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katmack
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I heard this story a few times while I was in school and my mom reports having heard it when she was in college back in the 70s. I'm curious if anyone has first hand knowledge of this "test" or if it's simply a UL.

Apparently a nursing class was given a midterm exam. The teacher emphasizes that all students be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. The exam is full of rather silly tasks, like, "Stand up at your desk and recite the Pledge of Allegiance", along with several ridiculously difficult questions. The students complete the exam creating minor chaos in the classroom. After everyone has finished and turned in their papers, the teacher points out that at the very top of the exam the instructions state "Please write your name on this paper and turn it in. Do not answer the following questions," thus showing how poorly the students followed the actual instructions.

This is my first new topic, so feel free to chow away if need be!

--Kat

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Moonhammer
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I actually had to take a test like that at my current job. The lead PharmD said it's quite common in medical type jobs. I thought it was great, I actually read it and got to watch my fellow students make a complete fools of themselves. Great fun [dunce]


EDIT: Can't speel weel

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G plus E
A Thousand Potatoes Yet to Go by K. P. Dutie


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Well, I don't know if this has been given as a college exam, but when I was eleven, or so, we were given such a test. It had the types of things you describe, including very large math problems, with no room to work out the answers, and a very short time to complete it. The first instruction said to read ALL questions before answering, while the last question said to put your name on the paper and turn in without answering any of the previous questions. I'm embarrassed to say I, like most of the class, did not follow directions. I couldn't understand how some people were able to finish so fast.
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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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It's not a UL. I was given a very similar test in the fourth grade. It was called a test on following instructions, and at the top of the page it said, "read all the instructions before following any."

After standing on my chair, poking a hole in my paper, and calling my name out loud (among other things), I got to the final instruction that said, "Don't do any of the above things."

I think only 2 kids in our class got it right. I was really embarassed. I remember it well.

ETA-Wow, spanked twice. Impressive, you two--or my computer is being really slow today. [Smile]

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StewPot
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I had a test like this too in fourth grade... I think there were only two or three of us that did it right. I certainly felt smug watching my classmates attempt some of those things.

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KaiTheInvader
Deck the Malls


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yeah, we actually were given that test too, the top of the page said "read all instructions carefully before you begin." nothing involving standing up and saying the pledge or saying your name out loud or anything, which prolly made it even better b/c people were more likely to take it as a serious test, but it did have some stupid things to answer on it. luckily, I tend to "skip around" when answering problems on tests, so I only did 2 or 3 before I read the final question, and could erase what I'd written and save myself some embarassment. [Big Grin]

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zerocool
Deck the Malls


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I got this in an 11th grade physics test... And yeah, I got tricked... the questions started off easy enough but soon I was doing major calculations when somehow other people were turning it in already... the teacher made us do it more as a joke, but the point was well made.
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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I got it in fifth grade, and I fell for it. The instructions didn't involve saying anything out loud, IIRC, but did include some things that involved getting up and moving around.

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KentuckyGhostHunter
Deck the Malls


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I had it to....8th grade.

Mine was the version with "Read the entire test before answering any questions" at the top with the last question being "Ignore everything else on this test. Sign the top of the paper and turn it in and return quietly to your desk."

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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Had that in 8th grade as well. Funny thing was that my Mom had just told us about when she was in school and had a similar test. Ours was about 8-9 pages long so I glanced at the last page and sure enough, the last thing was to just put my name BELOW the line and hand it in. So I did a whole 2 minutes after she handed them out. She chuckled and told me to just take it back to my desk and read through for my own amusement. That was a fun day in class. Only 3 of us got it right.

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Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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Add me to the list of people who did this as an elementary-school kid (5th or 6th grade, circa 1980).

I find it odd that this would be done at the college level (or professionally), since it's really just a glurgy "moral-of-the-story" lesson in disguise.

ETA: Do people really read the entire directions before doing something? I've never understood this, and this is why the little test in the OP has always bothered me. If you can follow directions properly (and the directions aren't contrived) then why the heck should you have to read things through before starting? Some of us have enough reading comprehension to know what to do the first time, and enough understanding of our comprehension to know when we should pause and read without doing if things aren't clear.

