0499: "Scantron"

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phlip
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby phlip » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:26 am UTC

xprezonfirex wrote:Actually when you fill those things out the number of the pencil isn't what matters. The number only refers to the diameter in milimeters of the lead. Its really the HB you see on the pencils that counts. HB stands for Hard and Bold as opposed to a softer lead that won't make a dark mark. So if you use a .5 lead pencil it'll still work for scantrons because those are normally always HB.

No, the "#2" that you see quoted in things like this is some mysterious American(?) system that I've only learned about via osmosis... which does refer to the hardness of the lead (with #2 == HB). The lead diameter is a separate value from this.

(Incidentally, you have it the wrong way around: it's a harder lead that won't give as dark a mark. Also, my sources (Wikipedia) say that the "B" stands for "black", not "bold".)
Last edited by phlip on Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:31 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby 6453893 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:27 am UTC

Anyone who's seen Clone High knows that the kids who don't use 2B pencils are the only ones saving us from robot world domination.

Also, I was the same with shading in the bubbles. Like most people here (I'm guessing), I finished tests ridiculously quickly. So I'd go back and make each bubble perfect.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby TwilightNecrosis » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:30 am UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:I have never once gotten a scantron question marked wrong due to anything but me not knowing the answer. Seriously, even when I've done a pretty bad eraser job.


Ditto, with one exception. And it was a really bad eraser job. I was using one of those lame loaner pencils with the eraser that's more akin to concrete than rubber.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby stormoftara » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:38 am UTC

Those tests drove me insane. I was scared I'd fail because it wouldn't scan them right. WHY MUST I BE REMINDED OF MY CHILDHOOD TRAUMA

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby eric_eric » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:40 am UTC

haha, i once used a pen on a scantron midterm. Good thing my professor was cool enough to regrade it for me.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Hit3k » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:49 am UTC

DEAR GOD. I used a #2 pencil on my maths exam today... what have I DONE? :shock:
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Sentry » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:52 am UTC

AHHHHH. CAMOMILE.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby joeyhndc » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:02 am UTC

Darn. That Randall's in my head again. You get out of there!

*shakes fist*

And next time I'm reporting it to the authorities!

I too was a victim of the "this is your first Scantron. FILL IN THE BUBBLES COMPLETELY OR BE DAMMED FOR ETERNITY" talk.
To this day I do bubbles and rectangles top down using incrementally lower horizontal scribbles. A bit like an inkjet, really.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Aaron Haynes » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:06 am UTC

A teacher once had us do an accompanying essay section inside the area marked "DO NOT WRITE IN THIS BOX" in big, threatening, non-serifed letters. It really fucked with my head the first time. Apparently the scantron had no trouble grading it.

Or maybe that's just what we were led to believe.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby brodieboy255 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:25 am UTC

It took me so long to realise that it was much easier, and quicker, to just scribble over the entire circle rather than meticulously colour it in

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby alvarezp » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:55 am UTC

I was so lazy I hated it when the correct answers was a more-than-2 bubble option: "this is the correct one... arrgh, it's ABCDE!"

Also, didn't you ever mark the "key" bubble?

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby videogamesizzle » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:57 am UTC

woah. i always wondered what happened when you didn't follow the rules. I've never even seen a pencil other than #2. i guess they must be outlawed in my state because of this.

oh, and I'm one of the "outside-in-circle" people when it comes to these tests, but we've been using rectangles lately. it's harder to tell if you missed a question because the spaces are smaller.


alvarezp wrote:Also, didn't you ever mark the "key" bubble?


yeah, there's always really weird options. the most I've used is "T" or "F".

and number 500 better be good...
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Nemphael » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:02 am UTC

I've never had one of those "tick-a-box-or-bubble-or-something-alien" tests on paper. Had one last year, but it was computerized (had to use a lot of liquid paper (LCD anyone? (That's almost OCD (Oh really? (Maybe not?))))) (Did i forget any parentheses? >: (No! =D (I think... (They look like exclaimation points. o.o)))). Had to write whole paragraphs; sentences at best. Screw massacres - (writer's cramp/mental trauma/paranoia and weeks of wait/serious OCDity over five written pages) ">" Scantron or whatever.

