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The ABCDEs of Tests

July 25, 2012

My fear is that I’ll fill in the wrong bubble… or I won’t erase it completely and the “scan-tron machine” will pick it up!

Some of you may know this, and some of you may not, but I am currently enrolled at the University of Toronto as a visiting student to take summer courses: “Introduction to Personality” and “Francais II”.

Anyway, I just finished my second psych test about 5 minutes ago. 50 multiple choice questions, a 20% chance of getting the right answer and a 80% chance of choosing the wrong answer for each question; the test was for my “Personality” class. I think it well pretty well… except I feel sort of ambivalent. Why? Because, like I told my friend N, “I got a lot of the same letter answers in a row… like a bunch of ‘E’s and sometimes, ‘A’s”. At one point, I thought, “My answers are forming up to look like a double-helix!”

Isn’t it weird how these things make us nervous? It just sounds silly to say, “I don’t think I did well because I got a bunch of ‘B’s in a row!”

It makes me wonder, why does this make us worried? As if getting a bunch of “A”s in a row is a guarantee that a mistake was made somewhere between question 23 and 27.

When you’re writing a multiple choice test, do you ever catch yourself thinking, “‘E’ again? But the last answer was already an ‘E’, and three answers ago was an ‘E’ too! ‘E’ can’t be the answer here – it can’t be. It’s probably ‘C'”?

I’m sitting in the common area in the Sidney Smith Building, waiting for lecture to start, and I am scanning the room. This is what I see: the man in his (maybe) 50s who sat beside me during the test is stuffing his face with a muffin, no doubt starving to death (like I am); a guy sitting infront of me is  frantically looking through the psych textbook, no doubt checking up on his answers (I never do this after a test); and a huge line-up of familiar faces from class… waiting to get their $1 medium Italian sodas at Second Cup. (I’d also like to mention that I was probably Second Cup’s first Italian soda fan/best customer. But I’ll save that story for another time. Lecture is about to start….)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. starrynightiaa permalink
    August 26, 2012 3:58 pm

    Hey, if you’re speaking about PSY230, i know how you feel- did you have Djicik by the way, awesome lecturer! All my bio classes consist of multiple choices, and i am unable to count the number of times i got like 8-9 straight E’s in a row. I could place my bet that 6-7 of them are definitely right unless i was missing out on something, and then i’d end up erasing the ones that i wasn’t 100% sure about just so i can put an end to the E pattern. I thought i was the only one with this problem. It’s weird how we take MCQ patterns into consideration almost as much as content sometimes haha.

    • August 26, 2012 7:52 pm

      Woah, totally! Yes, I did have Djicik, and I agree, her class was so enjoyable! Loved her teaching style and really did like the topics. I’m so glad that someone out there agrees with me. For the second test, I literally spent five minutes at the end evaluating the pattern of the filled-in circles. But as if a bunch of “E”s in a row could mean something bad! I’m sure that they have a machine that randomly distributes the answers! (Also, such a coincidence that someone in my class would find my post… haha.)

  2. starrynightiaa permalink
    August 26, 2012 9:14 pm

    Indeed, read up on your bio. Hope you’re enjoyed your summer stay at UofT 🙂

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