General Question

winblowzxp's avatar

Just because you don't do well on the exams, does it necessarily mean you don't know the material?

Asked by winblowzxp (498points) August 11th, 2008

I mean, it’s sexy to get an A on an uber hard exam, but sometimes you get the instructor who gets his rocks off by confusing and disorienting you by putting other correct answers on his M/C exams.

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6 Answers

flameboi's avatar

The letter you get will never reflect what you really know about something or how to apply it,a few friends and I are doing a lot better than my straight A classmates form high school (a lot better)...
A good exams reflects that you are a good reader, that’s all…

nikipedia's avatar

I’m totally fascinated by test design, and I think it’s incredibly difficult to write a good exam. A good exam should be reliable, which means that given in different forms or under different circumstances, it would yield the same results. And more importantly, it should be valid, which means (among a lot of other things) that it actually tests what it set out to test.

Unfortunately I think most teachers are not especially good at writing exams, especially the ones with a lousy theory of mind. That is, it’s hard for someone who is not the writer of the question to know what information the question writer is seeking.

And I think your grade depends a lot (and unfairly) on how well the writer of the test is able to communicate as well as his/her ability to figure out what information from the coursework is actually important.

I had one professor whose multiple choice questions were so poorly written that I got a 50% on the MC section of an exam and 100% on the written portion (which I think most people find more difficult)—I clearly knew the material, but his questions were so awful there was no way to figure out what he was looking for, or in some instances more than one answer was actually correct, or none of them were entirely correct. Picking the “best” answer is relative and it sucks to have to try to read your prof’s mind.

So… Just because you don’t do well doesn’t mean you don’t know the material. But be careful not to assume that doing poorly automatically means you DO know the material—it doesn’t work that way, either.

Trance24's avatar

I failed my precal mid term exam, yet I had an A in the class. So I doubt I didn’t know the material, to have an A. I just have a hard time with tests. Happens almost every year, especially with math. I take a little longer cause I am a perfectionist, but if I try to go faster I just screw it up. In other words I fail because I didn’t finish, or because I went to fast and made careless mistakes.

winblowzxp's avatar

I had a calculus teacher who woud put 2 correct answers on his exam. For instance, 2sinxcosx = sin2x, he’d put both of those answers as choices.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, it is possible. If you think it is the case for you, consider talking to the teacher about some alternative way of evaluating your knowledge.

winblowzxp's avatar

It’s a bit too late for that.

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