As for an actual bubble test, I'd go with smileys. (:>)

EDIT: As a kid, I was always afraid of scanning things in case my image turned out to be a virus. Now there are .jpg viruses, I believe. I was right. Partially. Maybe. A little. Somewhat. << I read Donald Duck too much.

EDIT2: The guy next to me tried to CTRL+Z away my post. o.O

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby musashi1600 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:20 am UTC

alvarezp wrote:Also, didn't you ever mark the "key" bubble?


One of my math teachers in high school mentioned he had a student who tried that; the guy got a zero for cheating.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby LaughingMan42 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:23 am UTC

Marking Teacher’s Key: Mark Key bubble “5” on both side 1 and side 2. ...


Thank you, google!

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Beaniedude » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:36 am UTC

Thankyou Randall for this.
I have my TEE starting tomorrow (yay for calculus) so i am grateful that Randall is looking over me and my life.
Now back to studying! :D
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby ampersandrea » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:26 am UTC

A paradox that's puzzled me for the longest time:
- The system won't read it if you don't color in the circles fully
- If you don't erase the circles fully, the system might not read it either

Conclusion: the system is just out to get you??

I always used a mechanical pencil anyway

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Red Hal » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:38 am UTC

Evilscissors wrote:I love that 'AIEEE' is in this comic. It doesn't get used enough.



When I read this comic, that translated in my head to a Wilhelm scream.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Paranoid__Android » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:47 am UTC

I assume this is reffering to a multiple choice exam.

I always thought they were a bit of a cop-out by the teachers who couldnt be bothered to make or mark real exams.

I once had a friend who did one of these exams and got every single question wrong, ahhh good times. :D
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Invertebrate » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:38 am UTC

This is amazing! When I was doing modular Science for GCSE (I is not got the scientific smarts) I became obsessed with those goddamned bubbles. The exams were twenty minutes long, and ridiculously easy. So after sweating away for five minutes, I would sit and fret over the bubbles for the rest of the exam.

Incidentally, am I the only one who is thrown into a state of panic when filling out the front sheet for an exam paper? I have terrible handwriting and I always think they'll disqualify my paper and I'll get a U.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby phlip » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:04 am UTC

Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby ThemePark » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:17 am UTC

So another one of those American referencing jokes, that I just don't get.

Until I read through the thread and go "Oh."
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby mystichobo » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:02 pm UTC

why the hell does a comic like this have to come out the day before my 2 weeks of exams start

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby embernator » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:26 pm UTC

cherryfizwiz wrote:[Alt Text: Also, after all the warnings about filling in the bubbles completely, I spent like 30 seconds on each one.


ME TOO!!!! They had us using scantrons for almost every exam during the year for grade 12. The theory was that the diploma exams use scantron, so we had to spend the year learning how to use them properly.

The diplomas were the worst though, for spending excess time filling in circles. They're worth 50% of the final mark in whatever class, so I was always terrified that if I had a tiny amount of the bubble unfilled, or a tiny speck of pencil that went outside by a fraction of a milimeter, there'd be horrible errors and I'd fail.

Also, I was never sure if they wanted the border of the bubble shaded too, or if it was supposed to be 100% inside the bubble.

Mechanical pencils have always worked fine for me. I asked a teacher one day if they were OK and she said yes...

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby greasedbolt » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:31 pm UTC

I always thought 2Bs were #2s.

What have I done!?

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby 1337geek » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:52 pm UTC

Joking about a school shooting is kind of tasteless, since there have been a couple recent ones. He was on the right track, though. Scantron is dumb.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Amnesiasoft » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:04 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:
Evilscissors wrote:I love that 'AIEEE' is in this comic. It doesn't get used enough.

When I read this comic, that translated in my head to a Wilhelm scream.

I personally translated it into the AIEEE from the Johnny Quest parody in Freakazoid.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby coinich » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:22 pm UTC

1337geek wrote:Joking about a school shooting is kind of tasteless, since there have been a couple recent ones. He was on the right track, though. Scantron is dumb.


Shooting? I just figured the machine blew up or something...

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby 1337geek » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:35 pm UTC

coinich wrote:
1337geek wrote:Joking about a school shooting is kind of tasteless, since there have been a couple recent ones. He was on the right track, though. Scantron is dumb.


Shooting? I just figured the machine blew up or something...