-Tim

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Crono
Deck the Malls


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I took a test like this when I was a freshman in high school. Our science teacher gave it to us. It was the version that said something like "Read through the entire test before beginning" at the top, and the last question said "Do not do any of the above. Just write your name at the top of the page and turn it in." Some of the questions involved things like standing up and acting like a chicken and shouting things in class. Only a few people (myself included) actually recognized the test for what it was and followed the instructions, but the test was so outrageous that even most of those who didn't realize that it was a trick refused to do any of the requested actions. However, there was one class clown who did most of it anyway, probably just for an excuse to act crazy in class without getting in trouble!

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Tirisfal Pumpkin
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Add me to the list! Year 5 (1990) - and I thought it was just our crazy teacher. Obviously not!

(I'm sad to say, noone in our class got it right.)

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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We took that test in 6th grade. The instructions on ours said "read all the questions before starting the test." And the last question was "Write your name at the top of your paper and sit quietly at your desk."

I flunked. The girl on my right was the only one who didn't.

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I took it in 6th grade as well. I think one of the things was to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Since I was horribly shy, I scanned through the test after that point and figured it out. Some kids actually did stand up and say the Pledge, and those that hadn't gotten to that part thought "WTF?"

Ever since then I've tried to read through all the directions even before writing my name on the paper.

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Dancing Dragon
Deck the Malls


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I got that one in either 8th or 10th grade. I did a few of the questions, but then I started getting suspicious and scanned down to the last one. Then, I went back and erased all the pencil marks from before and turned my paper in.
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Just Me
Deck the Malls


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I had one of these in my 8th grade French class. I had heard about it before - and paid attention when she stated quite loudly to read all the questions before beginning. I think I was 1 of only 3 kids to pass it.

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Tirisfal Pumpkin
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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The reason i thought it was my teacher is because he used to give us questions popped in with our standard maths homework like 'what is heavier, one kilo of feathers or one kilo of steel'? No other teacher of mine tried to get obtuse on us like that.

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Chickee Daizy
Live and Let Madai


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My grandpa used to be a highschool English teacher, and this is one of his favorite teaching stories. He gave out a test like this every single year, and made the students do really stupid weird stuff. He said his students were almost always tricked by it.

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trialofmiles
Congo Your Own Way


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Based on the replies in this thread, that type of test is more popular than I thought. I'm another one that took a "read all then do" test in grammar school. I avoided doing any embarrassing tasks, not because of any skill on my part, but just because I was too coy to draw attention to myself.

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the Virgin Marrya
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Yup. I've seen it in a variety of places, icnluding church and summer camps, but never at school. It seems to have made it's way around the world.

Marry "only did it wrong that one time" ya

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Ratboy
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by kia:
'what is heavier, one kilo of feathers or one kilo of steel'?

Well, one thousand feathers aren't that heavy, and I'm not sure I know what you mean by one thousand steel... if your teacher wrote one kilogram of feathers/steel, that would be an easier question to answer.

Don't worry, I'll take care of this one myself...

[fish]

Yes, I am one of those nerds who actually read through the whole test when I was in primary school.

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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Actually, I would have bet on this being an UL, even though the version I heard seemed less outrageous (no pledge, just saying "first, second" at a certain point). Seems this would be an entry for "UL you're most surprised that it was true" to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
ETA: Do people really read the entire directions before doing something? I've never understood this, and this is why the little test in the OP has always bothered me. If you can follow directions properly (and the directions aren't contrived) then why the heck should you have to read things through before starting? Some of us have enough reading comprehension to know what to do the first time, and enough understanding of our comprehension to know when we should pause and read without doing if things aren't clear.

Well, it depends, I'd say. Many people are able to understand just fine, but once in a while something is really different than it seems at first glance. Especially if the "instructor" is at a different level of understanding than the "instructed". I think it's part luck which "pure strategy" earns more benefits, the "knowing it asap and sometimes/rarely getting into trouble causing real extra work" or the "first get all the instructions" technique.

Ulko "mixed strategy should be best as usual" maalainen

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Tantei Kijo
The First USA Noel


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I'm pretty sure this was my only F in school. 4th grade.

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Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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Nobody took the bait, so I'm going to ask the question again?

Exactly what good is this as a 'moral lesson'? I can see it presented to an upper elementary school group to make a point to read things carefully. But lots of people here talked about it in junior high, senior high, college, and even professionally!

I disagree with the point this little lesson is trying to present -- that you must READ EVERYTHING before doing something. I would argue that if the directions are correctly written, you should be able to read each step (carefully), then do it, then read the next step, etc.

