Top 20 Exam Bloopers
Top 20 Exam Bloopers Students know the feeling: pangs of anxiety and fear stab at your conscious for weeks on end, only to culminate and spill out on exam day. With this much built-up stress, even the most remedial tasks can be forgotten. The following 20 bloopers are the most commonly made mistakes that can result.
1. Wrong Time or Room
Regardless of whether it is a midterm, final, or even a pop quiz, always verify exam dates and locations with your school’s website or your instructor.
2. Not Bringing the Proper Equipment
Almost as trivial as showing up to the wrong place, bringing the wrong equipment such as a non-number two pencil or a restricted calculator can ruin your chances at even sitting for the test.
3. Forgetting to Sign Your Name
Especially when tests are timed, don’t forget to stave off the anxiety to see that first question long enough to write your name and any other required information. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a zero for “A” work.
4. Studying the Wrong Material
Upon opening the test booklet you realize in horror that the material covers different chapters than what you studied. Instructors will often assign “read at home only” chapters that find their way onto the exams as a way of rewarding those who both studied at home and attended lecture.
5. Failing to Return to Skipped Questions
While the skipping of questions itself is sometimes hotly debated among students and teachers, there is no viable argument for not returning to a question. If you are prone to not return to skipped questions, make a note.
6. Dwelling on Questions
A common practice of agitated physics students, spending too much time on a single question is never a good thing, no matter how close you are to completing it. A good rule of thumb for when you should move on is after you have tried every problem-solving method you have twice.
Speech students especially will attest to how stress can speed up the pace. Don’t let the fact that there is a time limit cause you to rush. Students often skip entire pages of problems!
8. Not Guessing
If guessing isn’t penalized, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t guess at an answer. After using logic, in fact, you have at least a 50% chance of getting each question right.
9. Not Showing Work
On math, physics, chemistry, and other exams that require you to show your work, show it. Every instructor is different in his or her policies regarding work shown, but many will not reward full points to a lone answer, even if it is correct.
10. Transcription Errors
Especially when using an automated testing answer sheet, make sure to correctly transcribe your answers. If you accidentally mark the answer for question number five in answer bubble number six, for example, every answer thereafter will probably be wrong.
11. Acting Suspiciously
The more skewed the instructor-to-student ratio is, the more alert that instructor will be. Do not talk to yourself, let your eyes wander, or practice Morse code with your pen, as your exam may be thrown away.
12. Writing Illegibly
With writing-intensive exams especially, make sure to write legibly. That means the size, style, and boldness of your writing must all be readable.
13. Misinterpreting Test Language
Most exams intentionally use non-regional diction to minimize misunderstandings. If something in a test question looks like a colloquialism, then, it probably isn’t. Use context to logically illuminate the meanings of words.
14. Not Utilizing Resources
Instructors will often announce during lecture that a formula sheet or otherwise helpful item will be provided on exam day, and that it will be somewhat hidden or at least not displayed but on the last page of the booklet. This is meant to reward students that come to lecture.
15. Reading Into Questions
To “read into” questions is to approach them with pre-loaded assumptions, assigning more weight to words and phrases of the question that reinforce your presumptions. This skews judgment and needs to be avoided.
16. Becoming Complacent
Often times, whether the test is “easy” or the last several questions were easy, students will don a dangerous complacency for the remainder of the test, answering too quickly. Instructors will often throw curveballs, change the pace, and create this false security on purpose.
17. Missing Key Correlations
Some exam questions are meant to answer others. For example, if a question reads “what are the four fat-soluble vitamins,” it may be addressing an early question such as “how many fat-soluble vitamins are there?” Review your answers so these freebies aren’t missed.
18. Ignoring Critical Clauses
You also have to maintain alertness when reading questions to pick out any words or clauses that completely change the question. These are often placed at the end of the question to throw off students who answer too quickly: “Which of the following organic compounds LEAST attracts water?”
19. Not Thinking Critically
Many instructors are now firm proponents of critical thinking. If one answer is right in every single instance except for even the smallest part of what the question is specifying, then the answer is wrong.
Finally, there is cheating. Don’t do it! You will get caught and receive a zero as well as possible suspension or even expulsion depending on your school’s policies. To avoid these bloopers, make sure you regularly attend lectures, listen to the instructor’s directions about upcoming exams, study a little each day instead of cramming, and get plenty of sleep before exam day. After these practices are in place, you’re well prepared for a blunder-free bout with even the hardest of exams.