Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Reading Instructions

Back in grade school and high school, there were a few instances when our teachers would give everyone an exam on reading instructions. A typical test looked like this:

Instructions: read everything before you answer. You have 20 minutes to complete this test.

1) Right you name on the top left corner
2-19) Irrelevant
20) Answer only #1


Now the tendency, because of the time limit, is to answers #1-#19 until you reach #20 and realize you made a fool of yourself. By that time, people are scrambling for their erasers.

Some of my classmates got it right immediately, not because they read through everything, but because the test was only one page, would start at the bottom. In Dance Macabre, Stephen King was complaining at how some readers start reading at the end, thus "spoiling" the story (of course this is only relevant if your story follows a O Henry-type format).

If I were to remake the exam, I'd probably do it something like this:

Instructions: read everything before you answer. You have 20 minutes to complete this test.

1) Right you name on the top left corner
2-10) Irrelevant
11) Ignore every other number and right your name on the top right corner
12-19) Irrelevant
20) Answer only #1

1 comment:

Vernieda said...

I'd correct the egregious spelling errors before anything else.

But that's because I'm mean. :P