However, I must admit being burned by this, because the directions suck. Ficticious example: "Step 1: Open the box. Step 2: Remove FlubberGun from the box. Step 3: MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT TURN FLUBBERGUN UPSIDE-DOWN OR ALL THE FLUBBER WILL LEAK OUT AND IT WILL BE RUINED!" Oops, thanks for warning me now...

-Tim

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LizardWizard
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I remember taking that test sometime before high school.

There's a lot to be said for following directions on a test. I've taught large classes with computer-graded tests. You have to enter your student number and fill in the correct circles. You also have to fill in the circle that indicates which test form you have. If you don't do that, the computer can't grade your test. That means that I have to grade it by hand. I will not be a happy camper. If I don't know what key to use, I have to try to figure out what test form you had or hold up the grading of the test until you tell me.

The computer center sends me a file with all the grades that I simply paste into the gradebook. If yours is missing, that's a a major hassle for me. But it's also a problem for the student. You're not going to get your test graded as quickly. And let's face it: do you want your test hand graded by a professor who's really irritated that you couldn't follow directions and get your grade in the file with all the others?

So, what do I do? I stand up at the front of the class and rant about it. I put directions in LARGE BOLD LETTERS at the top of the test. Finally I resorted to this:

quote:
Instructions: To get full credit, you must correctly fill in your student number and indicate which test form you have. If you do not do this, you WILL lose points.

Question 1. Have you filled in your form correctly as instructed above?
A. yes; B. no

Do not continue with the test until you have filled in your student number and form as instructed!

Question 2......
...

Question 50. Did you really fill in your test form correctly as instructed?
A. yes; B. no
Check again to see if your answer sheet is correctly filled in. You will not get credit for a "yes" answer on questions 1 and 50 if you did not follow directions.

Do not turn in your answer sheet without your student number and form recorded as instructed at the top of the test!

And yes, some students still don't follow directions. Perhaps the learn-to-follow-instructions test would have done these people some good. Or not.


Edit: By the way, this really isn't my first post. Somehow my registration got deleted, so I re-registered.

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kizzcee007
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I'm forever thankful to a lecturer I had as a mature student. She taught me this...."RTFQ"


Read The F***ing Question....

from then on I've always said it to myself before filling in any form or exam!

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
Nobody took the bait, so I'm going to ask the question again?

Exactly what good is this as a 'moral lesson'? I can see it presented to an upper elementary school group to make a point to read things carefully. But lots of people here talked about it in junior high, senior high, college, and even professionally!

I disagree with the point this little lesson is trying to present -- that you must READ EVERYTHING before doing something. I would argue that if the directions are correctly written, you should be able to read each step (carefully), then do it, then read the next step, etc.

However, I must admit being burned by this, because the directions suck. Ficticious example: "Step 1: Open the box. Step 2: Remove FlubberGun from the box. Step 3: MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT TURN FLUBBERGUN UPSIDE-DOWN OR ALL THE FLUBBER WILL LEAK OUT AND IT WILL BE RUINED!" Oops, thanks for warning me now...

-Tim

Your Flubbegun makes me think of instructions on things like frozen pizzas that say "Don't turn box upside down" on the bottom of the box.

Yes I had to take versions of the above "read everything first" test in grade school. It seemed common for teachers to give them out on April 1st. It was silly the first year I encountered it (probably about 3rd grade) but it got really old after that. Saddly I think I spoiled the fun by giving my kid a heads up about such pranks. I just feel like if anyone should trick the boy it should be me. I made the kid, he's my mark and ain't nobody else going to fool him (without my expressed permission) if I have a say in it. (BTW, the boy is only in 1st grade but he does take classes from a 2nd/3rd grade teacher so I don't think its too early for the warning... yeah, I know I'm taking the fun out of it but I think its a stupid prank.)

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1958Fury
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I took the test in elementary school, I don't remember which grade, probably in the 2nd-4th range. I flunked it, but not for the same reasons as everyone else. I did read all the questions before I started, but I misunderstood the last question. The last question was phrased, "Now go back and only do steps 2 and 8." I thought that meant do all the steps, then do 2 and 8 a second time, which is what I did.

Only two kids in our class got it right.

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GooglyEyes
The First USA Noel


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I had this in my freshman or sophomore year of high school. I remember hearing people around me shout their name, so I did it too (horribly shy and worried I wouldn't fit in at all, go with the flow ya know?). Then I read the next line which was to stand up. I then read ahead and saw the last said something like "Sit quietly and do not follow any of the above instructions while I take attendance."

So that was mortifying.

