Friday, August 13, 2010

Howling Over these Exam Howlers

  I've had my share of verbal missteps. Ying yang for yin yang. Click for clique. And now that I'm blogging with no copy editors (not appreciated enough when my copy regularly passed through their hands), I'm sure I'll continue to make my share of blunders in print.
  Still, I laughed heartily at these examination howlers out of the UK, as picked up in a report on Inside High Education's Website. Here's a sample:

British Exam Howlers

One student has inadvertently invented a new name for the phenomenon: "Confusionism."
In fact, the third-year student had intended to refer to the system of philosophical and ethical teachings founded by the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Proving that they are just as fallible as all those to have gone before them, students' comical cock-ups have been revealed in entries to Times Higher Education's "exam howlers" competition 2010.
Thank you to Michael Gold, senior lecturer in employment relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, for sending in the Confucianism error.
Many of this year's entries have a medical theme. John Lee, head of undergraduate studies in nursing and midwifery at the University of Dundee, was told that "Vagina Henderson" was one of the first modern nurses of the 20th century (her name, of course, was Virginia).
Along the same lines, Anthony Pinching, interim dean of medicine and associate dean of the Cornwall Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge Spa, was informed by a student that HIV was discovered by Galileo (rather than Robert Gallo). And Mary Williams, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Portsmouth, enjoyed a feature by a journalism student on "complimentary" medicine. "I quite liked the idea of picking up a pill and it saying nice things to you to make you feel better," Williams said. She also appreciated a fashion article that described the subject's sense of style as very "sheikh."
Also on a medical theme, a student who was asked to define otitis media - a medical condition known as "glue ear" -- informed Liz Morrish, principal lecturer in linguistics at Nottingham Trent University, that it was "a text specially designed for people who are otistic."

To read more, click on British Exam Howlers.

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