn’t even print out another copy. I had to take him in a taxi to the hospital because I was scared he had alcohol poisoning. The taxi ride cost $100 and he spent all his money on liquor, so he can’t pay me back and until he pays me back on Friday, I can’t get a new printer.

10. There was a blackout in my building. I wrote my paper until my laptop’s juice ran out, but I was so distracted by the candlelight that I never remembered to save my doc.

11. My stepfather was showing off his new gun and shot my computer by accident.

12. I couldn’t come to class because I got high on crack by accident. My roommate’s cousin’s friend gave me what I thought was a bowl filled with weed, but it turned out to be crack.

13. I’ve never lived on my own before and I’m struggling with some epiphanies about becoming an adult. Recently I realized that my future will be an endless treadmill of thankless work, mindless consumption, and petty obligations. I couldn’t come to class today because last night, in a spontaneous assertion of my (dwindling) youth, I got wasted and then slept until 3 pm today. I hope you understand.

14. I met a really cute girl at the bar last night and she came home with me. She’s still here. Obviously, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up just to take an exam.

15. I turned in the paper last week, but I sent to a professor I had last fall by accident. I just realized my mistake today when the professor responded with some feedback and a giant smiley face, saying he was happy I valued his opinion. The upside of this is, of course, that his comments were very helpful and I think it will make the paper a better read for you.

16. Last night there was a flash of light outside my window followed by a thundering silence. My father was convinced that it a nuclear explosion and ushered us all into our underground bomb shelter, where we have been living on canned peas and Spam for the last 72 hours. It was only this morning, when my father ventured aboveground to search for survivors, that we realized our mistake. (The flash of light turned out to my neighbor’s television set exploding.)

17. My boyfriend proposed to me last night. We went out to dinner to celebrate but then he got food poisoning and spent the night vomiting while I looked at my new diamond ring. Obviously I was so distraught by this Freudian expression of his ambivalence about marrying me that I could not concentrate enough to study for the exam.

What are some of your most creative excuses?

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