But it prepared me for college where I had a computer class with a similar test. It was a packet like 5-6 pages thick, double sided. Everything was relatively simple yet time consuming, but we only had like 10 or 15 minutes to complete it. The teacher had kept saying "Make sure you read the directions before starting" So i scanned through the packet to the last page and surprise, page 6 started with "Do not complete steps 1-50 (or however many there were) Only do the following:" And it was simple formatting of my name, basic information, etc, easily completed in 5 minutes. I did go all the way to the end to make sure it wasn't a double trick, it wasn't.

There were people outraged that time ended before they had even gotten to page 5, and then there were those of us sitting there with our printouts smiling at the teacher.

ETA: I think the lesson may be as simple as, If someone tells you to do something a specific way, there is probably a reason, so just freaking do it the way you were asked. I know that is something that is true to the work environment. Unless it is something that wastes cost or time very unreasonably, there is usually a company way of doing something for a reason. And, if you think something should be changed, asking the boss about it with your reasoning for changing a process is WAY better than just deciding "to hell with the manual, I know better" then totally screwing something up.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif:
Exactly what good is this as a 'moral lesson'? ... I would argue that if the directions are correctly written, you should be able to read each step (carefully), then do it, then read the next step, etc.

Have you ever followed a recipe that includes the word "meanwhile"?

In the case of the original post, it stated that the exam was in a medical school. I'd have thought it would be a very good idea to ensure that people in medical school read instructions properly even if they think they know them.

What if the instructions included dosage followed by a list of people who should never use the drug? From memory, the warnings usually come after dosage on medicine bottles.

And there may be different dosages for different people. What if you just read the first dosage, gave the injection (followed the instruction), read the next dosage down and realised that your patient actually fell into that special category and should have had a different dosage from the general case? It would be very important to read and understand the whole thing before doing anything.

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arluquin
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I had to take a test like this in the fourth grade. The teacher even made a point of telling us not to answer any of the questions until reading the entire test first, as well as having these instructions written at the top of the test. I think everyone jumped ahead at answering the questions, because they were easy: write your name at the top of the paper, what is 2 plus 2, etc. There was only one kid who followed the instructions, but that was only because his older brother told him about a similar test he took the previous year.

-arluquin

Posts: 122 | From: Calgary | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:

Have you ever followed a recipe that includes the word "meanwhile"?

Playing devil's advocate:

Not really, but I know where you're coming from. But presumably, wouldn't you finish the step, and then immediatly go on to meanwhile in the next step? No problems there.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:

What if the instructions included dosage followed by a list of people who should never use the drug? From memory, the warnings usually come after dosage on medicine bottles.

Well that's a bit more specialized of a situation. Actually I seem to remember most drugs showing all the warnings, then the directions. I'm too lazy to walk upstairs to the medicine cabinet to check tho.0
quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:

And there may be different dosages for different people.

This one I do know -- they never give a dosage without saying who it's for first, at least on OTC medications. You'll always see "For ages 12 and up, take 2 pills blah blah blah... for 12 and under take one pill or as directed by your physician..."

But again we're talking about two completely different things. In the OP, we're talking about an exam. Who in their right mind reads all the exam questions before starting? Even if the directions said to do this, I usually would not as it's a waste of time. And just about every exam I've ever taken is timed and if you don't finish by the final bell you're screwed.

-Tim

ETA: Fix naughty quote tags

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Jocko's Jolly
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Tim, I think you're missing the point of these tests. IMHO, I don't think they're intended to teach one to read through all the instructions before continuing, but to listen to an instruction given by a superior or supervisor (the teacher or professor). If the test were given without the specific instruction to read through all questions before proceeding, then I think you would have a point (and I agree that most people don't do that); most tests are intended to be started on immediately with the first question, then proceed to the next, etc. However, it's the initial instruction being given that creates the test ("Can you follow the instructor's instructions?"), whatever is actually written after that is pretty much irrevelant.

--------------------
Like every good third-in-a-series it contains a whole load of ewoks, ‘Clubber’ Lang, whey-faced Sophia Coppola, Sean Connery as the Pirate Captain’s estranged dad, a crappy CGI alien, and Richard Pryor on a donkey. -- Gideon Defoe

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KennRice
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I was given that test in grade school back in the late 1950s. It was obviously a joke and everyone got a laugh out of it. It think the emphasis on testing today tends to obscure the joke aspect of that test.

Ken

Posts: 140 | From: Arlington, VA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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