Saturday, March 31, 2012

“F” in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers

It’s the day of the big test. You strut into the classroom with an air of confidence feeling like you rule the school. This test’s got nothin’ on you. You reach out to receive the sheet of paper and instead find yourself grasping a 10-page packet so thick the weak staple is barely binding them together. As your confidence diminishes, you draw a blank on the very first question. 

We've all been there. "F" in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers, by Richard Benson, illustrates real-life examples of the creative and humorous ways students have dealt with those especially challenging test questions. It is on the American Library Association's list for 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers and shows witty, albeit wrong, test answers in the subject areas of chemistry, physics, math, and English to name a few. When these students had no idea of the correct answer, they opted to have a little fun instead!

"F" in Exams is packed with clever gems like a student answering the biology question “What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register?” with “Mariah Carey” or another responding “cats” when asked what the main industry in Persia is. Another student’s creativity puts a whole new spin on doing a math problem:

This student obviously didn’t listen enough in physics class, but gets some points for humor: 

In my opinion, this is not a completely ideal book for teachers to assign students to read in class. Though I am sure it would be well-liked by many students, some may misunderstand its quirky and light-hearted manner as shining a positive light on doing poorly on tests. In an environment where some students already think its “cool” to flunk tests, this book would not be right for them. 

If this book were taught in schools, I would recommend assigning it with an equally engaging book like Study Smarter, Not Harder or showing the students a DVD like Test Taking without Fear. By providing practical tips and strategies on how to study successfully for tests, students can be shown how to not land themselves in a book like “F” in Exams! Let’s face it, no one wants to experience that moment of terror—the helpless feeling of being handed a whopping packet of test questions and having your brain feel like this.

Whether it's a first grade test on your ABC’s or your GRE to get into grad school, tests are a key element of everyone’s education experience. “F” in Exams is a fun and relatable book for anyone who’s had to struggle their way through an exam. While I believe assigning the book alone in the classroom without is not completely ideal, I still highly recommend it to students of all ages for a good laugh and a reminder to study for your tests.