The quotes are nested so confusingly I've lost track of who originally posted this. But it was in Locutus of Bored
Locutus of Bored
Kirk was taking the test for a third time when he finally reprogrammed it, so he knew what it was about.
Kirk in TWoK must have known the test was coming up or else he wouldn't have had time to reprogram the simulation. The same goes for Kirk in ST09 (plus, Kirk and McCoy and later Kirk and Uhura were discussing taking the test the next day).
As seen, the claim that the original Kirk must have known overlooks his own post. I've forgotten whether we saw the new Kirk's reaction to "failing" the test. But the real point, inadvertently made to be sure, is that the test makes no sense if the student walks into it knowing, even in rough outline, what's going to happen that day.
How is that at all contradictory? I was simply demonstrating to the poster I was debating with (not you) multiple reasons why the KM Test can not reasonably be considered a secret from the cadets beforehand:
1) Students are going to talk about the unfair (in their opinion) and unwinable test they had to take with other students, with family, and with friends. There's simply no way something that significant can be kept a secret. It's like students not talking about taking the SATs.
2) Students are given advanced warning that they are going to take the test and know that it's a no-win scenario. Kirk and McCoy discussed the nature of the test and that you're supposed to lose the day before in ST09. Kirk and Uhura discussed it the day before in her quarters. Prime Universe Kirk knew he had to take the test in advance or else he wouldn't have been able to "reprogram the simulation" and "change the conditions of the test."
3) It's obviously not a secret because they give the same test to students multiple times. Both nuKirk and Prime Kirk were on their third try taking the test. Even if you somehow kept it a secret from the third time cadet beforehand (which IMO is impossible and not supported by other evidence: see above), as soon as the cadet was in the simulation and it became obvious that no matter what you did the enemy was in God Mode and would defeat you, the psychological "surprise" would be foiled. The same goes for the cadets who heard about the test through rumors; as soon as they saw that the enemy can't be defeated they would know what was happening.
Which is why I don't think it's a surprise at all. I think knowing the unwinable KM Test is coming up and being evaluated on how you handle the stress of that knowledge is all part of the test. It's about weeding out the cadets who freak out or on the opposite extreme don't take it seriously enough and finding the ones who stay calm and cool even knowing what they're about to face. Kirk went an entirely different way with it though and actually found a way to win, hence the commendation.