Mm, possibly. "Blam" usually means a shot, though.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Synthuir » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:39 pm UTC

1337geek wrote:
coinich wrote:
1337geek wrote:Joking about a school shooting is kind of tasteless, since there have been a couple recent ones. He was on the right track, though. Scantron is dumb.


Shooting? I just figured the machine blew up or something...

Mm, possibly. "Blam" usually means a shot, though.


No, I think everyone took it as the machine blowing up... other than that the comic wouldn't make any sense.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby fedexrico » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:59 pm UTC

i've never done a scantron exam (whatever they are) , but my whole primary and secondary education was done by Cambridge standards, so yeah, i got a ton of those god damned bubbly answer exams.


stupid bubbles.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby frezik » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:02 pm UTC

I once filled in a scantron with pen, just to see what would happen. Turns out, scantrons don't pick up pen at all and I got every single one wrong.

Fortunately, the teacher realized that getting zero points on a 50 question multiple choice test was almost impossible, and let me copy my answers the next day using a pencil.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Cartofel » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:09 pm UTC

Evilscissors wrote:I love that 'AIEEE' is in this comic. It doesn't get used enough.


In French they use AÏE a fair bit. So maybe it's a French import? Like Caran d'Ache pencils in Russia (the Russian word for "pencil" is karandash). Wait - they're Swiss! At least it was vaguely on topic...

The only machine test things I've had to take have had horizontal bars... I remember once filling out a practice test in blue ink, and my teacher said that they would fail me on the entire subject exam if I did it wrong. Nice guys, those biologists.
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby ThemePark » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:29 pm UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:
Red Hal wrote:
Evilscissors wrote:I love that 'AIEEE' is in this comic. It doesn't get used enough.

When I read this comic, that translated in my head to a Wilhelm scream.

I personally translated it into the AIEEE from the Johnny Quest parody in Freakazoid.

Because of that link, I eventually found out that Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakazoid and Pinky and The Brain are all being or have been released on DVD.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby argonaut » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:33 pm UTC

Sorry, Randall. School shootings are in the same humor category as sexual abuse and genocide: you can use 'em in a joke, but you'd better be really damned sure it's funny. And the "#2 pencil" gag was tired and old when I took my first Scantron test.

Thumbs down on this one, but we won't be feeding you to the lions just yet...

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby suzi » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:44 pm UTC

Ahh. As an art student, I have plenty of different kinds of pencils lying around. Once I used a 4B on a scantron...it smudged a LOT and I wanted to die.

I did not know, however, that a #2 pencil = F. Now it makes sense! Thanks to whoever posted that earlier in the thread.

I use a 2H for sketching because it's very light, no matter how hard you press. I'd imagine using something like that on a scantron would probably poke holes in the sheet before you could get it dark enough to register :o

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Vertana » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:46 pm UTC

Mark the barcode on the left side of those pages. That always throws them off.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby Vroshnak » Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:07 pm UTC

I did a short stint as a high school math teacher after I got my engineering master's degree. I didn't have an engineering job lined up yet, and the school district was desperate for math teachers and would give people with technical degrees a on-the-spot provisional teaching license, so there I was.

Anyway I was REQUIRED to use Scantron for midterms and finals, for at least 50% of the test. The school administration really wanted the students to be ready to take standardized tests. I wasn't really a fan until I ran them through the machine and realized I could now play computer games all night or something because the grading was OVER! HOORAY! Everything was great until I came across the scantron filled out with a #4 pencil, which ended my teaching career. The hypnosis sessions still haven't helped me forget.

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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby trvsdrlng » Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:16 pm UTC

My roommate and I actually had a discussion about this around 6 months ago. We came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be very entertaining. Now that I know that the machine blows up, I might be forced to reconsider...
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Re: "Scantron" Discussion

Postby ShadowCode » Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:24 pm UTC

frezik wrote:I once filled in a scantron with pen, just to see what would happen. Turns out, scantrons don't pick up pen at all and I got every single one wrong.

Fortunately, the teacher realized that getting zero points on a 50 question multiple choice test was almost impossible, and let me copy my answers the next day using a pencil.


I have been using a black pen on my scantrons for the last 4 semesters. It always picks it up for me. I use a black Uniball Vision Micro.

Anyway scantrons work by shining a blue light on the sheet (all the writing is blue, and doesnt show up); as long as your marks are dark enough for the sensor to pick up, it doesnt matter if you marked in blood, it will work.


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