Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I looked into the soul of another boy...

From a Times article identifying the 10 weirdest exam questions:

"Set, write and mark your own question on any aspect of the course.”

Whoever was setting the French papers at Leeds University in the late 1980s, I love you.


Unknown said...

Waterstone's used to print that Woody Allen quote on their carrier bags. Made me laugh every time.

I can't remember any particularly weird exam questions. The only one that sticks in my mind is:

"Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel. Discuss."

patroclus said...

As blogged about here, my weirdest exam question - in my 20th Century French Literature final - was 'Nothing is simply one thing. Discuss.'

I'm sure you'd take that one in your stride, though, Tim.

Betty said...

I took A Level French after doing evening classes last year, and this was one of the questions I ended up facing in the exam ...

"Duran Duran and Suede - two bands whose reputation might have been far higher had they imploded after the first album. Discuss".

Phew! I ask you! Those people who set the questions - they all crazy in the coconut!

Tim F said...

Marsha: So what's melodrama?

Patroclus: We have to distinguish between nothing (absence of matter, being - a vacuum) and nothingness (ennui, inertia, apathy, loss of memory - all the things that gave Sartre a career).

Betty: tu es d'aussi facile qu'une guerre nucléaire.

Christopher said...


Justify your placing of these conjunctions in the most logical order.

(Or something like that.)

OU Philosophy, c.1973


llewtrah said...

One of our apprentices got "Imagine life inside a ping pong ball"

Spinsterella said...

Betty - I fear I may have contracted Chaucer's Bitch's strictly literal interpretation of all blog posts and comments, but - you are joking, right?

My most interesting exam questions were all in my A-Level Irish Oral. They all went something like this:

Examiner: Gobbledygookgobbledygook

Me: Um

Examiner: (friendly smile) gobble-dy-gook-gobble-dy-gook

Me: Um?

I didn't do very well.

amyonymous said...

I recently wrote a question on a test about Beowulf, that asked my students, "What is Amy's favorite line in this book?"

Nearly all of them got it right, proving to me that they paid attention after all!

by the way, the line was, "He was one good king!"

Tim F said...

Christopher: "1. If; 2. Or; 3. Lest; 4. Unless. Because that is the order favoured by the question setter, who is evidently a person of taste, erudition and [this is 1973, remember] monumental sideburns."

Llewtrah: Apprentice what? Midget?

You should have done a little dance, Spin. Then bashed her with your shillelagh.

God bless Seamus Heaney, Amy.

Charles Edward Frith said...

There is also perfectly good neuroscience to suggest that this is the best way to do exams. That and sharing information. I heard about kids that take their mobiles into exams too. If we think about it we're not looking for an SMS answer. We're looking for the thinking behind the information.